Bernie Sanders won more votes than any other candidate in Monday night’s Iowa caucuses, while Joe Biden failed to meet expectations, but the media have missed the story.
While the media could be forgiven for focusing on the chaos and confusion on Tuesday morning, by evening, it was clear that Bernie Sanders had come out on top of a crowded field, winning 26.2 percent of the vote on the final alignment, with results from 72 percent of precincts.
It is true that Pete Buttigieg may end up finishing with a few dozen more state delegate equivalents than Sanders. The way antiquated way in which Iowa assigns delegates explains this result and the two candidates will likely wind up with the same number of delegates to the national convention.
But winning in Iowa has never been about piling up delegates. And with the Iowa Democratic Party publishing the first and final alignment vote totals for the first time, why wouldn’t you be looking to those numbers to see which candidates performed best overall in the state? That is how you determine the winner in just about every other state.
Joe Biden seems to have escaped Iowa unscathed, despite finishing abysmally in fourth place, with just 13.2 percent of the total vote. That is an exceptionally poor showing for the candidate considered to be the frontrunner for the entire year leading into the contest.
Unfortunately for Sanders, the debacle surrounding the reporting of caucus results and with the narrative crafted by the campaigns amidst the confusion, has denied the Vermont Senator the favourable coverage that typically comes from a strong showing in the state.
It is hard to ignore the fact very winner of the Iowa caucus since Al Gore in 2000 has gone on to win the party’s nomination, and eight out of 10 overall.
Sanders supporters have every right to be upset at how the Iowa caucuses have played out, but we must now look to New Hampshire, a state where Sanders defeated Hillary Clinton by 22 points in 2016.
If Sanders pulls off an undeniably strong victory in the Granite State next week, it will be difficult for the media to ignore the momentum on his side.