The day has finally arrived... January 3rd, 2008. The Iowa Caucus. Perhaps the biggest day in the 2008 Presidential elections since the Straw Poll in Ames 5 long months ago.
Those of us who have been living and breathing this stuff since before then are more than ecstatic! Oh... if only I could take a peak at the headlines of tomorrow! The anticipation is killing me more in this one day than in all days prior!
What is more, even Mitt Romney, the multi-million dollar man, has predicted that he will lose to Huckabee tonight. One thing that we can all agree on is that it has been a tough race, but the political oddity of our time is that a dirt-road candidate with no money or organization has seemingly unseated the established and well funded candidate. If things play out this way tonight, it will be, perhaps, one of the greatest political feats of our time!
But the trouble continues after the Iowa Caucus. Fred Thompson's campaign has made it clear that if Thompson does not finish in the top 2 or 3, Fred Thompson will drop the race. Talk about taking the first exit off the expressway! This guy never really wanted to run in the first place, so this is an easy out. I commend him on inspiring his base! And even though Thompson is said to endorse John McCain when he drops the race, I doubt that all of those votes will actually go to McCain. In fact, 2nd choice for a lot of Fred Thompson voters are spread between Huckabee, McCain, and Romney... so it will be interesting to see how those votes are distributed in NH. What is more interesting is how an announcement like this will influence voters in Iowa on the day of the caucus. Perhaps the Iowa Fred-Heads will throw their 1st choice vote to Huckabee or McCain in Iowa. This definitely shakes things up a bit on Caucus Day!
Depending on how this day turns out, all eyes will be on John McCain, and the endorsement he will receive from Fred Thompson. Will this push him to imminent victory in New Hampshire, despite the Independent vote, or does Thompson's poor support in that state even matter come the Primary? And will this move hurt or help Huckabee and Rudy?
It seems to me that Rudy's hold out for Super Tuesday was a poor tactic. He will have zero momentum going into Feb 5th. If Huckabee wins tonight, and McCain wins NH, Huckabee is sure to take Michigan from Romney, clean up in SC, and use the momentum to defeat Rudy in SC before Super Tuesday. McCain's numbers are close enough in Michigan and SC to give Huckabee a run for his money... but tonight will give momentum to next Tuesday... and after Next Tuesday, it could be a Huckabee / McCain race to the nomination (in either order).
On the Democratic side, If Edwards pulls the upset tonight, he could possibly use this momentum to sweep the states before Super Tuesday. If Clinton doesn't have the momentum on Super Tuesday, Edwards could win out the day. People are looking for a reason not to support Hillary, and just like Rudy's numbers fell with the first sign of hope in another candidate, so too will Clinton.
So the three candidates to watch tonight are Huckabee, McCain, and John Edwards.