The Ebb and Flow of the Road to the Nomination

In both the Democratic and GOP races, no one can predict the twists and turns.

— -- The brilliant author Joseph Campbell once said, "You must give up the life you planned in order to have the life that is waiting for you. If the path before you is clear, you're probably on someone else's." This is as true in our politics as it is in our personal lives.

As we approach the vote in the New Hampshire presidential primary tomorrow, we can understand what Campbell is revealing before us in this campaign. We can also see some myths that again have taken hold in the nomination race.

Ted Cruz had planned for a win in evangelically-dominated Iowa that would clearly propel him forward into a strong showing in NH. He and his team did not plan on getting zero momentum from an Iowa caucus win. They also thought it was clear that a wounded Trump would fall off from a loss and not be able to recover. Ahead for them now is an unclear path ahead without a definitive state to win in the coming days.

Many of the media have had to recalibrate numerous times in this race what they thought would likely happen. Most thought Trump would not survive the summer, then as the Iowa caucuses loomed, they planned for his victory there. As they analyzed Trump's loss in Iowa, they speculated that once Trump lost then he would never be able to recover. Now facing a very probable big Trump victory in NH, they again are going to have to peel away more diligently where the story of this election is headed.

One way the media and many campaign operatives have not served the public is repeating an embedded myth that the results in Iowa always change the results of the New Hampshire primary. The media constantly talks about the volatility of the electorate, and the voters don't always respond according to this media plan.

In both the Democratic and GOP races, no one can predict the twists and turns that will emerge. Will a victory for Trump propel him forward with dominance? Will a Sanders victory reset the national race and give him a legitimate shot at winning states many say he can't conquer? Will a new runner-up on the GOP side emerge and how will this change the dynamic? Who will stumble next?

Like life, none of us truly know the answers to those and other questions. In my own life, it was the stumbles, the mistakes and the losses that opened up for me the life that was meant for me, not the one I had planned. Campaigns and the media love to make concrete plans about what is ahead, but maybe we should listen to Campbell and give up on the life (or campaign) we planned and be prepared to accept the life (or campaign) that is waiting for us.

There you have it.

Matthew Dowd is an ABC News analyst and special correspondent. Opinions expressed in this column do not necessarily reflect the views of ABC News.