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2020 Power Ranking: Here’s where all the Democrats stack up after Iowa


Happy Round 50 (yes, 50!) of the Post Pundit 2020 Power Rankings! I’m David Byler, and unlike the Iowa Democratic Party, we’ve got numbers that are glitch-free and on time.

The Commentary

We have votes, people!

After literally years of buildup, there are finally votes in this primary! Sort of.

On Monday, Iowans headed to their caucus sites. But due to technical problems, the votes have been released in fits and starts throughout the week, and a recanvass may be underway. But, based on the latest data, it looks as though two winners can be crowned: Bernie Sanders and Pete Buttigieg.

Two winners might sound absurd, but Iowa Democrats have designed the sort of wacky process that can generate this result. Three vote counts were produced:

  • A traditional count of every caucus-goer’s first preference
  • The vote count after a second round during which supporters of less successful candidates could pick a new favorite
  • The state delegate equivalents, the most traditional measure, which can be thought of as the second-round vote, halfway through the mathematical process of being translated to actual delegates to the convention

According to the latest data (and these totals could change), Sanders is ahead in the first two counts and Buttigieg is ahead in the third.

Regardless of who wins what in the end, this is a huge deal for both candidates. Buttigieg has been in the single digits in national polls, and his showing gives his campaign a new lease on life. If Sanders follows up with a win in New Hampshire, where he’s ahead in the polls, he could build momentum and even pull into the lead.

Iowa wasn’t so great for the other top-tier contenders: Joe Biden looks like he’ll finish in a disappointing fourth, and Elizabeth Warren is in third. If Warren pulls off an upset in New Hampshire, she could make a real run at the nomination. And Biden is still hoping he can wait out these early contests, preserve his national lead and win when South Carolina and racially diverse Super Tuesday states vote.

But for now, Iowa is over (as is the State of the Union and President Trump’s impeachment trial), and all eyes turn to New Hampshire.

— David Byler

The Ranking

Don’t forget to click on the chart’s yellow highlighted text to see the rest of the Ranking Committee’s annotations.

Position Challenger Change Over (Our) Last Ranking
1. Bernie Sanders UP 1
2. Pete Buttigieg UP 2
3. Mike Bloomberg UP 3
4. Joe Biden DOWN 3
5. Elizabeth Warren DOWN 2
6. Amy Klobuchar DOWN 1

Also receiving votes: No one/a contested convention; Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson

Last week’s ranking: Round 49 | You readers ranked the Democrats. Two did much better than how we see it.

From the Annotations

The nation turns its lonely eyes to you.

David Von Drehle, on … Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson

Politics isn’t predictable, as 2016 showed us. It’s even less predictable than we thought, as the run-up to Iowa showed us. Now we learn it’s no longer even countable.

Hugh Hewitt, on Iowa in general

Agree? Disagree? Share your thoughts in the comments. We’ll see you for the next ranking. Or maybe in two days, when we recanvass this one.

Read more on 2020:

Megan McArdle: Sensible Democrats, don’t repeat sensible Republicans’ 2016 mistakes

Jennifer Rubin: New Hampshire just got more important for three contenders

Eugene Robinson: Mike Bloomberg won the Iowa caucuses

Karen Tumulty: The most important Iowa result is in. Democrats should worry.

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