Iowa is overblown. And people like me are to blame.
Consider three things: One, we don't know who got more votes in the Iowa Democratic caucus; we only know delegate percentages that don't directly reflect the popular vote. Two, Clinton came in third in delegate count by less than a third of a percent. Finally, recall that Clinton currently has ten percent more delegates than all other candidates put together. Yet, because of Iowa, she is considered to have lost her clear front-runner status and she was able to talk with a straight face in New Hampshire about her "comeback." This idea is ridiculous.
Yet it's not. Because politics is perception, and if it's perceived that she's stumbling then she will have stumbled. The expectation fulfills itself as people like me go to the polls and vote based on the way we think the results will turn out. If I think the race is down to Clinton and Obama -- and judging by every media report, it is -- then I surely will vote for one of those two. And, because Edwards failed to capture any of the earlier states, I will perceive him to be out of the running, and my perception will make it true.
And that's exactly the spot I find myself in. And it's exactly the spot that, apparently about 2,000 other progressive Edwards-leaning blog readers have found themselves in. Many of them, like me, have whined stridently about the disproportionate power of Iowa and New Hampshire -- yet, hypocritically, I would certainly consider changing my Feb. 5 vote based on the narrative that those two states created.
Short version: A vote that changes after Jan. 3 is a vote against the power of one's own state primary.