If history has taught us anything, it’s that winning over the state of Iowa greatly enhances one’s chances to secure the party nomination. Many political “giants” have lost their way after losing the state.
That’s exactly what Sen. Bernie Sanders’ campaign team is betting big on, as it would be a massive and strategic win for the popular 2020 hopeful — one that could help the candidate take over former vice president Joe Biden’s top spot in the polls.
According to The Hill, Rep. Ro Khanna, co-chairman for Sanders’ presidential campaign, has all but called the February 3 Iowa race for Sanders, saying he’d be “very surprised” if the candidate didn’t take the state.
“I fully anticipate he’ll win Iowa, having been on the ground there. And I think he’s going to do very well in New Hampshire and then there will be fight between him and probably Warren and Biden,” Khanna said.
Not winning in Iowa, in many past instances, has been a death blow to candidates who otherwise led the polls. For instance, former secretary of state Hillary Clinton, who was the 2008 front-runner, finished third in the state back then, a loss that she never recovered from.
President Barack Obama won Iowa that year and went on to claim the White House.
Democratic strategist and 2016 Sanders campaign adviser Tad Devine explained why Iowa is such a critical state.
“It tends to be a more progressive electorate in that caucus process, that’s been the history and tradition of it,” he said. “There’s a maverick streak in Iowa and — this goes back to the Vietnam War — there’s been an anti-war movement in Iowa that’s gone on for generations.”
Iowa voters have historically loved anti-war candidates, which could spell big trouble for Biden, who voted in favor of the Iraq war. In 2008, Obama took advantage of Clinton’s vote for the Iraq war and used it against her, propelling him to a first-place finish.
Bernie Sanders’s campaign is all but guaranteeing a win next year in Iowa, a key caucus state that the Vermont senator views as critical to winning the Democratic presidential nomination https://t.co/1plFGMByqe pic.twitter.com/aW9AibtTV9— The Hill (@thehill) May 31, 2019
The Sanders campaign is once again counting on their enthusiastic — and dedicated — Iowa base to brave the inevitably cold February weather to get to the polls to vote, no matter the conditions.
“Having a lot of grassroots activists and enthusiasm matters a lot because if it’s rainy and cold — a freezing-cold, snowy, icy night in February, which it often is — your supporters have to have the energy and motivation to show up,” Sanders campaign pollster Ben Tulchin explained.
Tulchin also said that with a win in Iowa, Sanders would be more likely to win in New Hampshire and Nevada, which would essentially be a golden ticket to winning the Democratic nomination.
Current average polling data from RealClearPolitics shows Sanders holding strong in second place with 16.4 percent, but still 18.4 percent behind Biden.