At 10:50 p.m. with 94% of the state-wide results in for the 2016 Iowa caucus, Hillary Clinton is at 50% and Bernie Sanders 50%. As I type, Sanders is speaking live on television and the television screen is now showing Sanders slipping to 49%. The results are moving back and forth nearly moment to moment. Governor O'Malley had only 1% and it has been announced that he is suspending his campaign.
Sanders has taken several of the counties with large urban centers while Clinton seems to be winning in the counties with larger rural centers.
As Iowa braced for a winter blizzard, with school closing already being announced, the turnout was nevertheless impressive.
Here in Bremer County, a largely rural county with the largest city being Waverly with a population of nearly 9,000, the caucus started late and was somewhat less than well organized.
Here in Bremer County, a largely rural county with the largest city being Waverly with a population of nearly 9,000, the caucus started late and was somewhat less than well organized. I was in the Waverly High School gym with two of the five wards occupying opposite sides of the room. In Ward 1 where I live, Sanders took 83 votes and Clinton 76. In Ward 2, across the room, Clinton took 75 votes with 47 for Sanders.
With a less than scientific scan of the crowds, there seemed to be a larger number of older voters who seemed to gravitate toward Clinton than younger voters. That probably hurt Sanders. While Waverly is very slowly becoming more racially diverse, the only person of color I saw in either of the wards was African-American Simon Estes, the world renowned opera singer who chose to caucus for Bernie Sanders.
In the ward one group, the O'Malley supporters mostly joined the Sanders group when it was determined that the O'Malley supporters did not have enough support to be considered viable.
If there is such a thing as controlled chaos (that's likely an oxymoron) the process of cajoling supporters to leave their groups for another candidate epitomized the overall scene at the caucus I attended. The Democratic caucus rules were bent and broken in an attempt to keep attendees from leaving before all of the business of the caucus could be completed.
No platform planks were read or discussed though they were accepted in written form and these planks will be accepted at the county convention for consideration. Delegates for the county convention were not elected but were taken on a volunteer basis. I will be a delegate at the county convention and my previous experience as a delegate leads me to believe the process will go much better at the next levels.
The written planks ran the gamut of national concerns to challenges that are more specific to Iowa as a rural state. Among the planks were
- a call for no TPP;
- more stringent control of the size and number of factory farms;
- a raise in the minimum wage;
- the elimination of institutionalized racism;
- restoration of voting rights;
- integration of legal and illegal immigrants into our society; and
- publicly financed elections with the elimination of "big money" controlling elections;
- clean water for everyone; and
- an overhaul of the criminal justice system to mention only a few.
Just as the results of some previous presidential contests were not known until the next day, that may be the case for Clinton and Sanders, though it seems now that Clinton is likely to win with only the narrowest of margins.
Dwight D. Allbee