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Des Moines Register endorses Elizabeth Warren for Iowa caucuses

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The Des Moines Register, Iowa’s largest and most influential newspaper, unveiled its endorsement of Sen. Elizabeth Warren ahead of the state’s caucus on February 3.

The Register said that its five-person editorial board interviewed nine current Democratic candidates for consideration to receive the paper’s endorsement for the caucuses.  

In the endorsement, the Register said many of Warren’s bold ideas to bring structural change to the American economy, including establishing universal healthcare and childcare and reducing the power of large corporations, “are not radical. they are right. They would improve life in America, and they are generally shared by the other Democratic candidates.”

The board argued: “We need a president who understands that the American dream itself is at risk: the ideal that someone who works hard and plays by the rules can get ahead, and that their children will do even better. With Warren, the Oval Office will be occupied by someone who has made rebuilding the middle class her life’s work.”

Historically, Iowa has played a significant role in the primary by virtue of being the state going first in the process, despite holding just 1% of the total pledged delegates which will be allocated throughout the Democratic primary cycle.

The editorial board previously emphasized that its main goal was to “illuminate” the candidates’ “strengths and weaknesses,” not “dictating to Iowans how they should vote” or “aiming to predict the outcome.”

The Register’s endorsement has not been a historically accurate predictor of the Iowa caucus winner or Democratic nominee. As Politico correspondent Ryan Lizza pointed out on Sunday, only one of the last six Democratic candidates the Register’s editorial board endorsed between 1988 and 2016 went on to win the state’s caucuses. 

For weeks, Real Clear Politics‘ and FiveThirtyEight’s polling averages have shown the top four candidates, Vice President Joe Biden, Sanders, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, and former Mayor Pete Buttigieg closely bunched together with no obvious frontrunner going into the caucuses.

While Warren’s poll numbers in Iowa have consistently declined over the past few months, she has recently polled within the margin of the error of leading candidates and is cited in many surveys as caucusgoers’ top second choice, including in a New York Times/Siena College survey of Iowa released on Saturday.

For some candidates, like President Barack Obama in 2008, either outright winning or being perceived as the Iowa winner has been a make-or-break development for their candidacies. But given the tiny slice of delegates Iowa holds, it’s not a must-win state to secure the nomination

This is especially true for candidates like Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders, who already hold significant support in delegate-rich parts of the country that vote later in the primary process, like the South. 

The results of the Iowa caucuses will likely be more important for candidates like Warren, Buttigieg, and Amy Klobuchar who are going all-in on Iowa and are relying on a strong performance in the state to fuel their campaigns forward.

The Des Moines Register endorsement is the second major newspaper nod Warren has received in the past week. Last week, she was co-endorsed by The New York Times editorial board along with Sen. Amy Klobuchar. Klobuchar was also endorsed by another major Iowa newspaper, the Quad-City Times. 

Despite the media attention, Klobuchar’s poll numbers in Iowa and nationally are still in the mid-single-digits as she continues to trail the four leading candidates, putting her in a dubious position as the caucuses loom. 

Read more:

Recent polls indicate Bernie Sanders has a narrow lead going into the Iowa caucuses, but the contest is still largely up for grabs

Bernie Sanders said ‘on a good day, my wife likes me’ in response to Hillary Clinton’s statement that ‘nobody likes him’

Here’s how Democrats will elect their presidential nominee over the next several months

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