I’m Eugene Robinson, and this is Round 51. Boy, Iowa and New Hampshire really did their job and clarified the Democratic race, didn’t they? *checks notes* Uh, hold on just a second.
After the first two contests, anyone who tells you they know with certainty who the nominee will be is smoking something, hopefully in a state where it’s legal.
Bernie Sanders got more votes in both states than anyone else. But Pete Buttigieg (a married gay man! think back to 2012 and imagine!) was very close and actually came away with more delegates than Sanders in Iowa and just as many in New Hampshire. Given that the delegate count ultimately determines the nomination, it’s hard to think of Sanders as the front-runner, though the Twittersphere Freak-Out Machine is doing just that.
It’s much easier to think of Joe Biden’s campaign as in grave trouble. Fourth- and fifth-place finishes can’t help but undermine his “electability” argument, and they don’t put donors in the mood to open their checkbooks. If Biden demolishes all competition in Nevada and South Carolina, Bill Clinton’s old “Comeback Kid” title will pass to him. If not, I think he’s done.
Meanwhile, Amy Klobuchar vaulted herself into the top tier with a strong third-place finish in the Granite State. The question for her is whether she has the money and the organization to compete in even the next two contests, to say nothing of Super Tuesday. In Iowa and New Hampshire, Klobuchar’s retail skills let her live off the land; Super Tuesday is a wholesale operation that requires television ads, and lots of them.
That is, if there is any ad time left to buy. Mike Bloomberg may have scarfed it all up. The results thus far could hardly have been better for him. The longer the race remains a muddle — and don’t forget Elizabeth Warren, who built a powerful grass-roots organization and may have a surprise or two up her sleeve — the more plausible a Super Tuesday Bloomberg blitzkrieg starts to look.
Given the Democrats’ policy of awarding delegates proportionally, I’m starting to wonder how anyone puts this thing away before the convention. So take a deep breath, everybody. And buckle up.
— Eugene Robinson
Don’t forget to click on the chart’s yellow highlighted text to see the rest of the Ranking Committee’s annotations.
|Position||Challenger||Change Over Last Ranking|
|2. (TIE)||Mike Bloomberg||UP 1|
|2. (TIE)||Pete Buttigieg||—|
|4.||Amy Klobuchar||UP 2|
|6.||Joe Biden||DOWN 2|
Also receiving votes: A contested convention and, sigh, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson
Last week’s ranking: Round 50 | After Iowa, a front-runner drops way down and a dark horse skyrockets
From the Annotations
I am avoiding the phrase “Klomentum,” which sounds like a new treatment for a disease you’d never admit you had. But for her, third place in New Hampshire was a proud showing.
Megan McArdle, on Amy Klobuchar
The myth of his supreme electability may have been stamped out by the reality that actual voters have displayed little interest in, uh, electing him.
Molly Roberts, on Joe Biden
Agree? Disagree? Share your thoughts in the comments. We’ll see you for the next ranking. Until then, take a breather — no caucus next week. Well, not until the weekend, at least.
Watch Post Opinion writers and editors sing ‘Today is for Amy,’ a parody by columnist Alexandra Petri:
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