Live-blogging: Is Bernie Sanders about to win first-to-weigh-in Iowa?

Updated below (on Tuesday, February 2, 2016)

The Democratic winner of the Iowa caucuses appears to be … a tie (as I type this sentence at 9:30 p.m. Pacific Time).

8:43 p.m.: It’s 8:43 p.m. Pacific Time as I type this sentence, and as I type this sentence, Politico has Billary Clinton at 49.8 percent and Bernie Sanders at 49.6 percent in the Iowa caucuses, a whopping difference of 0.2 percent… This is with 93.8 percent of the reporting in.

Apparently Billary is walking away with more delegates than Bernie, but if Bernie wins the percentage war, he’ll be declared and known as the winner of Iowa, I do believe…

8:47 p.m.: Politico now has Billary at 49.9 percent and Bernie at 49.6 percent, with 93.9 percent reporting.

Martin O’Malley already has dropped out of the race; he stands at 0.5 percent in Iowa right now.

8:51 p.m.: We’re back to 49.8 percent Billary to 49.6 percent Bernie…

8:53 p.m.: Back to 49.9 percent Billary to 49.6 percent Bernie, with 94.1 percent reporting. I truly have no idea which one is going to win, but whoever wins, apparently it’s going to turn out to be almost exactly 50-50, so the bragging rights will be quite minimal, it seems to me (except that, again, Billary very apparently will get more delegates from Iowa than will Bernie).

9:00 p.m.: Ugh. This is painful. Still at 49.9 percent to 49.6 percent, with 94.3 percent reporting.

On the Repugnican Tea Party side, Ted Cruz has been declared the winner of Iowa (with about 28 percent), with Donald Trump and Marco Rubio in at second and third place (with about 24 percent and 23 percent, respectively). Cruz is a scary individual, but I recall that in 2012 Iowans picked as their No. 1 Prick Santorum, so I’m not overly spooked over Cruz yet.

That said, as I’ve noted before, Marco Rubio is the one the Dems should fear. I can’t see either Trump or Cruz winning the White House, but I can see Rubio winning it. He’s evil and insane like Cruz and Trump, but he conceals it much better than they do.

9:09 p.m.: With 95.1 percent reporting, we remain at Billary at 49.9 percent to Bernie at 49.6 percent… Again, round those up and that’s 50-50, so I see no real bragging rights for either candidate, except that, again, apparently Billary is getting at least 28 delegates from Iowa and Bernie is getting 21 of them. (I have to plead ignorance as to how the number of awarded delegates is determined. It very apparently isn’t strictly tied to the percentages, or it wouldn’t be a difference of seven delegates [thus far].)

9:19 p.m.: This is surreal. With 95.4 percent reporting, we’re back to Billary at 49.8 percent and Bernie at 49.6 percent… The way this has been trending, I expect Billary to beat Bernie by no more than 0.3 percent, if she beats him, and he still might win, it seems to me, or they’d have called it already, and they haven’t. Of course, if Bernie does win, I doubt that it will be by more than around 0.3 percent. Again: surreal.

9:30 p.m.: I just found a graphic to go with this and popped it up at top. With 95.8 percent reporting, we’re back at Billary at 49.9 percent and Bernie at 49.6 percent…

9:40 p.m.: We remain stuck at Billary 49.9 percent to Bernie 49.6 percent, with 96.5 percent reporting. I don’t expect the final difference between the two to exceed 0.5 percent.

Yet again: No bragging rights here, except that, of course, it says something about Bernie that he at least tied Queen Billary, whom conventional “wisdom” coronated a long time ago.

I mean, this is her second time around in Iowa, and the best that she could do, apparently, is a tie

And her opponent calls himself a (democratic) socialist; he hasn’t waited for the traitors on the right to slap that label on him as a pejorative. And he hasn’t been running for president (at least) since 2000, like Billary has.

9:55 p.m.: With 97.1 percent of the vote in, we’re still at 49.9 percent Billary to 49.6 percent Bernie. I don’t see Billary hitting even 50.0 percent, although she might, and it seems to me that psychologically, there is something about hitting 50.0 percent that helps a candidate, whereas 49.9 percent is seen as a bigger loss than it actually is. (This is why shit costs, say, $4.90 or $4.99 instead of $5.00…)

In any event, I’m off to bed now. Again, the final results are going to be so close that if Bernie or Billary is declared the “winner” of Iowa, it won’t mean much, as it will have been by a fraction of 1 percent, probably by no more than 0.3 percent.

I’ll update this tomorrow if necessary.

Update (Tuesday, February 2, 2016): This is sooooo typical of Billary. CNN reports:

Hillary Clinton declared victory early Tuesday morning in a razor-thin contest against Bernie Sanders in Iowa. But Democratic party officials have not yet declared a winner.

“Hillary Clinton has won the Iowa Caucus,” the Clinton campaign said. “After thorough reporting — and analysis — of results, there is no uncertainty and Secretary Clinton has clearly won the most national and state delegates.”

The state party indicated in a separate statement that it was not ready to make a call.

“The results tonight are the closest in Iowa Democratic caucus history,” Iowa party chairman Andy McGuire said. “We will report that final precinct when we have confirmed those results with the chair.”

One thing is clear after Monday night’s Iowa caucuses: there’s a long, volatile election season ahead before two deeply fractured parties can unite behind a nominee. …

Again, according to my very limited knowledge as to how Iowa awards delegates, Billary won more delegates in Iowa, but with 99.9 percent reporting, per Politico, she is at 49.9 percent to Bernie’s 49.6 percent.

So for Team Billary to claim that she’s clearly the people’s choice, at least in Iowa, is quite bullshit, given the imperfections of the Iowa caucus system (gotta love that line “there is no uncertainty”; if you have to claim that, it means that there is some uncertainty), and to brag about a lead of 0.3 percent demonstrates how desperate you are. I mean, Billary came in at third place in Iowa in 2008, so of course she’d love to claim a No. 1 win today, even if we’re talking a whopping difference of 0.3 percent.

Bernie will go on to win New Hampshire on February 9. (His lead there approaches 20 percent; see here and here.) Only if Billary clearly had won Iowa would she have been able to improve her outcome in New Hampshire.

We’ll see how Nevadans vote on February 20 (Nevada is the third state to weigh in). If Bernie wins Nevada, then yes, we will be in for a bit of a wrangle, methinks.

In the meantime, the degree to which Billary and the Billarybots spin her embarrassing tie in Iowa as a win demonstrates their desperation (as well as their character). Billary, with all of her corporate cash and her establishmentarian support, should have done much better in Iowa than she did against a rumpled, 74-year-old (democratic) socialist who only relatively recently obtained a comb. That it was a tie reveals, as 2008 did, what a weak candidate Billary Clinton is, that those of us who are left of center just aren’t at all that into her.

P.S. Speaking of the psychological significance of hitting at least 50.0 percent, if you add Bernie’s 49.6 percent and Martin O’Malley’s 0.6 percent, you get 50.2 percent of the vote in Iowa last night that was not for Billary. Just sayin’.

P.P.S. To (try to) clarify, the percentages to which I have referred above (i.e., 49.9 percent for Billary, 49.6 percent for Bernie and 0.6 percent for O’Malley) are percentages of “state delegate equivalents” earned in Iowa, not percentages of individuals’ votes.

Again, I don’t claim to be an expert in the fairly complicated ins and outs of the Iowa caucuses’ process.

Slate.com’s Josh Vorhees does a pretty good job of briefly explaining the process here.

Vorhees concludes that “There is a strong case to be made that more Iowans showed up to caucus for Sanders [last] night than did for Clinton,” but notes that “the Sanders campaign says that it doesn’t foresee contesting the final results.”

P.P.P.S.: The Associated Press explains further that in Iowa Billary Clinton garnered 23 delegates and Bernie Sanders garnered 21.

The AP notes that 2,382 delegates must be won in order to secure the party’s presidential nomination, and that thus far Billary has 385 so-called “superdelegates” on her side to Bernie’s 29. (“Superdelegates” may switch from Billary to Bernie, and many of them probably will if he racks up a lot of wins in the coming states’ primaries and caucuses.)

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