As of five in the morning, Hillary Clinton was up on Bernie Sanders 699.57 state delegate equivalents to 695.49 for Bernie Sanders, with all precincts except one having reported, according to the Iowa Democratic Party.
It makes literally no difference whatsoever whether Clinton or Sanders “wins” — Clinton will most likely be awarded 23 delegates to Sanders’ 21 [CORRECTED: AN EARLIER VERSION OF THIS POST SAID THEY WOULD SPLIT THE DELEGATES]. This was a tie. (That was obvious early in the night, despite the manufactured drama for political junkies that followed, which is why I went to bed at a reasonable hour.)
Obviously a great showing for Sanders — and as much as Donald Trump grabbing 25 percent on the GOP side is very big news, Sanders grabbing 50 percent on the Dem side is bigger. He is clearly moving the Overton window in terms of presidential politics in a way that would have been frankly unthinkable when Bill Clinton was dominating the party in the nineties. That’s a good thing.
All of the same stuff that was true yesterday is still true today: Hillary Clinton has major demographic and structural advantages in dozens of states to come even as Sanders has advantages in Iowa and New Hampshire. She is probably going to be the nominee. While a big loss in Iowa might have spelled major trouble, it’s hard to see how a narrow victory spells doom. (Of course there are subsections of the media that will spin events as double trouble for Hillary Clinton no matter what.)
Today's media coverage, summarized:
1) If it's Hillary, tight win = weakness-revealing loss
2) If it's Rubio, 3rd is the new 1st
— Greg Sargent (@ThePlumLineGS) February 2, 2016
Still, I think the takeaway here is that there is energy, passion, organization, votes, and money (in the form of small donors) on the left of the Democratic Party’s base in a way that there hasn’t been in decades. If Hillary Clinton wants the nomination, she is going to have to take those voices seriously. By my lights, that’s good news, whoever the nominee is.
postscript: How much of a dead-heat tie was this? At least four caucuses were decided by coin toss!