Bennet, Gabbard, Patrick, Steyer, Yang

Bernie Sanders supporters wait to be counted at at an Iowa caucus at Abraham Lincoln High School in Des Moines on Feb. 3, 2020.


The short version of the Democratic story so far: RIP Iowa caucuses, long live Bernie and Pete. But that’s too simple.

The first part is true, I hope and believe. Even if the Democratic National Committee defies all common sense and allows Iowa to go first again in 2024, with a massively complex caucus system rather than a primary or even a relatively straightforward ranked-choice primary, things will never be the same. 

Look at this year’s field. What 2024 candidate in their right mind would bet their future on Iowa? Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg focused their time and money there on the theory that a good showing would catapult them to success in subsequent states. With 62% of the results announced as of this writing, more than 24 hours after the caucuses began, his gamble looked like it might pay off and hers looked iffy.


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