In 2012, Iowa demonstrated that Donald Trump’s presidential campaign was more than a cable-TV creation and helped Trump on his way to becoming the first reality-TV president in history.
In 2020, Iowa has so far denied us any clear and obvious lessons. Apart, perhaps, from the fact that it’s time for Iowa to lose its spot at the front of the line in presidential elections.
Nearly 24 hours after the caucus took place and well after the final results were expected, the Iowa Democratic Party released partial but verified results from its first-in-the-nation caucus. The figures accounted for roughly 62 percent of precincts reporting — a woefully incomplete picture of the full caucus outcome.
Here’s where the result stands at this point (and remember, this could change): Mayor Pete Buttigieg would win 26.9 percent of the state delegates, while Sen. Bernie Sanders narrowly trails with 25.1 percent. Senator Elizabeth Warren is in third place with 18.3 percent of potential state delegates. Former Vice President Joe Biden is a distant fourth with 15.6 percent.
The results are disappointment for Biden, who leads in many national election polls and had hoped for a stronger finish in Iowa. Biden trails in state-level polls in New Hampshire and Nevada, the next two elections in the Democratic nomination gauntlet. His loyal support among older black voters has given him a dominant lead in state polls of South Carolina, but without strong performances in the next two races, the former vice president could find himself headed into South Carolina on the brink of collapse.
Again, it’s vital to note that the numbers released by the Iowa Democratic Party on Tuesday evening were not a final tally and remained an incomplete picture of the full turnout across Iowa’s 99 counties. Troy Price, the state party chairman, did not immediately say when the rest of the results would be announced.
In terms of turnout, Democrats have good reason to worry. The statistics coming out of Iowa suggest a modest level of turnout on Monday — on par with the 2016 Democratic caucus but well below the record turnout seen in the 2008 race between Obama and Hillary Clinton.
For now, the Democratic primary is effectively a three-way tie between Sanders, Warren, and Buttigieg. That doesn’t mean it’ll stay that way. On the back of multiple prominent editorial board endorsements, Amy Klobuchar is hoping to edge her way into the top tier. And Andrew Yang, the grassroots outsider who defied so many of his doubters, will hope that his considerable on-the-ground operation in New Hampshire will keep his campaign alive through the first four states.