Bernie is the front-runner. For now.

The socialist won the New Hampshire Democratic primary last night – but not by as much as you may have expected:

A win is a win, and this win certainly gives Bernie some momentum. But 26% of the vote is a long way off from the 60% he won last time around. Yeah, that was a two-way fight against Hillary Clinton – but when presented with more alternatives on his home turf, over half of Bernie’s supporters jumped ship.

If Sanders does pick up most of Elizabeth Warren’s supporters when she drops out, that may put him over the top. But considering their recent history, I’m not sure that’s going to happen.

It’s the surging Amy Klobuchar whom I can see benefiting the most from an Elizabeth Warren withdrawal. A large piece of the Democratic electorate, not unreasonably, wants to see a female President in their lifetime – especially after Hillary Clinton was so cruelly denied victory by the intricacies of the electoral college in 2016. And all of a sudden, Klobuchar is the woman with the best chance of winning this thing.

If she does pull this off, I think this might be seen as a turning point:

The Democratic Party is devoutly pro-choice (the days of anti-abortion Democrats and pro-choice Republicans are long gone) but only Klobuchar appears to realize that if you want to win the White House, you have to at least make an attempt to peel off support from the other side.

Four more years

The Democratic party responded to hears of Russian election meddling by hacking their own election:

Democratic party officials in Iowa worked furiously Tuesday to deliver the delayed results of their first-in-the-nation caucus, as frustrated presidential candidates claimed momentum and plowed ahead in their quest for the White House.

Technology problems and reporting “inconsistencies” kept Iowa Democratic Party officials from releasing results from Monday’s caucus, the much-hyped kickoff to the 2020 primary. It was an embarrassing twist after months of promoting the contest as a chance for Democrats to find some clarity in a jumbled field with no clear front-runner.

Instead, caucus day ended with no winner, no official results and many fresh questions about whether Iowa can retain its coveted “first” status.

Now I know why @Iowahawk moved to Texas.

Democrats faced the possibility that whatever numbers they ultimately released would be questioned. And beyond 2020, critics began wondering aloud whether the Iowa caucuses, a complicated set of political meetings staged in a state that is whiter and older than the Democratic Party, are a tradition whose time had passed.

The party has tried to accommodate critics, this year by promising to report three different data points about voters’ preferences, presumably improving transparency. But the new system created new headaches.

State party spokeswoman Mandy McClure said it had “found inconsistencies in the reporting of three sets of results,” forcing officials to try to verify results with “underlying data” and the paper trail.

Some of the trouble stemmed from issues with a new mobile app developed to report results to the party. Caucus organizers reported problems downloading the app and other glitches.

Des Moines County Democratic Chair Tom Courtney said the new app created “a mess.” As a result, Courtney said precinct leaders were phoning in results to the state party headquarters, which was too busy to answer their calls in some cases.

Organizers were still looking for missing results several hours after voting concluded.

If the Republican Party is the Terminator, the Democratic Party is C3P0. How on earth do you screw it up this badly, at such an important time? They should be united in the fight to take down a uniquely harmful President, but now they’re fighting among themselves. As usual.

Trump can’t win in 2020. But Democrats can lose in 2020, and they almost certainly will.

The Democratic candidate who does come out of this mess looking the best is probably Mike Bloomberg. I certainly didn’t agree with all of his policies as mayor of New York, but at least he was competent at it. And his decision to avoid wasting time in Iowa (and New Hampshire) now looks like a stroke of genius.