Hello on the morning after a shambolic start to the Democratic presidential race.
Apparently due to problems with a new phone app used to report results, the Iowa Democratic party was not able to tally up who won last night’s caucuses – the first election in the long primary process designed to choose a candidate to take on Donald Trump in November.
The local party has promised to release its results on Tuesday, but as the candidates move on to New Hampshire for the next contest on 11 February, and Donald Trump gives his annual State of the Union speech tonight, the significance of the vote in Iowa may end up being blunted.
Some will see that as a good thing. There have long been complaints that allowing Iowa to go first in the primary race gives too much weight to a small, mostly white, largely rural state that does not represent the demographics of the Democratic party or the US.
Perhaps sensing that they needed to seize the moment even if the moment was a bit unclear, leftwing senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren and centrist former mayor Pete Buttigieg delivered what sounded like victory speeches, with both Sanders’ and Buttigieg’s campaigns also claiming that their local representatives had seen partial results that showed their candidate ahead.
By contrast Joe Biden – the former vice-president to Barack Obama who is probably still the frontrunner in the national Democratic race, just about – delivered an address that sounded like it was designed to buck up supporters after a disappointing night. “We’re going to walk out of here with our share of delegates,” Biden said. “We don’t know exactly what it is yet, but we feel good about where we are. So it’s on to New Hampshire, Nevada, South Carolina and well beyond.”
Trump’s campaign revelled in the chaos. “Democrats are stewing in a caucus mess of their own creation with the sloppiest train wreck in history,” said Brad Parscale, Trump 2020 campaign manager. “It would be natural for people to doubt the fairness of the process. And these are the people who want to run our entire healthcare system?”
So what happened? This was the first year Iowans had to report three tallies in their complex voting system, and a new mobile app was introduced to help them do it. Some local representatives meant to use the app to report the numbers seemed to find it difficult to use, and tried to use a telephone hotline instead, meaning it became too busy. That all seems to have slowed the whole process down and meant accurate overall results cannot yet be tallied.
“This is simply a reporting issue, the app did not go down and this is not a hack or an intrusion,” said Mandy McClure, the Iowa party’s communications director. “The underlying data and paper trail is sound and will simply take time to further report the results.”
By the way, the Republicans also held caucuses in Iowa yesterday. Trump won with 97.1% of the vote.
We’ll have live coverage here today as the Democratic results (hopefully) come through, plus:
• Senators will give speeches on Trump’s impeachment, before they vote tomorrow on whether to convict or acquit him. Acquittal is almost certain.
• 9pm ET: Trump delivers his the State of the Union address in the House of Representatives. His theme is expected to be the “Great American Comeback”.
Until then, you can read up on everything that happened last night here: