Tonight's Iowa caucuses are the first battle between the new and old democratic party.
The old party is represented by the entrenched Washington insiders such as Kerry, Gephardt, the new party is represented by Dean. Clark and Edwards are in between.
The result is significant, It will decide whether democratic party wants to repeat its failed policies, failed 2000, failed 2002. The old democratic party is still in Clinton's nostagia, they still have not realized the change in American politics, If they still refuse to revolutionize itself, It may well become a permanent minority for years to come.
If for some reasons, Kerry gets the nomination, He will become Gore II without any question. The landslide defeat is a sure thing. Forget about 2008, democratic party will be so demoralized, their only hope is 2012. Kerry just can not inspire people, he really represents the past of the party.
If Dean gets the nomination, It's not to say he can defeat Bush easily, at least he's got a shot. Even if he fails, the new blood injected in the party will well prepare the democratic party to retake the country, not just the white house. Democrats will win local elections, win governorship, win senate seat etc....
The best scenario is that Dean gets the nomination, democratic party will reenergize itself, the worse scenario is Kerry wins, the compromised scenario may be a win of Edwards or Clark.
But unfortunately, history always rewards the entrenched power structure, so my prediction is that Kerry will win, and democratic party will become a permanent minority for years to come.