a/k/a Why Howard Dean Just Won
I said the other day that I think Dean would still win and gave some reasons. I want to expand on that before getting back to the grind at work.
The Demoines Register endorsed John Edwards. This was unintentionally an endorsement of Howard Dean. Because of the endorsement, Edwards will take a lot of undecided votes that would otherwise go to Gephardt making Gephardt less viable and Edwards more viable. If Gephardt loses in Iowa, which is likely, he will not be seen as viable by the media, his coverage will slip, and he will fall by the wayside.
Clark is now in second place in New Hampshire. If Kerry wants to remain viable, he will have to start tearing down Clark. It’s already happening. Edwards now sees himself as viable, but needs to improve his position. He will have to go after Kerry and Clark to boost his numbers in New Hampshire. They’re all firing at each other, so Dean can stand on his own.
Then we get to South Carolina where Dean is currently ahead and Edwards wants to make his stand. Expectations for Dean aren’t high in the South anyway. So, Edwards will try to tear Dean down. But, with Clark losing in New Hampshire, he will have to try to win the south. He can’t afford dividing it up with Edwards. Clark will have to attack Edwards.
Lieberman and Kerry will also have to join the fight to divide the spoils. Because Clark, Edwards, Kerry, Lieberman, and Gephardt will be trying to divide for themselves a non-expanding pool of voters, they will fight amongst themselves while Dean skips the South and moves to the next round of primaries, where he has already built a base of hard core support.
So, Dean will continue getting attacked, but Edwards, Kerry, Clark, and Gephardt can’t allow themselves to be knocked out of second. So, they, with egos making sure they think they are entitled to the nomination, will sling it out more between themselves leaving Dean to wrap up the nomination largely unscathed.
That is my theory.