Second-Tier Blues

A quick thought: Are any of the second-tier Democrats going to exceed 5 percent? As of now, Politico is showing Richardson at 2 percent, Biden at 1 percent, and Dodd, Kucinich, and Gravel at zero percent.

This doesn’t mean only 2 percent of Iowans voted for Richardson and 1 percent for Gravel. These aren’t popular-vote percentages we’re seeing; it’s the number of delegates assigned based on meetings where the candidates exceeded 15 percent. So, it’s very probable that the top Dems are basically going to run the table. That doesn’t show weakness among the second-tier, but weakness in the caucus system.

But average Americans watching CNN probably won’t understand this. That means they’ll think they’re crazy to like the second-tier guys, since Iowans pooh-poohed them. Plus, the second-tier candidates now have to find a way to spin these low numbers and explain the caucuses to residents from other states. The average South Carolinian doesn’t care about the nuances of caucus law—they just know Joe Biden only pulled in 1 percent or 2 percent in Iowa. Talk about not being viable.