Cruz trumps Trump; Dems tie in Iowa

Andrew Taranto, Contributing Writer

Thousands of Iowans caucused in the first nominating contests of the 2016 presidential election Monday night. Lines to enter caucus sites throughout the state were long, and many there reported exceptional turnouts.

According to NBC News, Senator Ted Cruz, who for several weeks leading up to the Iowa caucuses narrowly trailed Donald Trump in polls, came out on top among the Republican field with 28 percent of the vote. Trump managed to secure 24 percent of the final vote—edging out the third place finisher, Senator Marco Rubio, by only one percentage point.

Both Senator Bernie Sanders and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spoke to their supporters late Monday night before any major news outlets declared a Democratic winner. Just before midnight on Monday, Secretary Clinton led Senator Sanders by less than one percent, a margin that Senator Sanders referred to as “a virtual tie.” Later in the night, Clinton was declared the winner at 49.9 percent of the vote, versus Sander’s close 49.6.

After a poorer-than-expected showing, former Governor Martin O’Malley, who for many months trailed Secretary Clinton and Senator Sanders in the Democratic race, officially announced that he would suspend his campaign. Former Governor Mike Huckabee, who in 2008 decisively won the Iowa caucuses on the Republican side, also announced that he would suspend his campaign after winning under two percent of the vote. Many Republican candidates, including former Governor Jeb Bush, Carly Fiorina, Governor John Kasich and Governor Chris Christie, won under three percent of the vote. They hope to make a bigger impression with voters in New Hampshire next Tuesday.

Iowa has traditionally been the first state to hold its nominating contest for presidential elections. Its famous—or infamous—caucusing system may leave many people wondering how Iowan Democrats and Republicans chose who they want to carry their party’s mantle into the general election.

For Democrats, caucusing is hard. Voters must meet at their local caucus site and physically group themselves based on which candidate they support. Groups that fail to attract at least 15 percent of the total local attendance are broken up and the remaining groups are given the opportunity to win the support of those voters. Eventually, voters are counted and the candidates win delegates based proportionally on their support.

Republicans use a more straightforward system. Candidates or authorized surrogates are given the chance to speak to those who show up to caucus. Voters then write their candidate’s name on a piece of paper to cast their vote. From choosing the caucus sites to counting the votes, both political parties are entirely in charge of overseeing their respective caucuses.

Reaction on the St. John’s campus ranged from relief to shock.

“I’m glad that Trump didn’t win,” said junior Moira Shannon. “I really don’t understand how people can support him.”

Other students were surprised by the results, especially in the Democratic caucuses.

“I didn’t know exactly what to expect, but I really didn’t think that [Secretary Clinton and Senator Sanders] would be so close,” said junior Samantha Brady.