One of the dumbest arguments of the 2008 Democratic primary season was the extrapolation of primary results to general election results.
“Obama rolls up big margins on the Plains, he can win there in November…”
“Clinton winning the Democratic primaries in Ohio and Pennsylvania means she and only she can win the industrial Midwest”
Both sides of that argument are stupid.
And we’re seeing the same stupid on Iowa:
It seems like Clinton’s weakness among youth should be a big warning for the general that it’ll be hard to replicate Obama’s coalition.
— Joseph Weisenthal (@TheStalwart) February 2, 2016
Repeat after me, primary electorates and caucus selectorates are not random samples of the general electorate.
It is perfectly plausible in 2016 for a 23 year old Democratic activist in Iowa to have the following preference order: Sanders>Clinton>Chlamydia>Republican Nominee.
In last night’s contest the only part of the preference order that was under examination was how Sanders and Clinton related.
In November, the relevant preference order is either Sanders and Republican nominee, or far more likely Clinton and Republican nominee.
The same logic applied in 2008. In Pennsylvania, the primary preference order was usually Clinton-Obama, but the general election preference order was Obama over McCain.
The people who take part in caucuses are highly unlikely to flip parties in the general election. They are self-identified intense partisans. Trying to generalize caucus results into general election results is obtuse.