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Leonid Bershidsky

Trump, Clinton, Bombast and Ennui Surge in Iowa

The last poll shows a statistical photo finish, but there's more to the story.
Democracy in action.

Democracy in action.

Photographer: Scott Olson/Getty Images

With candidates in both parties racing toward photo finishes in Monday’s Iowa caucuses, the issues have receded from view. Instead, the final push is a contest of raw emotion, war, sports, animal magnetism and last-minute gimmicks. I've seen election campaigns up close in Russia, Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia and other European countries, but I've never seen one get so personal.

I wouldn't go so far as to predict the outcome, but the last pre-caucus poll, commissioned by the Des Moines Register and Bloomberg, meshes with my impressions.