Iowa, Iowa, Iowa. If you didn’t have the cornfield/baseball field of my all-time favorite movie, I’d just as soon throw you away completely.
So as I type this at 11 p.m. Eastern time Tuesday night, we still don’t know for certain who won the Iowa Caucuses. Which ended at 10 p.m. Eastern time MONDAY night!
I mean… I could have individually called several hundred thousand Iowans in the past 24 hours and gotten the results by now!
Well, it’s not like anyone thought the state of Iowa, a state with more than 90 percent white people, a state where they hold caucuses where people must gather together in VFW Halls and school auditoriums and discuss who they’re voting for instead of just, I dunno, voting, was a model of democracy in the past.
But lo and behold, as much screaming as I normally do every four years about stupid and idiotic it is to let this state with its flawed process of choosing candidates, this year Iowa took the bait.
In case you haven’t heard by now, there was a major screw-up with reporting the results, something about a new app breaking down and having glitches (as many people on Twitter said, “never use an app for something you can do without an app”) and we’ve got only 62 percent of the votes in, as I type this.
It’s embarrassing, completely embarrassing, for this to happen. It leads to all sorts of suspicions of voter fraud, tampering, whatever else you want to say, to not know who won at this point. Maybe this will finally kill Iowa, and caucuses, as the outsized in importance, first in the nation, spot it has held for so long.
I hope so.
Anyway, because I’m a political animal and can’t help myself, a few conclusions to draw after Round 1:
— With all the time and money he spent in Iowa, Pete Buttigieg needed a good showing, and he got one. Whether he ends up winning or just very close to the top (he leads with 26.9 percent as of now), he’s taken the first step toward showing voters that a mayor of South Bend, Ind. could be a legit candidate for President. He’s not my choice (Elizabeth Warren is), but he’s definitely legit.
— I’m happy that it appears for now that Bernie didn’t win, or if he does win it’s not by much, because I see him and Warren competing to be the liberal “finalist” when this showdown for the nomination comes down to just two or three candidates.
Warren did fine, coming in third, but the big test now is she has to do well in New Hampshire. Both she and Sanders are New Englanders, and if voters in that region can get over the shock of the Mookie Betts trade by the Sox Tuesday night (thanks for weakening your team, Boston! Love, Yankees fans), it should be a fascinating primary next Tuesday.
— Biden has to bounce back strongly there, and if Pete plummets to 4th or 5th it’ll look like Iowa was the outlier, and the states coming up next (Nevada and South Carolina) have a much more diverse cast of Democratic voters, and Mayor Pete doesn’t do so well with non-whites.
— Oh yeah, apparently our dear leader
led a Klan rally gave the State of the Union Tuesday night, too. This was the only visual of the night I needed, but when I read online that he gave Rush Limbaugh the Presidential Medal of Freedom, I had to go vomit for awhile. Dear God let’s hope this is his last SOTU, ever.
— OK, let’s go for a bit of a palatte cleanser. Here’s a man who found a groundhog eating a whole bunch of stuff from his garden, and filmed it, narrated it, and let the creature keep going. I was highly entertained to see what the little guy would eat next.
**And finally, we had a weird quirk in the sporting calendar this year that saw the Australian Open finish on the same day of the Super Bowl, which never happens, so I didn’t get to share my thoughts on tennis’ first Slam. It was, in a word, a weird Slam, overall, with lots of surprises.
Sonia Kenin, the 21-year-old American, surprised everyone by coming through the draw and emerging the champ. She was the 14th seed so it’s not like she was a total shock, but this is the first time she’s put it all together at a Slam. Kenin is hilarious to watch; she stalks around the court between points like an angry flea market vendor who just lost out on a big sale, but off the court she’s delightful. She has more Slams in her future, with her terrific and fearless play.
— Coco Gauff continued to show that she is the real deal, making the quarters at AGE 15. What an unbelievable talent, and a grounded kid at that.
— I feel badly for Dominic Thiem, the dynamic Austrian who broke through to the Finals but lost in five excruciating sets. He’s certainly getting closer to a Slam title.
— And finally, the one thing that was NOT surprising was Novak Djokovic. What an incredible run in Australia he’s had; he’s now won eight titles there, in eight trips to the finals (that’s good). He’s up to 17 Slams now, two behind Rafa, and three behind Roger, and yes it’s certainly true he’s got an excellent case to go down as the greatest of all time when all three careers are over.
He’s dominated Federer for years, is better than Nadal on all surfaces but clay, and shows no signs of slowing down.
Yes it’s crazy that the Big 3 have now won 13 straight Slams, and sure someone else breaking through would be nice. But we are living in a Golden Age of men’s tennis, with 3 all-time greats all still getting it done, and that is super special to watch.