Posted by Mahmoud Abunie on February 02, 2016 in Blog

Less than twenty-four hours ago, the 2016 presidential primaries kicked into high gear. As the country tuned in to see the results of the “first in the country” caucus, expectations were high – and rightfully so.

Media outlets had long-focused on who would lead each party in the wake of the ever important Iowa Caucus – which involved for the Democrats, a coin-flip. Secretary Hilary Clinton, who lost Iowa in 2008 to President Obama, was looking to rebound her efforts with a defeat of Senator Bernie Sanders.

Many expected a candidate from each party to stand out from the Caucus results as a clear number-one to lead each party going into the New Hampshire Primary. Unfortunately for the candidates, and thankfully for political commentators, the results will make for an interesting primary season.

Not only did Clinton and Sanders finish in a “virtual tie,” but it came down to a coin-flip - and Clinton won all of the flips.

Of the 43 delegates, 22 went to Clinton and 21 were allocated to Sanders, while Governor O’Malley received 0 delegates and suspended his campaign. The percentage for Clinton (at 100% of the precincts reported) was 49.9%, followed by Sanders at 49.6% and O’Malley at 0.6%. Clinton has long been considered the front-runner for the Democratic nomination, and many did not anticipate this close of a call with Sanders. Some may see this as a healthy debate about the issues, but others view it as a fracturing of the policies of the Democratic establishment and the “national progressive movement.”

Sanders has been framed as the “revolutionary candidate” wanting to reform the political system, while Clinton wants to improve on some of President Obama’s policies by taking incremental steps and channeling her “true progressive” politics through the political system.

In comparison, Republicans seem to be branching out between the Evangelical conservative vote, the Tea-party, and “the establishment.” While the Republican contest wasn’t as close as the Democratic contest, any assumption of a clear front-runner would be misguided. Senator Ted Cruz received 8 delegates and 27.6% of the vote, Donald Trump received 7 delegates and 24.3% of the vote, and Senator Marco Rubio received 7 delegates with 23.1% of the vote.

Rubio, widely considered the establishment candidate, was seen as a winner Monday night even though he came in third. He has the same number of delegates as Trump, who was touted as a front-runner leading up to Iowa.

Although there were 12 Republican candidates at the outset of the Iowa Caucus, only the aforementioned three received over 10% of the vote, which means reality should be setting in for the other nine candidates (Mike Huckabee has since suspended his candidacy, narrowing the number to eight).

As we head to New Hampshire, one thing is certain, the Democrats and Republicans are still divided from within about who they want, why they want them, and who will represent them the best on November 8th.

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