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    Former U.S. President Bill Clinton (L) applauds his wife, Democratic U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton (R), as they appear with their daughter Chelsea (C) at Mrs. Clinton's caucus night rally in Des Moines, Iowa February 1, 2016

    Clinton Fails to Make Sanders Democratic ‘Sacrificial Lamb’

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    US Senator Bernie Sanders’ strong showing in the Iowa caucus proves he is no longer the token candidate former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton hoped to steamroll to the Democratic presidential nomination, experts told Sputnik.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — On Tuesday, final Iowa caucus results showed that Clinton won 49.8 percent of the Democratic caucus vote to Sanders’ 49.6 percent. Sanders victory defied early expectations considering less than six months ago he trailed Clinton by large double digits in nearly every poll taken of likely Iowa voters.

    "A while back, he [Sanders] was 50 points behind and it was going to be a fait accompli that Clinton was going to be the [Democratic Party’s] candidate," Drexel University Political Science Professor William Rosenberg told Sputnik. "The Clinton camp was looking for someone to run against her to be a sort of sacrificial lamb."

    Rosenberg added that despite technically losing by a small margin, Sanders actually scored a victory in Iowa by showing that he is a true contender for the Democratic Party’s nomination for president of the United States.

    Sanders’ strong performance in Iowa will allow him to continue his effective fundraising campaign, Rosenberg noted, as he heads into next week’s New Hampshire primary as a heavy favorite.

    "Sanders raised more money last month than Hillary Clinton did, not counting the PAC [political action committee] money," Rosenberg explained.

    The presidential election expert warned, however, that the Sanders victory in Iowa, while impressive, must be kept in perspective and not overblown.

    "The number of actual delegates that are going to be representing the state of Iowa is about one percent of all delegates," Rosenberg noted. "Iowa is a big deal because it’s the first real taste testing besides the polls, but it is more symbolic than real."

    The Sanders campaign, Rosenberg argued, also has an extensive network of "ground game" activities in all of the upcoming primary states that are just as strong as Clinton’s, although the former Secretary of State might be able to garner more African American support in the south of the United States.

    George Washington University Political Management Professor Christopher Arterton told Sputnik that Iowa represented a very strong showing by a challenger against what many believed to be the presumptive Democratic Party nominee for the US presidency, although it does not necessarily deal a fatal blow to Clinton’s campaign.

    "Where this was supposed to be six months ago, a kind of cakewalk, if you will, for Hillary Clinton, right now it appears as though it’s going to be a fairly long slug in order to win the nomination," Arterton added.

    Sanders will likely win the New Hampshire primary, Arterton claimed, given that it is right next door to his home state of Vermont.

    On the Republican side, US Senator Ted Cruz won the Iowa caucus with 27.6 percent of the vote, 3.3 percent ahead of businessman Donald Trump, according to official results.

    The next round of Democratic and Republican primaries will take place in New Hampshire on February 9.

    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

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