The Democratic Iowa caucuses debacle that dragged from Monday deep into Tuesday was a “spectacular failure” that has thwarted momentum for the party’s candidates and boosted President Trump, pundits tell the Herald.
The fiasco has raised the stakes even higher next week in New Hampshire, where presidential hopefuls on Tuesday spread out across the Granite State — spinning Monday’s technological disaster and partial results.
“It’s sort of the political equivalent of the Hindenburg disaster,” said Ross Baker, a political science professor at Rutgers University. “Just a spectacular failure.”
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The Iowa caucus results from just 62% of precincts in the state that were finally released late Tuesday — delayed by massive technological glitches — showed former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg with a narrow lead over Vermont U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders. Buttigieg had 26.9% compared to Sanders with 25.1%.
Massachusetts U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren trailed in third place with 18.3%, followed by former Vice President Joe Biden with 15.6%. Minnesota U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar was in fifth place with 12.6%.
As of 5:30 AM, Wednesday – With about 71 percent of results from all 99 of Iowa’s counties now released, former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., are still at the front of the pack, with about 27 percent and 25 percent, respectively, according to the partial results.- ABC News
After the Democrats’ embarrassing Monday night without results, Trump tweeted, “The Democrat Caucus is an unmitigated disaster. Nothing works, just like they ran the Country. Remember the 5 Billion Dollar Obamacare Website, that should have cost 2% of that. The only person that can claim a very big victory in Iowa last night is ‘Trump’. ”
Following the release of partial results on Tuesday, Buttigieg at a town hall in Laconia, N.H., called it an “astonishing victory” for his campaign, noting his lack of name recognition and money one year ago.
“This validates the idea that we can have a message, the same message: connect in urban, in rural, in 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 said.
Sanders touted the most votes in the first and second rounds in Iowa.
“For some reason in Iowa, they’re having a little bit of trouble counting votes, but I am confident that here in New Hampshire I know you’ll be able to count your votes on election night,” Sanders said.
Warren called the caucuses a “bumpy start” to the 2020 contest, but said she’s “feeling good.”
Biden also said he was “feeling good” and predicted the results would be close.
But voters and pundits agreed Monday was a Democratic disaster, and said it seriously damages Iowa’s influence on the race.
The Iowa Democratic Party has contaminated the party nationally, Rutgers professor Baker said, citing Trump’s tweets.
“The president quickly seized on that, making the point that you turn the government over to the Democrats and this is the thing that will happen,” Baker said.
Republican strategist Ford O’Connell said Trump couldn’t have scripted Iowa any better.
“This was one of the most important days outside of Super Tuesday to give candidates a boost, and this ends up being a big victory for Trump,” he said. “The chaos, the infighting, the confusion — it’s a disaster for the Democrats.”
Herald wire services were used in this report.
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