Iowa Caucuses

Hillary Clinton Wins Iowa Precinct On a Coin Toss

Because caucuses are insane.

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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?

NEXT: Cruz Won Iowa Because of Evangelicals, Would Lose General Election For Same Reason

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  1. And after the toss that coin found its way to the Clinton Foundation.

    1. Nah, the Sanders supporter greedily snatched it and ran off.

      1. I would invest those coins in cattle futures.

  2. Kickoff or receive?

  3. Hillary Clinton apparently has the best coin flip luck as she took six precincts this way in all.

  4. and requires people to physically move themselves to stand with other supporters of their candidate.

    From the looks of it, that was the most physical activity many of those delegates have done in a while.

    1. Their lips were moving, but all I heard was “moooooo…”

  5. Hillary Clinton Wins Iowa Precinct On a Coin Toss

    A mandate from the people, I tell you! A mandate!

  6. There’s no secret ballot?which surely depresses turnout

    Oof, yeah, I’m not sure I’d want to publicly declare myself against Clinton in the very first state against a surging challenger.

    Anyway, some facebook derp (technically twitter derp, reposted on facebook):

    “To think, after endless attacks on HRC, GOP candidates now have to go after @BernieSanders too. I’m undecided but he’s a hard guy to attack.”

    Yes, hard to attack a loud, cranky, old, white socialist. How could you ever convince moderates that a socialist might be a bad idea?

  7. Not just one coin toss, but six. And Hil won all six of them. The odds of going 6-0 are 1 in 2^6, or 1 in 64.

    Must be some more of that cattle futures’ luck.

    1. And those 6 coin flips provide all of the margin of victory. Clinton received 699 to Sanders 695 votes. If the coin tosses had gone according to probability, Sanders wins 698-696.

      1. Not suspicious at all.

        *where’s my Reynold’s Wrap?*

    2. My wife was at the Ames caucus that had a coin toss. Not only that, but 60 votes disappeared along the way — sometime between when they first formed groups and when they took the final tally, 60 people left (or at least never turned in their official vote). The coin toss was to basically decide for whom those missing 60 people were going to count.

  8. Mediocre pie sliced dead center with shiny karate chop.

  9. 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?

    As an advocate of sortition, I can’t exactly complain about this.

  10. I was impressed with Cruz’s victory speech last night. The winner will not be chosen by the media! Will not be chosen by the establishment!

    He could have made hay by taking swipes at Trump. Cruz could have said that the Republican nominee will not be decided by billionaires making raunchy personal attacks–but he didn’t have to say that. His victory said that. Instead, Cruz conducted himself with dignity, like a President should, and I find that really appealing. And we need to resist our basest instincts as a nation and not let our opinions be swayed by personal, vulgar attacks.

    On the other hand, when I was listening to Hillary Clinton’s speech last night, I was reminded that her pussy smells like an old wet mop. It may be dry as the dust at the bottom of Death Valley during a drought, but it smells like an old wet mop.

    1. I’ll give you a dollar if you promise to never tell me how you know what Hillary’s pussy smells like.

    2. The problem with Cruz is that he looks like Grandpa from “The Munsters”.

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