2020 Democratic Primaries: The Iowa Caucus Fiasco
Nobody expected what happened in Iowa in the last several days: Monday night’s Iowa caucus—the first nominating contest in the Democratic Party primaries for the 2020 presidential election—didn’t lead to any conclusive results until Tuesday night, creating confusion among candidates and voters. Everyone was waiting for the results, but the state Democratic Party said Tuesday morning it was expecting them later in the day. Eventually they arrived, but after enormous chaos and mixed signals, leading longtime political observers to declare the event a debacle.
Who Won The Iowa Caucuses?
By Thursday evening, February 6, the Iowa Democratic Party released the final results with 100% of precincts reporting: they showed Senator Bernie Sanders and former South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg head-to-head in the total vote count and statistically tied in state-delegate equivalents. “That’s fantastic news,” Buttigieg told journalists on Thursday. “First of all, I want to say, Sen. Sanders clearly had a great night too and I congratulate him and his supporters.”
The results arrived after days of delaying, with the Iowa Democratic Party in absolute disarray refusing to say what their timeline was for releasing the remainder of caucus results.
In the end, the winners read Buttigieg at 26.2% and Sanders at 26.1%, leading respectively 58 and 20 counties. Elizabeth Warren came behind with 18% followed by former Vice President Joe Biden with about 15.8% of the vote, underperforming his recent polling, and Amy Klobuchar with 12.3%.
The data did not really change the situation from that of Wednesday, when 71% of precincts showed Buttigieg at 26.8%, Sanders at 25.2%, Elizabeth Warren with 18.4%, Joe Biden with 15.5% of the vote, and Klobuchar with 12.6%.
Why Have There Been So Many Delays And Problems?
What has caused major delays in the reporting of the results? “It became clear that there were inconsistencies with the reports” the party said in a statement, adding “the underlying cause of the inconsistencies was not immediately clear, and required investigation, which took time.” The so-called “coding” problems caused by a new app used to collect the results, revealing the chaos behind the process. What happened on Monday might convince the national Democratic Party to end the caucuses and go straight to the primaries.
Trump Is The Real Winner Of The Democrats’ Iowa Confusion
The confusion for the Democrats in Iowa was an event that President Trump took full advantage of, commenting on the total failure of the contest on his Twitter account. “The Democrat Caucus is an unmitigated disaster. Nothing works, just like they ran the Country,” Trump tweeted gleefully.
Despite the inconsistencies in the reported results on Monday night, the major candidates went ahead and gave victory speeches: “Tonight showed that our path to victory it’s to fight hard for the changes that everyone is demanding,” said Elizabeth Warren. However, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders and former South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg—the candidates who touted partial results from the Iowa caucuses—seemed to be the most optimistic.
“I have a strong feeling that at some point the results will be announced,” Sanders said at his campaign headquarters in Des Moines. “And when those results are announced, I have a good feeling we’re going to be doing very, very well here in Iowa.”
Buttigieg Claims He Won Iowa
Buttigieg’s speech in Iowa was one of those made people think he won the first primary battle of the year: “So, we don’t know all the results, but we know, by the time it is all said and done, Iowa, you have shocked the nation. Because, by all indications, we are going on to New Hampshire victorious.” Despite the fiasco in Iowa, the top candidates have indeed already moved on to New Hampshire where primaries will take place on Tuesday. Even without a Democratic presidential frontrunner, before the 11 February’ primary, the candidates will have to face the eighth Democratic debate scheduled on Friday in Goffstown, New Hampshire at St. Anselm College.
“This validates the idea that we can have a message, the same message, connect in urban and rural and suburban communities, that we can reach out to Democrats, and to independents, and even to some future former Republicans, ready to bring change to this country,” Buttigieg commented following the partial results in Iowa.