Herman Cain '12 Iowa caucuses: Obama, 2008? Or Dean, 2004?

Hot Air and Ace of Spades HQ are both contemplating the issue of Herman Cain, whether he can win, and whether he is truly likely to win. Fortunately or unfortunately – depending on your point of view – I take a utilitarian point of view on the matter: what does the Herman Cain Iowa plan look like? Does it look like this?


Campaign organizer: We’re going to harness the power of the grassroots and take this country back by getting together and coming together with one voice in caucuses all across Iowa to win and we’ve got people calling and the enthusiasm out there that I’m seeing every day is infectious!

…or does it look like this?

Campaign organizer: …OK, Sally, you say that you’ve got five more people in your precinct that will be definitely caucusing for Cain and six more who are on the fence. You need to get at least three of those on-the-fence people flipped in the next month and we need you to line up at least ten more possibles. Bob over here is good with lining up second-choice supporters; go talk to him after the meeting and get some pointers. Now who here is having trouble with arranging transportation that night? Jane, come on, you said that you could get a van. Make sure there’s a van. This is serious. We’re going over this now so that when something goes wrong down the line we can figure something out. Also, everybody clean out your lists again; I don’t care if they’re really close, if you haven’t moved them in a month they ain’t moving. What? No, Bill, we’re not giving rides to Perry caucus voters… what, he’s eighty? …Fine. You’re going to look pretty stupid if Perry wins your precinct by one vote, though… and remember, people: we need more folks willing to be the actual delegates for the conventions. Yes, that sucks, but democracy is like that, huh? – Anyway, that’s it for this week; we’ll meet next Tuesday as usual for an update from everybody.


I ask because organizations that have plans like the second are the ones that win elections.

Moe Lane (crosspost)

PS: There are 1,784 precincts in Iowa; the Republican party conducts theirs by secret ballot. Republican turnout in 2008 was just under 120K and in 2000 it was 86K: it would not be unreasonable to expect anywhere from 50 to 90 people per precinct, depending on how much interest there is locally. The Iowa caucuses are closed to registered members of the party. All of this (at minimum) should be engraved on the eyelids of anybody running a candidate’s Iowa ground game, and anybody who asks that person to explain how he or she plans to win those 1,784 districts should reasonably expect to be bored for the next half hour by a recitation of the tedious logistics and staffing thereof.

I note all of this without passing judgement on whether Herman Cain has an organization like the one mentioned above. But I do know this: by January 3, 2012, both Rick Perry and Mitt Romney will – and they’ll have shaken out the bugs from their respective operations, as well. Which is almost as important.




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