Donald Trump Blows Iowa Caucus
by Alexander Chen on Friday, February 12th, 2016
The Iowa Caucus, on February 1, 2015, marked the beginning of the road to the White House. As the first caucus of the presidential race, the Iowa Caucus gave Americans a peek at what to expect throughout the rest of the race. According to a Feb. 2 Associated Press article, Ted Cruz won on the Republican side and Hillary Clinton beat Bernie Sanders by margin of 70 votes on the Democratic side. Although Iowa represents less that 1% of the American population, the Iowa Caucus is an essential part of the 2016 presidential race.
What is a caucus anyway? According to CNN, there are two ways of choosing presidential candidates – primaries and caucuses. A primary is simple. The primary is what most people see as traditional voting : people cast a vote for their candidate by ballot. A caucus is quite complicated. In a caucus, members of the community meet in a public space. At the meeting, members are separated by candidate – those who support candidate X will cluster up with other X supporters, and supporters of candidate Y will cluster up with other Y supporters. After congregating, the supporters will be counted and their votes will be tallied up. For only the Democratic Party, candidates must gain at least 15% support in order to be “viable”. Candidates that are not “viable” are disqualified and supporters must choose a different candidate to support. Multiple caucuses are held in each county. The overall results of the caucus will decide the number of delegates each candidate is awarded. The candidate with the greatest number of delegates will win the nomination by each party’s national convention.
So who won the Iowa Caucus? On the Republican side, the caucus proved to be a “three-way race” between Ted Cruz, Donald Trump, and Marco Rubio, according to CNN. Associated Press reported that Ted Cruz, Donald Trump, Marco Rubio received 27.6%, 24.3%, and 23.1% respectively. All other Republican candidates failed to reach even 10% support. Before the Caucus, Real Clear Politics showed Trump, leading the polls, above Cruz and Rubio. During the caucus, Donald Trump had an unexpected low presence in the caucus – barely finishing in second.
On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders were neck-and-neck. While Sanders garnered 49.6% of the vote, Clinton won with 49.9% of the vote. O’Malley won less than 1% of the vote. The close results, provided by the Associated Press, may actually show Sanders as the true winner of the Iowa Caucus. Jonah Garnick (III) believes that the results prove that “Clinton is no longer invincible”; Sanders moved from a candidate with “a small campaign and virtually no name recognition” to one that essentially tied with Hillary Clinton. Sanders, thus far thought of as the underdog, has shown America that he should not be underestimated. While these five top candidates of the Iowa Caucus showed some success, many other candidates were unable to find the support they needed.
Following the Iowa Caucus, Mike Huckabee (R), Rick Santorum (R), Rand Paul (R), and Martin O’Malley (D) have all dropped out of the race for the time being according to Associated Press. These decisions prove just how powerful the Iowa Caucus is and just how tight this presidential race is getting. Being the first state to vote in the 2016 race to the White House, Iowa gives a snapshot of each candidate’s overall popularity.
According to US Politics, while the Iowa Caucus does not guarantee a presidential nomination, presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush both won Iowa and presidential nominations.
Though Iowa can be seen as a projection for the rest of the election, Tuesday night’s New Hampshire primary told a different story. The democratic race was much less of a nail-biter, as Bernie Sanders slid to an early victory, winning 60% of the vote, according to CNN. As projected, Donald Trump won on the republican side, winning 34 % of the vote. John Kasich secured second place with 16%. Third place came to a three-way tie of 11% between Rubio, Bush and Cruz. Shortly after, both Chris Christie and Carly Fiorina announced that they would be suspending their campaigns. The candidates next look forward to Nevada and South Carolina.
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