My caucus crystal ball

FILLERS

BY JOHN CULLEN

No one from CNN or Meet the Press has asked my opinion on who will win the Iowa Caucuses, or the presidential election, but if they did, I would tell them the old saying, “When a Democrat runs like a Republican, the Republican wins every time.”

In other words, if you’re going to be a Democrat, you have to be progressive. If you are too conservative, you won’t catch fire with fellow Democrats.

That’s why I think Elizabeth Warren or Bernie Sanders have the best chance of winning the caucus in less than a month. They’re what Democrats are supposed to be.

Warren and Sanders have the most passionate followers, and that’s what it takes to win a caucus. National polls may show Joe Biden in the lead, but that could vanish if Biden hasn’t built up a groundswell of passionate followers willing to show up on a cold night in February to promote their candidate. National polls don’t measure passion or organization. They tell us what most voters think, but most voters don’t go to caucuses. Only true believers do.

I’ll wait to see what Ann Selzer’s Iowa Poll of likely caucus-goers tells us in the Des Moines Register in the next few weeks.

A lot of national political pundits, particularly the less-experienced ones, don’t understand how caucuses work. Candidates with the best organizations win. That’s how Barack Obama “surprised” Hillary Clinton in the 2008 caucuses that vaulted him into the White House. Most of the “experts” assumed President Hillary was a foregone conclusion because she led in the popular polls rather than drilling down to see who had the best ground game in Iowa.

Despite the complaints of Iowa bashers, our caucuses aren’t going anywhere any time soon because we have a pretty good track record of picking winners. We’ve picked seven of the last nine Democratic presidential nominees.

Having said all that, there’s a very good chance I don’t know what I’m talking about. But here are my predictions for the caucus: I see a tossup between Sanders and Warren for the top two spots, Mayor Pete third, Biden fourth, and Amy Klobuchar close behind Uncle Joe. The other candidates are all good; it’s just that these are the ones I see as having the best chances.

If you think I’m wrong, prove it by showing up at your neighborhood caucus and supporting your candidate.

We’ll see Feb. 3.

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