Jeremy's Weblog

I recently graduated from Harvard Law School. This is my weblog. It tries to be funny. E-mail me if you like it. For an index of what's lurking in the archives, sorted by category, click here.

Monday, January 19, 2004

In case you miss tonight's evening news:

"Good evening, and welcome to a historic night for Iowa, and for the nation, as the 2004 Election Season truly kicks off with Iowa's First-In-The-Nation caucus. All indications are that tonight's caucus is experience the highest turnout in years, and the race has never been closer. We've got reporters on the ground in Great Bluffs, Giant Falls, and Super Floodville waiting to give us their eyewitness accounts of the excitement they've seen today. But first, a video clip that shows all of the candidates smiling and waving to cheering audiences that demonstrates absolutely nothing about the race. Our intrepid senior political analyst reports:

"Thanks. I'm here at Sue Ann's coffee shop, which for over a hundred years has been a bellwether for Iowa caucuses. However the waitresses at Sue Ann's go, so goes the state of Iowa. And today, the waitresses are deadlocked. Three for Dean, three for Kerry, three for Gephardt, three for Edwards, and that crazy guy out back for Kucinich. From my vantage point here, at the center of the storm, I've seen all of the candidates and their throngs of admirers march past, on their way to a rally. If the excitement is any indication, this caucus may draw more than thirty-one times the number of people who attended the caucuses last time through. Of course, we can never be sure of anything here in Iowa. It's earned its reputation as an unpredictable state. Especially the weather. Why, here comes some weather right now! Back to you in the studio!

"Be careful there! That was our senior political analyst. Now we turn to our senior elections correspondent, at John Kerry headquarters for more about what the Kerry camp is saying about the caucuses. Over to you!

"Thanks. It's mayhem here at Kerry headquarters, where of course it's too soon to tell what the results will be, but people here are certainly excited. The candidate has been criss-crossing the state today, from Moose Jaw to Antelope Head, trying to rally supporters. Turnout at Kerry events has been rising over the last few days, and the candidate is said to be "psyched" by all of the last-minute support. Kerry groundworkers have been rounding up voters, and driving them to their caucus sites. One of those voters is here with me now at Kerry headquarters, waiting for the results to come in. How are you, ma'am?

"I'm great, thanks. I'd never been to a caucus before, but I am so excited about helping John Kerry win the nomination that I braved the cold and headed over there. I hope I'm celebrating with a goat and a bottle of whiskey tonight!"

"Thanks, ma'am. If all of Kerry's supporters are as excited as this woman, he may have a lot to smile about tonight. Live from Kerry headquarters, now back to the studio.

"Thanks for the report. That was our senior elections correspondent. We now turn to our senior field reporter over at one caucus site he'll never forget!

"Thanks! I'm over here at Millie's Barn, perhaps the most rustic of the over 10,000 caucus sites throughout the state of Iowa. Remarkably, just three hours ago, this barn was not here where it is now. Last night, it is reported that a Dean supporter came and disassembled the barn, and threw it in the river over there (camera pans to river). Apparently, there was concern that this would be an Edwards barn tonight in the caucuses. But the good people of Iowa have rebuilt the barn, and it will be open for caucusing tonight! A remarkable story, but just one of hundreds of remarkable stories I'm sure, on this night of caucusgoing. Back to you in the studio!

"Great story there from our senior field reporter. Now, we turn to our senior campaign correspondent standing with John Edwards in the middle of a pile of hay.

"Thanks. I'm here with Senator John Edwards, who certainly seems upbeat tonight. Senator?

"Yes, I've been excited to see the growing crowds over the last few days, and I think I'm going to end up with a good showing here in the great state of Iowa."

"Any predictions?

"We all ran great races, it's so close, anything would be a victory for us here. I'm not going to start guessing numbers."

"Anything would be a victory? 3 percent?

"3 percent."

"There you have it, John Edwards guessing his turnout at 3%. Thanks, Senator. Back to you in the studio.

"Thanks. Now we all know that races can be won and lost based on turnout. With an analysis of how turnout might affect tonight's caucus, we turn to our chief election bureau head.

"Thanks for having me. The key thing to know about turnout is that when turnout is high, more people are voting. This is critical for all the candidates, because it means that to win, they need a greater number of raw votes than if turnout is low. So in order to increase their percentages, it becomes more difficult for every candidate, regardless of how popular he is. Candidates hurt by high turnout are the ones who don't have that many people supporting them. Candidates helped by high turnout are the ones who have a lot of supporters. It's a very complicated situation. But it's something you really have to keep in mind when analyzing tonight's results.

"Thanks to our chief election bureau head for that. When we come back from this commercial break, we'll take a look at the crucial undecided voters and wonder whether they will ever decide. Also we'll talk with our senior Democratic analyst on the ground at Dean headquarters and our senior news correspondent standing with a random group of screaming girls. Stay tuned to your news leader for comprehensive election coverage here in Caucus '04: Iowa Strikes First!"