Could Clinton or Edwards have beaten Obama in Iowa?

On January 3, 2008, roughly 240,000 Iowans attended Democratic precinct caucuses, and at least 90,000 of them ended up in Barack Obama's corner.

However we felt about Obama during the primaries or the general election campaign, whatever we think about his substantive and symbolic actions since the election, we can all agree that he would not be taking the oath of office tomorrow if Iowa caucus-goers had put him in third place, or even a distant second.

I started writing this diary several times last year. I kept abandoning it because emotions were so raw on Democratic blogs that I felt the piece would only ignite a flamewar. Since more than a year has passed, I decided to try one more time.

I do not mean to start an argument or pretend that I have all the answers. I just enjoy thinking about counterfactual history (such as this or this).

After the jump I will try to figure out whether Hillary Clinton or John Edwards could have beaten Obama in Iowa.

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It's Over

I have been reading this blog almost completely in the shadows since I began in January. I have refrained from posting diaries and comments because I was content with everything I was reading and this blog has been a great source of news to me ever since i started. I am writing today to say please let it go. Stop talking about old rivalries and please move on from the primaries and all the hatred everyone here has. It is disturbing that people here cannot let go of their disagreements with Dailykos posters during the primaries and will not stop complaining about how horribly Clinton was treated several months ago. I must confess that I read both Daily kos and Mydd and I have not seen hatred towards this blog at Daily kos, and certainly not in rec diaries. This blog's population has shrunk since the primaries considerably and it really saddens me to see people pushing people like me away from great blogs like this because they cannot forgive and just let go. Hilary lost and she and Obama have made amends, so can we. Diaries and comments that bash our fellow Democrats are not helpful and as good as it makes you feel, it will not make the outcome of the primaries change and nor will it change words that were spoken in the heat of an intense primary, so can we please just let it go and stop putting those diaries at the top of the rec list every time I check this blog. Thank you.

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What did you get wrong? What did you get right?

We've had ten days to decompress from the election. It's time for a little self-promotion and self-criticism.

What did you predict accurately during the past campaign, and what did you get completely wrong?

The ground rules for this thread are as follows:

1. This is about your own forecasting skills. Do not post a comment solely to mock someone else's idiocy.

2. You are not allowed to boast about something you got right without owning up to at least one thing you got wrong.

3. For maximum bragging rights, include a link to a comment or diary containing your accurate prediction. Links are not required, though.

I'll get the ball rolling. Here are some of the more significant things I got wrong during the presidential campaign that just ended.

I thought that since John Edwards had been in the spotlight for years, the Republicans would probably not be able to spring an "October surprise" on us if he were the Democratic nominee. Oops.

In 2006 I thought Hillary's strong poll numbers among Democrats were

inflated by the fact that she has a lot of name recognition. I think once the campaign begins, her numbers will sink like Lieberman's did in 2003.

Then when her poll numbers held up in most states throughout 2007, I thought Hillary's coalition would collapse if she lost a few early primaries. Um, not quite.

I thought Barack Obama would fail to be viable in a lot of Iowa precincts dominated by voters over age 50.

I thought Obama had zero chance of beating John McCain in Florida.

Here are a few things I got right:

I consistently predicted that Hillary would finish no better than third in the Iowa caucuses. For that I was sometimes ridiculed in MyDD comment threads during the summer and fall of 2007.

I knew right away that choosing Sarah Palin was McCain's gift to Democrats on his own birthday, because it undercut his best argument against Obama: lack of experience.

I immediately sensed that letting the Obama campaign take over the GOTV effort in Iowa might lead to a convincing victory for Obama here without maximizing the gains for our down-ticket candidates. In fact, Iowa Democrats did lose a number of statehouse races we should have won last week.

By the way, if you are from Iowa or have Iowa connections, please consider helping the progressive community blog Bleeding Heartland analyze what went wrong and what went right for Democrats in some of the state House and Senate races.

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Is it too early to talk about election reform?

I don't know about anyone else, but I think the election processs in this country is absolutly fucked. Between the myriad of rules processes and machines involved in any state sponsored election, we have some states that parties must pay for their primaries. I have been an Obama backer from pretty early on, a former Deaniac switched on to politics. I know it's out of the norm to have such a close primary recently, but we had a friggin toss up. My candidate won, but damn the process seems antiquated. My goal for the next few years is to bring democratic change to our complete election processs.

Drewid's diary :: ::
This may very well be a worthless dairy, but it is something I feel needs attention. We can't set about changing GE procedures without addressing primaries, and this is where I want to start. Our primaries are frakked. Dominated so far by small and unrepresentitive states. Many state Dem parties forced to pay for the primary. cuacus or full on primary. Of course a caucus cost less Myself personally, I'm torn on caucuses. On one hand it does deny the right to vote to people who can't make arrangements to caucus. On the other hand it is a decent messure of a candidates depth of support. It can't be disputed that some states have cheaper media markets, so a cadidate doesn't have to spend crazy ammounts of money to run in an early state. As far as the GE, many states have things in the pipes to award the states electoral votes to the winner of the popular vote, and I support that. The question is what do we dems do with our primary process, and what do we work for as standards for national elections. All I know is, Super D's suck, Iowa and NH always first sux,  Limited voting time sux, GE and def caucuses.Either we finance elections, as a party of a government, or we have to live with state parties holding caucuses. We dems should lead by example. We should demand the most democratic and transparent primary from our party. Leave no doubt as to who we voted for, and fight for expanded access to the ballot box acrosss the board, everywhere at every level.
I will post further about it, we have work to do, just wanted to get it off my chest.

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Journal of the Flame Wars: Now Online

Cross Posted on Motley Moose

It's out. On popular request I'm letting you all know that my a version of my 'Journal of the Flame Wars' has now been published in Prospect Magazine .

As with all such articles, they get cut for length, subbed and simplified, and this is even more true in a British publication where the Netroots has to be explained as Blogosphere 101. There are a lot of things - a history of snark, mentions of other bloggers that have been cut because of length and complexity.

Sorry guys. I tried to mention a lot of you. But the editors found it confusing. It really needs a longer piece to get the whole story. Maybe I should write a book

I hope you enjoy despite this. In the fierce urgency of defeating McCain Palin, I don't want to reignite any unnecessary and ancient flame wars, so the only two issues I want to comment on are these...

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