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The post Iowa chaos isn't really that chaotic...

If you saw my predictions for the Iowa Caucus yesterday afternoon, you'll remember I hedged Hillary Clinton down from her earlier 80% win range closer to 60%. (Nate Silver had her around 66%.) Pretty much for the exact reason you saw last night. An average of 4% lead in the polls wasn't so much...but still a lead. It was entirely possible Bernie could win. And he nearly did. Turnout was high but Hillary did better in a few of his places than expected. Her ground game was even more impressive than Sanders' and she made history.

I actually feel bad for Bernie supporters--despite the nasty afterwards--because it really was pretty close to his best case scenario. You did well and should be proud of the effort. It just wasn't enough to stop the Clinton freight train. Which tells you something that Bernie couldn't get over the hump in his 3rd best state demographically. Mostly white, lots of colleges, lots of young people turning out. The cold truth is if Bernie couldn't do it in Iowa, he's probably doomed. (I'll explain more below.) Oh, he's going to win New Hampshire. I'm about as confident of his win there as I was a Hillary win in Iowa. She could surprise, but doubtful. It's after that where the rubber meets the road.

Yesterday, I also threw in a few other predictions that now need some emphasis. I said "if Bernie loses Iowa" but really we should be more precise in our political geek-speak. What we really mean is "if Bernie doesn't clearly and convincingly win by a large margin in Iowa." To put it bluntly, after New Hampshire is a string of contests where he's going to have to outperform his Iowa results with a much more moderate and diverse electorate. He's down by 30 points in South Carolina. 40 points in Florida. 23 points in Nevada. 15 points in Ohio. You get the picture.

What I said was that unless Iowa was a stampede for Bernie, the likelihood of him dropping out sometime in March/April is about 99%. Those look rough for him. Or at least he'll be so clearly out of the picture that it's a mere formality. Or Clinton eliminates him but he keeps campaigning. In short, all this was true even WITH a win in Iowa for Sanders. Winning in Iowa would only slightly bump up his chances of making gains with those moderate, diverse, women, and older voters he needs to steal from Hillary.

So let's be clear...Hillary remains the dominant favorite for the nomination. Someone asked me earlier this morning whether I thought Hillary Clinton needs Sanders voters for the General Election even. I replied that she does not. White, educated liberals can probably stay home and she'd still win. That's just the nature of the population. Demographics is destiny. College educated whites makeup only 37% of the electorate and they're often in heavily Democratic areas anyway. Obama won college educated whites by 6% up from 5% in 2008.

Not that Democrats should needlessly start alienating white liberals who lean Bernie. It's a good voting group to have in your pocket. But not the core of the modern party. My larger point is that part of the reason Sanders isn't holding more sway among Democrats is that the "Bernie block" has very little leverage internally. Certainly far less leverage than if black or women voters started abandoning Hillary. Which they show no sign of doing. Sanders represents a strong, vocal...but ultimately weak and ineffective...section of the party.

Note, I know far less about the inner workings of Republican politics since I'm not a former campaign organizer like I am for Democrats. But I'll say this...those in the know gave Cruz a fair shake at winning. Everybody thought it may be him. But likely Trump. Rubio a farther third. The fact that Rubio made such a good showing and Trump such a bad showing tells us some stuff. Just not sure what yet. But Trump is beatable and may lack ground game. Rubio is probably more formidable than he looks on paper and Cruz is the Democrat's "ideal opponent." I suspect we're more likely to get Rubio now. But nobody knows.

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