How do you tell who won an election? Most people would look to see who got the most votes. In the case of a Democratic primary, they could also dig into delegate counts.
In the world of punditry—with its urgent need to declare multiple “winners” and “losers”—all of this common sense goes out the window. The plain results themselves are a factor but just one among many. Finish second or even third? That might be better than coming in first!
If you watched cable news on the night of the New Hampshire primary or picked up a newspaper the following morning—or if you unhappily encountered a pundit somewhere in between—the big story was the third-place finisher, Amy Klobuchar. The next most important story: Pete Buttigieg. And trailing behind these two, the actual winner of the contest, Bernie Sanders.
After a fifth-place finish in Iowa, Klobuchar was now surging. This was “Klobmentum” or the “Klobucharge.” Looking at the results, The New York Times’ Trip Gabriel tweeted, “No. 1 story of the night: Amy Klobuchar. No. 2 story of the night (so far): Pete Buttigieg coming closer to Bernie Sanders than expected.” The paper’s Jeremy Peters also chimed in: “Pete, after winning Iowa, is almost beating Bernie in a state Bernie won four years ago by 22 points. Under any normal standard of assessing the Democratic race, Pete would be called a frontrunner.”