Iowans Falling in Love with Edwards (Because He’s White and Male?)

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Here are the facts. Ever since Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack dropped out of the presidential race, John Edwards has gained fifteen points in Iowa. Hillary Clinton has dropped one point, and Barack Obama, who continues to draw huge crowds in the state, has dropped seven. Edwards and Clinton have pulled into a dead heat for the lead, months in advance of the caucuses.

Here are two conclusions. One, Edwards has been campaigning in Iowa off and on since he lost the 2004 election and all of that hard work is finally paying dividends. Two, there is a portion of Iowa voters who would consciously or subconsciously prefer to support a white man, and when their favorite drops out, they’ll find another.

I’m disposed to the second explanation because, after all, why would Edwards’ years of campaigning suddenly pay off right after Vilsack drops out? (Vilsack, by the way, looks like this.) Is that too simplistic? Thoughts?

Note that the poll was conducted before Elizabeth Edwards announced the resurgence of her cancer and Tom Vilsack endorsed Hillary Clinton.

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

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It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

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We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

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Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

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