The following is an Essay by Member William
That was a phrase used by former North Carolina State basketball coach Jim Valvano, when talking about the “one loss and out” NCAA basketball tournament. His point was that it didn’t matter how you won, how close it was, the mistakes you may have made in a game; all that mattered was winning somehow, and getting to the next round. This phrase became so famous in sports, because he and his team rode it to an almost unfathomable national championship in 1983. They kept squeaking out wins, and suddenly they were in the title game against a much better team, but they won that in the last second, and that was the national title.
Now, of course a presidential campaign is not “one loss and you’re out,” though the media will often try to make it look that way for candidates they don’t want to win. But that’s sort of how I felt about the very close Hillary win in the Iowa caucuses. We won, barely, but we won. Winning by even a few thousand votes is infinitely better than having lost by a similar amount. A win is a win. It heartens her supporters, who worked so hard in Iowa. It goes in the books as a win. And of course she got seven more delegates than did Sanders. So all in all, a rewarding night.And as we all know, delegates are what matters. In some sense, the Democratic primary set-up is an illusion. The DNC has it arranged so that no state is winner-take-all, and delegates are apportioned and divided up as the results come in. Actually, the so-called “Superdelegates” have the real power. And Hillary has about 300 more of those than Sanders does. So in terms of delegate count, Hillary is already in very strong shape. The media conveniently ignores that fact, in favor of their “horse race” narrative, which they believe sells viewing tickets for them. Of course Hillary needs to win primaries, and she will. She will have a real struggle in New Hampshire, which of course is contiguous to Vermont, and where the homogenous and often maverick voters often go for the underdog. Does anyone remember who won the New Hampshire primary in 1992? Try to guess before you see the answer! And Gary Hart won it in 1980, which didn’t do him any good when the bigger state primaries rolled around. Okay, the winner in 1992 was Paul Tsongas.
After New Hampshire, we have a much more favorable primary schedule. South Carolina, Nevada, and then soon after, Super Tuesday. We can take nothing for granted, but Hillary should do very well in those. Sanders will not go away; he’s got support from the Howard Dean wing of the party, and that group is always loud and vocal and virtually intransigent. And Sanders never concedes anything. I just hope that he will be decent enough to finally gracefully concede and support Hillary if it is apparent that she will win the nomination. But at this point, his supporters will continue with their all-out battle; and we have to maintain all our efforts, support–monetary and otherwise–and enthusiasm.
Last night, we heard that Sanders’ campaign was considering suing all sorts of people and entities. Microsoft, perhaps. They wanted a recreation of the caucus in 90 or so caucus sites, the all-time “do-over.” I am afraid that this is an extension of Sanders’ temperament, which apparently is to never concede anything, to turn everything into a battle; to threaten lawsuits left and right. This is not helpful to the Democratic Party in general. I do remember the eras where the conventions had floor fights about a party platform plank or rule. Are we going to see a series of massive floor fights because the Sanders people will never concede a defeat?
We will see how this continues to play out. It is interesting that in 2008, despite obvious massive rule-breaking at the caucuses by the Obama people; despite the DNC rigging the whole thing in favor of Obama, to the extent that he was given many delegates in a state where he was not on the ballot; and where some delegates which Hillary won were summarily given to him, Hillary and her campaign did not sue anyone. She put the party and the country ahead of herself. I was very disappointed that she did not sue, and fight at the convention, but that is not how she thinks or acts. She always sees the larger picture, and wants to do what the thinks is the right thing for the American people.
I will tell you that I feel rather happy about the Iowa results, which could have been better, but certainly could have been a lot worse. This is Hillary’s first ever win in a caucus. Caucuses are not good things, and they skew in favor of the more extreme candidates, particularly in states with homogeneous voting demographics. So winning Iowa was not an easy task, but Hillary did win there, in all important respects. And so all of us dedicated Hillary supporters came out winners, in the first of a long and grueling campagn which Hillary is prepared for, and for which we all must be as well.
And try not to let the media upset you too much. I know that they upset me, to the extent that I virtually never turn on the cable news networks. These people think that their own gloss on events is more important than the events themselves, and the obvious conclusions which people can draw from them. And either they are too stupid or too biased (take your pick as to which it is) to see it fairly and reasonably. No matter what the media might say, Hillary winning the Iowa caucus is a plus for her. It is hardly her strongest state, hardly her best situation. She didn’t win one single caucus in 2008, though she won most of the major primaries. But she won this caucus, making her 1-0 in caucus/primary results thus far! On to New Hampshire and beyond!
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