When the Iowa caucus results trickle in Tuesday night, the usual rules of mathematics may be suspended.
In normal elections, the candidate who garners the most votes is the undisputed winner. But the caucuses are anything but normal.
Instead, the raw totals will be put through a Cuisinart of spin and obfuscation as the campaigns, the operatives, and the pundits try to whip up their desired electoral concoction.
All this unfolds against the backdrop of an expectations game that isn’t unlike the Wall Street casino, where beating the analysts’ consensus each quarter is more important than earnings per share.
Take Mitt Romney, surely the most maligned front-runner of modern times. The former governor spent the year fostering the notion that he wasn’t really playing in Iowa, where he got trounced in 2008, but had to abandon that charade when Newt Gingrich started coming on strong. That’s why Romney spent New Year’s weekend racing through the cornfields.