It is now almost 48 hours after the Iowa caucuses ended and we still do not have a final vote or delegate count and the media seems to have lost interest in it, since things seem to be so muddled. It is a pretty sad state of affairs.
With results from 75% of state precincts as of Wednesday afternoon, former South Bend, Indiana, mayor Pete Buttigieg has a slight lead in the percentage of state delegate equivalents, the standard that in the past has determined the caucus winner, while Sanders currently leads in the both rounds of caucus voting, including after the so-called realignment process, when voters backing candidates who don’t reach threshold of 15% support at a caucus may choose to realign with another candidate. Sanders and Buttigieg are at the moment tied in pledged delegates, the measure that ultimately decides the nominee at the Democratic National Convention.
The Iowa results so far do reflect a remarkable start to the nominating process and a personal vindication for Sanders and his brand of class-based politics. Four years after falling short in his first presidential campaign, and four months after a heart attack threatened to end his second, the 78-year-old senator appears to have won more Iowa voters than his 11 rivals.
Sanders sees his movement as squarely based in the politics of class — a mode of organizing he believes the political establishment neither understands nor is willing to embrace.
“This is unique,” Sanders told supporters on the day before the caucus. “Ain’t no other campaign doing this.”
It is odd that the Iowa state party establishment released results based on partial counts. Such a move only benefits those candidates who just happened to be doing better than expected at that stage, which in this case is Buttigieg, who immediately declared victory. If the final results show him losing, he will still have benefited from the early positive publicity.
While one tends to think that the caucus process is more likely to bring out people who are more politically active and thus more informed, this is not always the case. You may have heard about one person at the caucuses who had voted to Pete Buttigieg, only later to be shocked to discover that he was gay and was in a same-sex marriage.
Conan O’Brien says that there were other voters who were even less informed.