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02 Feb

News and Analyses, A Foreign Perspective

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Opinion

The strength of the Vermont senator’s ‘radical’ message propelled him to a near-tie in the first caucus. It will have repercussions on Democrats for years to come

As Iowa caucus results showed Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton in a tie late Monday night, Sanders spoke to his supporters about the ‘political revolution’ he feels in the state thanks to their strong support of his campaign

Bernie Sanders’ path to the White House has been incredibly narrow but, after his near-draw in Iowa on Monday night, there’s clearly open road ahead of him.

On Tuesday, the race in which pundits long-ago declared Hillary Clinton the presumptive victor will begin in earnest; sit tight, it’s going to be a very long, bumpy ride.

The margin between Sanders and Clinton was razor thin all of Monday night – certainly thinner than anyone would have imagined possible last spring, when he was down by 42 points in a national poll. Coming in anywhere near close to Clinton in the Iowa caucus would’ve been a significant victory for Sanders; the near-tie showed the deep resonance of his message.

The actual results underscored what he and his supports have said all along: establishment Democrats have underestimated him and the power of his movement.

The chief argument against Sanders for his entire campaign is that he’s unelectable in a national election and, by extension, ineffective as a candidate or a statesman. He’s alternately been written off as a fringe candidate, an adorable elderly relative and more subtly, as a political tool for pushing Clinton the left.

But Monday night proved that he could win and, in proving it, he’s weakened Clinton by exposing her as something other than the inevitable candidate we had all but assumed her to be. Some Sanders staffers have argued Sanders definitely did win if you count raw totals and not state delegates; given the geographical layout of Iowa, that claim is likely if unproven. (More than a quarter of Sanders’ supporters come from just three counties – which awards only 12% of delegates; the caucus structure is thought to favor Clinton significantly)…………………

US politics & Election 2016

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