Surprised not to see much discussion of this five days out from Iowa. For anyone fortunate enough not to see the perversion of democracy that is Iowa, there is a significant rule that bears mentioning. And it means the forgotten Democratic candidate might be making some huge headlines the next day…
After everyone has publicly declared their initial support for a choice (which may include “uncommitted”) at the prescribed time and place, “viability” rears its head. Any candidate whose supporters do not cross a certain threshold, typically 15% of the attendees, is declared “unviable” and their supporters either move to another candidate, or are not counted.
While this makes for complex dynamics in a six-person race I don’t feel like considering, I will ask: what does this mean for the Democrats in Iowa? Check out the polling averages:
So, on Monday night, we can expect the undecideds to end up somewhere. And we can expect O’Malley to be unviable. What then? In some past Iowa caucuses campaigns instruct/suggest through precinct captains that their followers go en masse to a certain candidate. Supporters usually go along with that. If O’Malley’s campaign does this, that could conceivably tilt the caucus results. You can do the math – O’Malley can get either side to a majority.
If I were O’Malley and I wanted to a have a big impact on the race, bigger than a mere endorsement some Thursday before a primary, this is how I would do it. It’s crossing a Rubicon, but a Cabinet seat could await at the end of the road…