On Feb. 1, the state of Iowa was in the nation’s eye as caucuses took place for both parties. The Iowa Caucuses are an early opportunity to look deep into both parties, with the biggest surprise of the night being who won the Republican side.
Ted Cruz, earning eight delegates, and 27.6 percent of the votes, just edged Donald Trump, who earned seven delegates and 24.3 percent of the vote. Many pundits believed Trump was a lock to win because of his media domination in the lead up to the caucus.
On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton edged Bernie Sanders by a .3 percent margin, winning 23 delegates to Sanders’ 21. Martin O’Malley ended his campaign late into the caucus after a disappointing showing.
Abby Bennett, a representative of University of Maine College Republicans, lamented the popular idea that the media would lead Trump to victory.
“If one thing is to be taken away from what happened in Iowa, it’s that the media and polls aren’t the pervasive, clear-eyed prophets that they claim to be,” Bennett said. “The media served Trump well throughout his campaign, advertising his every move and in turn saving him loads of publicity money.”
University of Maine College Democrats representative Elias Pasquerillo put less stock in the Republican side of the Iowa caucus as the last two winners, Rick Santorum and Mike Huckabee, have not gone on to receive the nomination.
Bennett made clear that the College Republicans do not endorse a particular candidate for the presidency.
“The UMaine College Republicans does not endorse any candidate,” Bennett said. “It aims to be inclusive to the many Republican beliefs that exist on our campus, especially in this time of political turmoil.”
Pasquerillo was surprised by the close finish between Sanders and Clinton, especially where Sanders hasn’t been in the national eye for nearly as long as Clinton has.
“The fact that they’re tied right now really surprised both campaigns,” Pasquerillo said. “It’s pretty exciting.”
“On the Democrat’s side, where we saw multiple stories about Clinton having a 15 percent superdelegate lead over Sanders, trumpeting the struggles he faced by the establishment.” Bennett said.
Pasquerillo is excited about getting out the word out about the importance of caucuses and clear up some misconceptions about them. The College Democrats will be running a table in the Union to help students understand how caucusing works and why it is important going forward.