Florida, 2004

Looks like there could be trouble again:

This time, the vote isn’t national or final, but it will go a long way toward determining the alternative to Bush in November 2004. The vote will take place in Iowa Monday night. More than 100,000 Democrats will go to precinct caucuses to select a nominee for president. Which candidate will get the most votes that night? If the race remains close, you’ll never know.

Count me in with Saletan and Schiller. I’ve got a bad feeling about Iowa. TheĀ convoluted rules, coupled with the fact that lots of out-of-staters will be flooding the state, means we could be looking at a long night and an ugly morning, with accusations flying and an official outcome that’s highly debatable at best.

Unless Dean’s vaunted ground operation pulls him well ahead of the pack, it could be that none of the candidates gains any measurable momentum going into New Hampshire.

So who does this help? Why, Wesley Clark, of course. Picture the candidates coming back from Iowa, bickering in the debate over turnout suppression by mysterious callers, volunteer intimidation by Gep’s Teamsters, and illegal participation by conspicuous Deanies who were spotted driving New Beetles and sipping lattes.

All Wes would need is a 2-day controversy to make it through the week with his hind relatively intact. Sure, the other candidates would go after him eventually, but he’d also scoop up some of the attack-fatigue vote. That, I think, would be enough for Clark to hold his ground against Kerry.

Of course, I’d never hope for chaos in a Democratic primary, even if it helps my man.

Okay, yeah, I would.

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