Hillary Clinton Wins Iowa Precinct On a Coin Toss

Because caucuses are insane.


As Reason's Peter Suderman wrote yesterday, the Iowa Caucuses are insane, less an exercise in representative democracy than an unwieldly political speed-dating happy hour without booze:

Iowa Democrats use a rowdy, drawn-out process that involves groups of people standing around yelling at each other, sometimes for hours, and requires people to physically move themselves to stand with other supporters of their candidate. The idea is to form a pack for your candidate, and then get others to join your group. As Drake University political scientist Dennis Goldford recently told Vox's Andrew Prokop, "It's kind of like a carnival, where the candidates' supporters say, 'Come over to us, to our group!'" There's no secret ballot—which surely depresses turnout and complicates voting for many—and the event can last for hours. Convention delegates are then divided up based on the results; candidates who fail to secure the support of 15 percent in a precinct get nothing. (Here's an explanation of how it works using Legos.)

In Des Moines Precinct 70 last night, a 61-61 deadlock between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders was decided by a coin toss, per the guidebook Democratic Iowa Caucus chairpeople are instructed to follow.

As the crestfallen Sanders supporter in the video notes, "Remember, this is a caucus! It was very, very close. It was called by a coin toss." 

After a night of performing your civic duty by screaming at your neighbors in a school gymnasium, why the hell not reach a consensus through random chance?