Hillary wins tie in Iowa; Cruz wins “would you rather”

Hillary Clinton poses with Martin O'Malley's liver. Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty

Hillary Clinton and Martin O’Malley’s liver. Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty

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, 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.

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Donald Trump withdraws from Republican debate

Donald Trump is not politically correct, so he can't believe how gay you are.

Donald Trump, who is not politically correct, suspects that you are gay.

Donald Trump’s campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, has confirmed that the wealthy meringue will boycott tomorrow night’s Republican debate in Des Moines. “He’s definitely not participating in the Fox News debate,” Lewandowski told the Washington Post. “His word is his bond.” Trump cited two reasons for his refusal. The first was that he felt he had been treated badly at the first Fox News debate by moderator and intelligent resonating crystal Megyn Kelly. The second was that someone else was making money on the deal. I quote WaPo:

“Why should the networks continue to get rich on the debates?” Trump told reporters at a news conference in Marshalltown. “Why do I have to make Fox rich?”

Just to clarify, debates among presidential candidates are not original reality programming from Fox News. Certain theories of democracy view them as a service to voters. But whoever he thinks his clients are, Trump has pulled Maneuver X.

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How against Bernie Sanders is this anti-Sanders attack ad?

Scare tactics

Scare tactics

The New York Times reports that the ESA Fund, a super PAC founded by Joe Ricketts of TD Ameritrade, has spent $600,000 to run this ad on television before the Iowa caucus. It characterizes Bernie Sanders as “too liberal for Iowa,” but is it really meant to hurt his chances? Perhaps I am too liberal for Iowa, too, but this spot makes Sanders sound pretty good. He also sounds good in this ostensibly damning quote from the president of the ESA Fund, Brian Baker:

When it comes to federal spending and piling on our massive debt, Secretary Clinton is a five-car pile-up, but Senator Sanders is a train wreck. Given that Senator Sanders is the leading candidate in Iowa and New Hampshire and way ahead in the general election polls, ESA Fund will work hard to inform voters about his record and future plans.

Oh please, Democrats—please don’t make us run against Bernie Sanders in the general. We simply could not survive that briar patch. These final remarks from Baker were not transcribed, as he hurried away from the microphone to award his own party’s nomination to a crypto-fascist whom 70% of the country loathes. Video after the jump.

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Costa articulates Carson/Trump “nightmare scenario” for GOP

Images into which dicks must be Photoshopped immediately

Images into which dicks must be Photoshopped immediately

Beware the autoplay video with sound on the other end of this link, but a new CBS News poll finds that Ben Carson has pulled even with Donald Trump in Iowa, and that Trump holds big leads in New Hampshire and South Carolina. In case a part of you still hopes, third place in Iowa and South Carolina is Ted Cruz. Those numbers are interesting, but the kicker is various other candidates’ satisfaction ratings: about half of Iowa Republicans say they would not be satisfied with Bush, Chris Christie, or Rand Paul as the eventual nominee. Of course, they feel that way about Trump, too. The GOP is fractious as a sack of wine glasses right now, and its two most ridiculous candidates are surging forward apace.

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Friday links! Slow train to Washington edition

Old smokey

Get along, old smokey.

Combat! blog continues its mad peregrinations today with a quick trip to Washington DC, where I will visit my brother and see my friend Curt in Beautiful: The Carole King Musical. I assume he plays the beautiful Carole King, and if I see anyone else in that role, I intend to boo loudly. For now, though, I ride the train. I’m like a hobo of old, eating canned beans (kale chips) and sleeping under the stars (roof of train.) Today is Friday, and the modern world is safer and more comfortable than the old one. Won’t you learn to play the harmonica (iPod) with me?

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