Green breaks down Iowa Caucus numbers

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Dr. Andrew Green (photo from Central College website)

There has been much said in the eight days since the Iowa Caucus. Central College Political Science Chair Dr. Andrew Green has his own take on the implications and facts that arose from that fateful night in the Iowa Democratic Party.

“If you went into Monday, where poll averages were, you would find Pete Buttigieg’s surge surprising,” Green said. “Bernie (Sanders) performed where expected. His people showed up.”

The issues that arose after the caucus included the struggle to choose a winner. The margin between Buttigieg and Sanders is slim, and both have sought a canvas to double-check the count in several precincts.

Democrats structured this year’s caucus to ensure that rural Iowa has a voice in the process. The Democratic National Committee forced the Iowa party to utilize an app that failed on caucus night, and has put a cloud over the process, the state party and the entire state.

Former Iowa Democratic Party Chair Michael Kiernan has called for Iowa Democrats to sue the DNC over this. But the results, to Green, demonstrate how seriously Iowans take the caucus process. They did their homework and chose candidates that best represent the party’s interests.

The Iowa results also indicate that there is an ideological divide among the Democratic Party, with progressive candidates on side with Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, and another group of pragmatists that included Joe Biden and Amy Klobuchar.

What surprised Green the most about the caucus was how poorly Biden did. Biden barely reached 15 percent across the state, but was polling higher. There were reports on Feb. 11, date of the next candidate test, the New Hampshire primary, that Biden had already left that state for South Carolina.

In terms of participant numbers in the caucus, there are around two million registered voters in Iowa. Of those, there are 615,514 registered Democrats and only 27.6 percent of Democrats participated in the caucus.

The questions remain whether Sanders, if nominated, would be able to coalesce more moderate Democrats behind him and if another nominee would be able to get Sanders’s supporters behind him or her.

“There are certain segments of the Democratic Party that have moved to the left,” Green said. “I can’t state that the whole party definitely has. We’ll see in November.”

Green believes Buttigieg may continue to see success, because the former mayor’s messages often come across as inspirational. His speeches are not loaded with specific policy details, but what he says is formed in a positive way. Green believes this is what helped Buttigieg carry Iowa and what made him attractive to caucus goers.

“It reminds me of a Seantor who ran in 2008 who was also very inspirational,” Green said.

Regardless of who the nominee is, which should be known in July, the goal for the party is to defeat President Donald Trump. Just days after Trump was acquitted in a Senate impeachment trial, Gallup had his approval rating at 49 percent – this represents a bump courtesy of the negative reaction to the impeachment proceedings. Meanwhile Trump, in the Republican caucus, earned over 97 percent support from his party.