As usual, Aimee Terese and Benjamin Studebaker at What's Left? are among the few with any audience whatsoever who are looking at things objectively. Here's their episode on Iowa, which extends into the broader issues that are limiting Bernie's appeal this time around vs. 2016:
With two of the early states already done, intense focus is now shifting to the remaining early ones, Nevada and South Carolina. But rather than jump on this media circus, let's zoom out and look at one of Bernie's biggest obstacles coming up -- Florida. It's the 3rd biggest state by population, and will deliver almost as many delegates as Texas (219 and 228).
Last time he got killed there with only 34% of the vote, lost every Congressional district, and won only a handful of unpopulated counties. But this time he may do so poorly that he winds up getting nothing at all out of the gigantic delegate pool at stake.
Among the Florida polls at RCP, two are recent with a large sample size (in the thousands), polling "likely" rather than merely "registered" voters. Bernie is polling just 10% statewide, which would prevent him from winning any state-level delegates (he'd need 15%). And given his loss in every Congressional district and poor county performance last time, it's hard to believe that there will be at least one district where he'll outperform and get 15% at the district level. It may sound like 5 points isn't much, but that would be a 50% increase over his statewide average. Nor are there any hippie college towns where he cleaned up last time.
The only two candidates who look eligible for delegates are the two Establishment favorites -- Biden and Bloomberg, each with just over a quarter of the vote. The others are, like Bernie, around 10% or less. Buttigieg is at 11%, and could enjoy some last minute support from undecideds in order to clear 15% in at least one district and perhaps statewide. Whereas you're mostly already for Bernie or not. In one of the states most hostile to populism, it's hard to believe there will be a last-minute surge in favor of the increasingly woke socialist.
Whether Bernie gets literally 0, or lucks out and wins a handful of delegates, is not the point. It's a sign of his broader cratering from his 2016 peak -- and unlike in New Hampshire, this time attached to a far larger magnitude. He's lost not only some support to Warren, but presumably to either Biden or Bloomberg.
If Bernie got about 35% in 2016, lucks out and gets 15% this time, that leaves 20 points worth of defectors, or anti-Bernie newcomers. Lyin' Liz, the usual source of poaching his support, is only at 5-10% in Florida. That would still leave 15-20 points who switched from Bernie, or are newcomers, to a more centrist / moderate / Establishment candidate.
From polling so far, it looks like the only place where his campaign's gambit to go all-in on wokeness and diversity will pay off is among heavily Hispanic areas in the Southwest, which does include large states like Texas and California that he lost last time. It's not a Hispanic gain in general, or else he wouldn't be getting wiped out in Florida.
It remains to be seen whether his gains in California and Texas can balance out the coming destruction in Florida. And for those who don't remember 2016, he lost the primary by 12 points -- to win the nom this time, he has to vastly improve over last time. To vastly improve among the large states, he'd practically have to win the whole enchilada in California and Texas, since he's coming up empty-handed in Florida.
And though it's early, I'm sensing a major weakness in the Eastern states. In the rural Midwest (Iowa), Bernie repeated his 2016 performance (narrowly losing what amounts to a tie), with no real change in turnout. And if anything, he seems to be improving over 2016, or at least staying the same, in the West Coast and Plains states.
But in New Hampshire, there was a gigantic surge of new primary voters who were not populists motivated by Bernie, but MSNBC-addled status quo defenders. Not to mention his losses to Lyin' Liz. Beyond the sheer drop in support from 60% to 25%, he did not remain decisively above 2nd place, winding up only 1.3 points above Buttigieg. A decisive win, given his 25% share, would have been for 2nd place to have 15% or less, not right behind him.
His utter collapse of support in Florida fits into that Eastern pattern, but does not conform to a Southern, Hispanic, or Sun Belt pattern (contradicted by CA and TX).
Aside from South Carolina, where the campaign has been investing heavily solely for early state narrative value, Bernie doesn't look too good in the other Southeastern states, polling 10-20% in states where he lost last time but at least picked up 30-some percent of the vote. That, too, points to an Eastern pattern, since he is improving in the Southwest (including Texas).
If you look at the Congressional districts that flipped in 2018 to narrowly give Dems the House, they were all yuppie districts, but they were concentrated along the Eastern states, both Northeastern and Southeastern. This was not a populist surge, but a status quo clampdown akin to the Know-Nothing movement of the 1850s, only this time blaming Russia rather than the Pope for foreign interference.
The result in New Hampshire is ominous, portending an echo of the 2018 mid-terms, at least in the parts of the country where it was originally resonant -- the Establishment center back East, whether in its Northern or Southern form (the 13 original colonies, and thereabouts). Sadly for Bernie, that includes one of the biggest states -- New York -- as well as other large ones like Pennsylvania and New Jersey. He lost those all last time, but may lose even worse this time, due to the MSNBCIA outpouring.
Farther away from the power center of the nation, these hysterics don't resonant as strongly. Despite having 25 Congressional targets in Texas, including many yuppie ones, the Dems only managed to flip 1 from the GOP in 2018. Russiagate, Muellergate, Impeachmentgate, etc., must not play very well down there. They're too far away from the center of power to feel like it seriously matters which faction of the DC Deep State is being elevated or demoted at any given moment.
That seems to extend all the way out to California, although there are pockets of Resistards there too -- and yet, far less of a presence than in their bi-coastal counterparts along the East Coast. And evidently not so much in the Pacific Northwest or Hawaii (good ol' Tulsi).
Something to keep your eye on. It's extremely dangerous for his campaign to see an MSNBCIA revolt even in New Hampshire, where they are relatively less reflexively pro-Establishment. By transitivity, the other states along the Bos-Wash power corridor will show even greater declines from 2016 for Bernie as