The Associated Press says it can't declare a winner in Iowa as Buttigieg and Sanders both claim victory
The Iowa caucuses have ended not with a bang but with a whimper … and with two different candidates claiming victory according to two different measures. With 99% of precincts reporting, former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg led Sen. Bernie Sanders in state delegate equivalents, 26.2% to 26.1%, and was declaring victory on that basis. Sanders, meanwhile, led in “final alignment,” AKA the popular vote (to the extent that anything about a caucus can be dubbed popular), 26.6% to 25%, and was declaring victory on that basis. Sen. Elizabeth Warren was third in both state delegate equivalents and final alignment.
But if that all wasn’t confusing enough, there’s a giant asterisk on the whole proceeding, with the Associated Press—the gold standard of calling elections—unable to declare a winner because of a raft of inconsistencies and errors. “More than 100 precincts reported results that were internally inconsistent, that were missing data or that were not possible under the complex rules of the Iowa caucuses,” The New York Times reported.
The inconsistencies do not provide evidence of any conspiracy—rather, they provide evidence that the Iowa caucuses are a terrible system that relies on volunteers to carry out a massively complicated endeavor, and, this year, to apply a whole new set of rules and reporting requirements. Caucuses need to be abolished, full stop.
Former Vice President Joe Biden fell into a weak fourth place, with Sen. Amy Klobuchar coming much closer to Biden than expected.