The uncertainty surrounding the outcome of the Democratic Party’s first 2020 presidential nominating contest has stretched into Tuesday, with no winner yet declared in the Iowa caucuses due to a technical glitch.
Those problems – which the Iowa Democratic Party blamed on a “coding issue in the reporting system” – were seized upon by US President Donald Trump, a Republican, who took to Twitter to unload on the rival party.
Monday’s Democratic caucuses were “an unmitigated disaster,” said Trump, who also referred to his predictable landslide victory in the Republican caucuses in Iowa that same evening. “Nothing works, just like they ran the Country … The only person that can claim a very big victory in Iowa last night is ‘Trump.'”
The Democrat Party in Iowa really messed up, but the Republican Party did not. I had the largest re-election vote in the history of that great state, by far, beating President Obama’s previous record by a lot. Also, 97% Plus of the vote! Thank you Iowa!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 4, 2020
It is still unclear when the winner of the Democratic caucuses will be announced, with the communications director for the Iowa Democratic Party, Mandy McClure, saying only that results are expected sometime on Tuesday.
“We found inconsistencies in the reporting of three sets of results,” McClure said in a statement on Monday night. “In addition to the tech systems being used to tabulate results, we are also using photos of results and a paper trail to validate that all results match and ensure that we have confidence and accuracy in the numbers we report,”
McClure added that there were no concerns about a cyber-attack.
“This is simply a reporting issue. The app did not go down, and this is not a hack or an intrusion. The underlying data and paper trail is sound and (it) will simply take time to further report the results.”
Results for the Iowa Democratic caucuses had initially been expected at around 10 pm Monday night.
News reports have indicated that many precinct chairs experienced difficulties in using a new mobile app to report the results at their caucus sites, although there has been no official confirmation.
The Democratic candidates reacted in different ways to the vote-count uncertainty.
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who led the polls coming into Monday’s contest, released “internal data” that showed him leading with 29.66 percent of the vote based on results from 40 percent of caucus sites, followed by the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, Pete Buttigieg, with 24.59 percent; Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren with 21.24 percent; and former US Vice President Joe Biden with just 12.37 percent.
But the moderate Buttigieg said he rather than Sanders, a self-proclaimed democratic socialist, had come out on top.
"The moment we've been waiting for":
The country awaited the first results of the 2020 Election, but Iowa Caucus results were delayed until the next day creating a complete "meltdown." pic.twitter.com/9L2QqF5yxU
— The Beat with Ari Melber on MSNBC (@TheBeatWithAri) February 5, 2020
“We know, by the time it’s all said and done, Iowa, you have shocked the nation,” Buttigieg told a crowd of supporters at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa.
“Incredible night, incredible result, and such phenomenal energy here. We are headed to New Hampshire victorious,” he said without providing specifics, referring to the Democrats’ next nominating contest on Feb. 11.
Biden’s campaign, however, sent a letter to the Iowa Democratic Party demanding to see the results before they are made official.
“We believe that the campaigns deserve full explanations and relevant information regarding the methods of quality control you are employing (in the vote tally), and an opportunity to respond, before any official results are released,” the letter said.
The Iowa caucuses are a unique voting process in which people – instead of casting a secret ballot and going home, as they will in the first primary in New Hampshire and most other states – gather at school gymnasiums, public libraries and other sites and have the chance to interact with other voters and persuade them to back their favored candidate.
At the hundreds of caucus sites, people “vote with their feet” by standing in a section of the room set aside for their candidate. But if their first choice has very little support, they may be persuaded to back someone else in a second, or final, alignment.
The official winner of the Iowa caucuses will be the candidate who garners the most state delegates, which candidates accrue via a complicated process that is initially based on the “final alignment” results in each precinct. But in a change this year, touted as a means of ensuring greater transparency, the Iowa Democratic Party also will report the results of the first and final alignment processes.
Iowa will award just 41 pledged delegates (allocated proportionately) to the July 13-16 Democratic National Convention, a small fraction of the 1,990 delegates needed to win the Democratic nomination.
But as the first nominating contest of the US presidential primary season the Iowa caucuses can provide significant momentum to the winner.
The Democratic presidential nominee will face off against Trump in November. EFE
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