This morning, as the country awoke to the news that the results of the Iowa caucuses are still not in, I started thinking of that old adage, if a tree falls in a forest...
Well, if a caucus is held and no results are reported in timely way, did the caucus really happen?
Now add to that no results being reported on the night of the caucuses (and not yet the morning after either) as well as a very large, divided field with no dominant player. The result is the perfect storm of how little value Iowa now signals in the race ahead. Instead, that job will now be left to New Hampshire.
I would say, though, what the entrance polls in Iowa, and polling done in states yet to vote telling us is that there is no candidate who has captured the hearts and minds of the Democratic Party. Each candidate has liabilities and assets, but no one candidate as of yet has managed to put together any sort of majority coalition or been inspirational enough in a way to bring the party together. There is still plenty of time left for this to happen, but it looks like many Democratic voters are still in search of that candidate.
What also seems clear in the aftermath of Iowa is that the likelihood that no one Democratic candidate will have the requisite number of votes to win a first ballot victory at the convention in Milwaukee in July is extremely high. At this point, with no momentum in Iowa, a divided field and no consensus candidate, a first ballot victory may be impossible.
Finally, for the Democrats, Iowa has often been a pretty good predictor of what is ahead and who is the likely nominee. And since there is no winner as of yet, I’m left wondering if Iowa is a harbinger of things to come, not in the chaos that ensued, but in the possibility that we won’t know who the nominee is all the way up through the convention.
It's going to be a fascinating year ahead.
Matthew Dowd is the chief political analyst for ABC News. Opinions expressed in this column do not necessarily reflect the views of ABC News.