Update: The AP has called the Iowa caucuses for Hillary.
At 9:34 this morning, the Associated Press warned us all not to call the Iowa Democratic Caucuses just yet. Although the Clinton campaign declared victory last night, the tally currently stands at 49.9% Clinton, 49.6% Sanders, and 0.6% Martin O’Malley. O’Malley withdrew from the race,1 and what the Iowa Democratic Party does with his delegates could change the winner. So, too, could the missing results from 90 precincts. But probably Hillary won what Bernie Sanders has called “a virtual tie.” She said she did, and the normally sensible New York Times agrees. Nate Cohn has declared that the deadlock was “better for Clinton than Sanders.” Obviously, it’s a huge victory for the once-presumptive nominee to finish in a dead heat with a self-professed socialist who pundits agreed was unelectable. In other news, Iowa Republicans decided they would rather swallow a scorpion than a snake.
So what does it all mean? Obviously, Sanders looks a lot more plausible than he did when he announced his candidacy. Desptite Cohn’s assertion that he embarrassed himself by kind of losing in a state tailored to his strengths, last night’s result exceeded almost anything his supporters could have hoped for. Hillary is now
one delegate two delegates ahead. Bernie stands a decent chance of picking up those delegates in New Hampshire. It’s possible the Democratic race will go into South Carolina and Nevada a tie, and Bernie Sanders is like the boogeyman. The more you believe in him, the more likely he really is under the bed.
Another creature who scares children, Ted Cruz, struck a blow last night for knowing what you are doing. Donald Trump went into Iowa with a 98-point lead in Twitter polls, but Cruz had people on the ground. Half the Republicans in Iowa are evangelical Christians,2 and Cruz’s superior piety helped him. But his superior ground game surely made the difference. Last night’s Republican result reminds us that there is no such thing as a national primary, and leading in the polls does not guarantee Trump any delegates at the national convention.
Perhaps Cruz’s enemies will outweigh Trump’s boorishness among the Republican faithful, and we’ll still see Combat! blog’s dream matchup in the general: Trump versus Sanders. But for now, the aura of invincibility seems noticeably dimmed. I mean, is this the blowhard Americans fell in love with?
I don’t believe I have been given any credit by the voters for self-funding my campaign, the only one. I will keep doing, but not worth it!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 2, 2016