As the Iowa caucuses drew to a close, it saw an upset victory for Republican Senator Ted Cruz over front-runner Donald Trump, while a virtual tie between Hillary Clinton and rival Bernie Sanders.
This is very much an interesting development, as Presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders was able to catch up with Clinton in Iowa despite polls showing him at least 40 points behind some few months ago.
Four in 10 caucus-goers voted for the first time, a segment that overwhelmingly favoured Sanders. More than one in four Democratic voters listed income inequality as the election’s top issue. Some Democratic caucus sites decided their winner with a coin toss. In all six situations, Clinton won.
However, it has been generally agreed that Bernie Sanders has won – in terms of how far his underdog journey has taken him to, and the man himself could not hold back his excitement.
“We went up against the most powerful political organization in the United States of America,” he said, before declaring the race a virtual tie. “I think the people of Iowa have sent a very profound message to the political establishment, to the economic establishment, and by the way, to the media establishment,” he said, drawing thunderous applause.
Clinton may need to to wait until late February for a realistic chance to put a solid win in her column. Sanders holds a strong lead in New Hampshire, the next state to vote on February 9. Nevada holds its Democratic caucuses on February 20 and the South Carolina Democratic primary is a week later. Clinton could fare better with those more diverse electorates — the Iowa results showcased a Democratic Party with stark demographic fissures along class, race, age and ideological lines.
TRUMP NO LONGER INFALLIBLE:
While there is no clear cut winner, there is one clear loser in Iowa – Donald Trump. The media mogul has arrived second in Iowa, some 5 percentage points behind rival Ted Cruz and running close to the 2nd Runner up, Marco Rubio, who was only slightly more than 1 percentage point away.
While the man himself remained humbled with a low key address to the crowd after the polls came in, this upset has exposed the fact that Trump is no longer the automatic candidate, and will likely impact the way Trump handles himself moving forward in New Hampshire, where he is leading by a wide margin.
Apart from Cruz’s surprise win, the main highlight was how close Marco Rubio came, after being 3rd in the running right behind Trump.It has now been said that Marco Rubio is the party’s “establishment” candidate. It has also been argued, that with the likes of John Kasich, Chris Christie and Jeb Bush that remain in the running, that this could impede Cruz’s running for the Presidency.
WHAT WE CAN CONCLUDE FROM THIS:
While much has not changed since the release of national polls, with Trump still very much the Republican frontrunner and Hilary Clinton still poised to pip her rival to the nomination, the caucus has showed that neither Trump nor Clinton have the clear advantage that they once commanded, and both need to recognise their vulnerability and be aware that their campaign run could be derailed should they not keep up in the following caucuses that are to come. In the Democratic Camp, this has happened many times. Barack Obama won Iowa in 2008, and he suddenly shot up to become competitive with Hillary Clinton in national polls. John Kerry came out of nowhere to win Iowa in 2004, and the presumed leader, Howard Dean, collapsed with astonishing speed.
Summarised from Vox, CNN, US News