Out of all the components involved in whether a political campaign wins or loses, one that may not immediately spring to mind is the weather.
But trust me, as a veteran of myriad campaigns at various levels, many of which I ran, I have won my share of races I should have lost and lost a couple I should have won…all because of weather. Just like it was the deciding factor on the decision to launch D-Day and save Europe (Ike gambled and won), the elements play a bigtime role on Election Days. That’s why all smart campaigns have a SWO, a staff weather officer in charge of E-Day weather analysis and preparation for different GOTV (Get Out The Vote) and polling place weather circumstances.
The basic logic is this: Bad weather favors the GOP and good weather the Dems, as GOP voters are (given they are more likely get to the polls in private vehicles) not terribly impeded by rain, snow, etc. Whereas some Dems use public transportation or walk to the polls in urban centers and thus may not take well to meteorological obstacles.
In GOP campaigns we used to say, “We pray for a blizzard. We’ll settle for a sh**load of rain.” Now while this varies race to race and area to area, the general rule is reliable. But you can also break it down further in the demographic sense.
Younger voters, especially voters in college, tend to turn over and go back to sleep, or stay at home and occupy themselves in other ways, rather than venture out to vote in inclement weather.
And if you are a candidacy that relies on the votes of young socialist, thus dumb, lazy, and gullible voters and volunteers, you could be in trouble. Which brings us to an almanac.
The Farmers’ Almanac, a noted weather wizzo since 1818, said yesterday that the upcoming winter will be so wild and severe it could be termed a “polar coaster.” It predicts, “bitterly cold winter conditions” and above normal snow for an area “east of the Rockies all the way to the Appalachians” and the big cities of the Northeast. “Only the western third of the country will see near normal winter temperatures,” they prognosticate. The worst time of it? The end of January into February. When are the Iowa Caucuses? February 3rd. The New Hampshire Primary? About a week later on February 11th.
So that could mean, will mean I bet, that those Toddlers for Bernie out to impress their sociology profs will pack it in and play video games, stare at the Everest-like pile of dirty dishes in their dorm sink, and/or make pathetic attempts to cage more money from their parents rather than show up for Sanders in those first two contests. With Warren from next door in Massachusetts and Biden holding the center flank, Bernie could come in second, maybe third, in IA and NH.
If he takes weak thirds he’s crippled and it’s 2016 all over again for him. That could give Warren her opening to clinch the thing, as all those Bolshies without a viable political home will go shopping. But if Booker or Buttigieg (or another potential also ran) go really even harder left, there may be an avenue for them to make their plays as well to pick up the Bernie voters thinking of jumping off his Soviet trawler.
Not gonna happen, but an interesting scenario? Perhaps.
However, when you have 5,000 ships all set to go and 156,000 troops ready to storm a beach to take a serious whack at the bad guys, all the guts, material, and planning can count for less than a weather situation that may or may not let you launch ops in the first place.
Don’t believe me? Ask Ike.