Last Night’s Democratic Caucus Was The Closest In History–And That Matters

Who won the Democratic Iowa Caucus last night? Hillary Clinton did. But only by a very, very small margin. So marginal, in fact, that it was practically a tie. Clinton received 49.86% of the vote, and 22 delegates, while Sanders received 49.57% of the vote and 21 delegates.

In three precincts, the race was so close that they resorted to flipping a coin–which, as odd as it may seem, is the way things are decided in the event of a tie. Clinton won all three coin tosses.

This is quite surprising in light of the fact that narrative pervading the campaigns since the beginning has been the whole “I like Bernie, but it’s not like he could actually win or anything” schtick. From the moment he started his campaign, the media started digging their heels in and insisting that he had no chance. Generally, rhetoric like that tends to make people far less inclined to bother coming out, or to give up and throw support to the candidate with the “best chance of winning.” That’s not what happened here, and that’s actually pretty important.

The thing is, this very close caucus may have the effect of the media cooling on that narrative, which may help Sanders in the long run.

Granted–while Sanders has a very strong chance of winning majority white New Hampshire, his biggest challenge is going to be in the Southern states, where Clinton has a lot of strong support from people of color. That’s going to be a lot for him to overcome, given the fact that many POC don’t feel he is as strong on issues of systemic racism as he needs to be in order to be the “radical” candidate, and feel that his plans for economic justice would primarily benefit white people. Not to mention the fact that the unfortunate “BernieBros” have taken to harassing people on social media–which, for the love of god, has not been helpful at all, for any reason.

If Sanders can rally his butt off and manage to reel in some of the Clinton voters, as well as the undecided, this could continue to be a very close race. Moreover, even if Clinton is the eventual nominee, she’s going to have to consider the fact that things like single payer, free college and a living wage are not so much “pie in the sky” things that only “idealists” dream of as they are things that many of her constituents feel are absolutely necessary for this country to keep up with the rest of the world and take care of it’s citizens. Which would be pretty awesome.

Again, while I prefer Bernie, I am 100% fine with either him or Clinton. As much as I care about a lot of issues, I’ve got my eyes on the prize and the most important thing here is not allowing the GOP to pick the next Supreme Court Justice.

[ThinkProgress]