It's taken a few days, but it is beginning to look like Mayor Pete's decision to bet the farm in Iowa is going to pay some big dividends.
While many polls were showing a statistical tie between former Vice President Biden and Senator Bernie Sanders, caucus goers appear to have thought differently. So instead of Biden walking out with a big win or tie with Sanders, he is on the verge of walking out of Iowa with zero delegates and Buttigieg is on the verge of heading into New Hampshire with sizable share of delegates from Iowa and, perhaps more importantly, the all-powerful momentum.
In the grand scheme of things, Iowa's 41 delegates is a drop in the bucket of the 4,051 pledged delegates up for grabs in the 2020 Democratic primary. Unfortunately for Biden and many other candidates, the perception that Buttegieg is a top-tier candidate is now reality in the eyes of the national media that reports on this horse race. If you don't believe that to be true then all you have to do is take a look at new polling out of New Hampshire showing Buttigieg getting a 5-point bump in the days after his performance in Iowa.
There's still a long (long) way to go here, but Mayor Pete is now a front-runner in the Democratic Primary. How long that status will last is very much up for debate.
I think it will be short lived. We will have so many primaries and caucus results in the next 30 days that the narrative will probably change 3-4 times at least with who is really leading this. No doubt its good for Pete. But unless he carries that throughout New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina especially, the buzz will die down.
I have thought for months that Pete was for real. And he has been polling well or #1 in Iowa for a long time now, for the most part. So this doesn't surprise me. But I will be surprised if he wins any of the next 3. I think a second win will be huge for him. But I think the voting demo in the other states is quite a bit different from Iowa so carry-over factor should be kinda small.
It'll be interesting to see how Buttigieg handles himself at the debate tonight. Both he and Sanders have claimed victory in Iowa even though the official results still aren't out nearly a week after the caucuses. I wonder if both of them will spend a lot of time on that or try to pivot towards New Hampshire.
Buttigieg is really interesting, but I don't think we'll have any idea how viable of a candidate he is until South Carolina and Nevada roll around. It's one thing to do well in states that, for lack of a better term, look him him. It's another thing entirely to do well in a more diverse state. He if does well in one or both of them then maybe I'll be convinced that he has a shot at this, but if he doesn't then I just don't see him going deep into the race.