The Iowa Deal
The Richardson camp , in a room of , say 100 voters, will need to get as much as 15 of them collected into a corner. Then they're counted down. If there are less than 15, then the group can split up and go where they want to.
Its a game. A bit like that moment in "a beautiful mind" (ie, altruism is a strategy) where the candidate that they would go to, would not necessarily be the candidate that you would either ally to, or wish to pair up with in order to take out your immediate opponent. This is what Edwards did in 2004, when he sniped Kucinich supporters for a strong finish over Dean.
Voter turnout should make a mark higher than 10%, remember this is a primary running today. If we top like, 20% in turnout it means the ground is shifting under the enforced apathy and manufactured consent process that the lobbyists have installed at the behest of the conformist corporate intelligentsia. Their line of power exists in the ability to pull advertisements from circulation - this may not sound like much, but say GQ wants to run a story about, oh, say, child prostitution. What happens is Ford has learned that they can run their ads anywhere in the mag, and just as you see this prevalence of placement in the mass market - (ex. Cochitos Scoops Brand College Bowl, or the Stringles Brand Pretzel Tortilla Stack Golf Tournament ) - what you dont see is the behind the scenes games that corporations, de-facto lobbyists, and advertisers play (as they choose between their "bronze" and "platinum" advertisting package options). Say for example that Ford has uses "placement" (tied to lobbyist) companies that do their ad buys. These placement agencies exist to buy and sell advertising. And they are often special purpose constructions.
So back to the example, say someone at Ford will get the advance or rush copy of the issue of GQ that they are going to run their ads in, and they decide to say "alright, its all fine and good that you're going to run a story about that but we don't want the ford explorer ad running opposite page" . This usually amounts to heat on the editor, who has only so much space to move the ad around. They are usually forced to follow the advertiser and will even try to influence the writing in order to make it more commercially appealing (e.g. conformism institutionalized).
So you end up with deals behind the table all the way down the line until the end, deals on political ad buys, and finally, the day before, deals on viability. Most precinct captains know what their district is going to do.
The day before caucus the precinct captains all get together on conference calls and strategize. This is both sides of the fence, GOP and DEM. Then, the night before, the captains charge up their cellphone and get ready for GOTV, calling people to inform them of their caucus location, helping people get to the polls. Get Out the Vote. Caucus night, after seven, the Iowans lock themselves into the school gym and the precinct captains know in advance what to do about viability. An interesting twist to the process this year is that the major media markets are going to run results based on "entrance polls". Which is hilarious because going into the poll, you can still change your mind and this also deals out viability crossover. Its actually very cynical if you think about it: the major media organizations are trading actual voting results for news media entertainment. You can bet that no matter what results are posted they will run the story like this "so and so was the favorite in the polls going in, but the actual results are such and such". News media entertainment is part of the advertising infrastructure; if they get the wrong media buyer in place as a front runner - it costs them money in ad revenue. Guess which candidates Faux news want up front? >:)
Suppose the Richardson caucus gets 10%, needs 15, captain decides his group is unviable - what will happen next is that the captain will quietly discuss the next move - he knows the deal. Bear in mind also that these voters are all pretty well connected to their state representatives, and that this kind of voting is a big deal and they're aware of that fact. Every precinct that goes to a particular candidate makes headline news. So they will get a deal, at that state level or higher - and it will filter down to the captains which candidate plays better on crossover. In the case of Richardson, let's say it's Obama. So they'll cross over. Since all three candidates on the Democratic top tier are basically even, this could mean the difference between win or loss.
The really fun part? Iowans are sort of tough minded and will decide for themselves who they like. This should be good. I will tune in tonight to check it out.
You don't have to be political to vote, but if you do - imho primaries are the way to go, , because nobody seems to want to vote in them + so the candidates are really going to listen to you - if you participate in any GOTV or any primary work you end up getting connected to the people that will help you if you get a win. It's a bit more bang for the buck. The general election is just a sort of , if you'll pardon the expression. Media blitz?
No prediction from me, I know these Iowa voters have a surprise in store. I have .. um .. er.. better things to do . And he who lives by the crystal ball eventually must learn to live on a diet of ground glass. Thats the Iowa Deal.