How Did the Iowa Caucuses Work and Who Came Out Ahead

How Did the Iowa Caucuses Work and Who Came Out Ahead (Updated)
  • Iowa is the first test of the primary season.
  • Votes are not private.
  • Campaigning inside polling places permitted and encouraged.
  • The process causes difficulties for disabled voters.

Update: After a full day, the Iowa Democratic Party (IDP) has announced its first partial, prefatory results. The incomplete results have former South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg edging out Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT) 26.2% to 26.1%. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) was third at 18% and former Vice President Joe Biden, who was almost universally hailed as the solid front-runner, lagged in fourth place with a dismal 15.8%.

( – The first event of the 2020 Presidential primaries is over (kind of), and the most convention delegates went to “to be determined.” After the much-anticipated and ballyhooed leadoff to the season was completed “technical issues” left the candidates and media waiting with bated breath.

The caucus process is very different from what many think of as a “primary election day.” Where most states’ polls open in the early morning and close in the evening, that’s not the case in Iowa.

Here, people who wanted to have their vote counted gathered at a single designated location within their assigned precinct. It may be a school, a library, or somebody’s garage. Yes, you read that correctly. Next, they were told to go stand in an area representing their chosen candidate. It’s unclear if they literally have to stand up to be counted, but it seems more likely than not. Regardless, the system is not friendly towards Iowans with disabilities.

After assembling in their dictated areas and being numbered, a cohort of each candidate wanders around and tries to convince people to jump ship to their group. Again, yes, you read that correctly. Imagine a person walking up to another in an open room saying something like, “Hi Bob, what’re doin’ over here with Joe’s group? Just the other day you said he was a bum and you were all-in with me for Liz.”

Iowa only gets six electoral votes when the tally is done for the general election in November, but its status as first up gives it import beyond proportion to that small number. All eyes were watching to find out how candidate support would break down. Not only will it give the leaders bragging rights among other voters across America, but it can also impact a person’s ability to compete in future debates.

It may also cause the DNC to shape the outcome of the convention selection outcome by reintroducing the idea of so-called “superdelegates,” process many say made Hillary Clinton the 2016 Democratic Nominee over Bernie Sanders. That makes one wonder if a great sense of déjà vu is washing over him about now?

Copyright 2020,


  1. Iowa is in the historical age . That is not voting at all and is ridiculous. To secure the voting, you do it like other states–vote and be counted. There are all kinds of crazy stories out there and I have heard them all. One involved Hillary because it was her staffers who set this up. The other was that the lines got flooded because the Republicans were calling in so much. Silly. They need to wake up and grow up and do it like every one else, professionally in a voting manor with machines to insure security.

  2. I am a former Democratic Town Chair from New Boston NH. I was threatened by Clinton people in 2016 that “bad things would happen” if I failed to hold a fundraiser for Hillary, which was completely against party rules. So I quit as town chair and joined Bernie’s campaign. We won 67% of the primary vote, but every superdelegate selected by state party leaders voted for Hillary so she won at the convention. It is obvious to me that Bernie won Iowa this year.

  3. The Homosexual, that is married to another man, edged out the devout Communist, Comrade Sanders! Can YOU believe this? These morons are making a laughing stock out of our country! What has happened here is the LUNATICS HAVE BEEN PUT IN CHARGE OF THE DEMOCRATIC ASYLUM! What happened to the Democratic Party that I once belonged to? The crazier this gets, the easier President Trump will get re-elected!

Comments are closed.