Hoo-boy, that was close. Iowa’s Democratic precinct caucuses last night (I couldn’t give a rat’s ass what happened on the Republican side. Those people are just crazy. We’re going to have to deal with one of them eventually, but it doesn’t make a great deal of difference which one.) were close like Florida, 2000; close like Hayes-Tilden in 1876, Jefferson -Burr in 1800, or Bernie Sanders first election as mayor.
Close elections do happen. But the difference between Clinton and Sanders was like .3%. Not 3%. .3% But that percentage is not what counts. What counts is the number of delegates selected, and that process has just begun.
Iowa will send 44 delegates to the national convention. Those delegates will be selected at a state convention, delegates to the state convention will be chosen at county conventions (99 of them), and delegates to the county conventions were chosen last night. Clinton got 701 of them, Sanders got 697, and O’Malley got 8, but since he’s dropped out of the race his delegates can vote how they like at the county conventions. So, Sanders could still technically finish ahead, although it’s almost certain that the final delegate slate will be split 22-22.
Now, here’s the strange part: 6 of those delegate slots were decided last night by a coin toss, and Hillary won every single toss. It could happen, I suppose, but it is a seriously bizarre coincidence. The odds are way against it. So, many Sanders people are claiming fraud. Sanders is not. No way to prove it, it’s a fight we don’t need.
But why? Why would she risk the charge (even if it’s just from camp Sanders) of vote tampering, when it’s not likely to affect the final delegate count anyway.
Symbolism. Hillary really couldn’t afford to lose Iowa, and she needed at least a tie to allow her to declare a win, which she did, loudly and enthusiastically, and the press played along.
At any rate, we now know we are in for a long, brutal and crooked fight; one we might need to win by an overwhelming margin in order to win at all.