In the Monday caucuses across the midwestern state of Iowa, Democrats chose South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg above all others, with Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders in second and Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren winning the third-most number of delegates. Former Vice President Joe Biden came in fourth, Minnesota Senator Amy Kolbuchar in fifth, followed by businessmen Andrew Yang and Tom Steyer.
However, by popular vote, Sanders led with 28% and Buttigieg trailed with 27%, followed by Warren with 22% and Biden with 14%.
Following announcement of the partial results, which did not include some of the state's most populous urban areas, Buttigieg declared the results an "astonishing victory" in a speech.
Iowa Democratic Party chairman Troy Price said on Tuesday night the delay was “unacceptable,” saying a thorough investigation would be launched into the matter.
The news comes almost a day later than expected, following a statewide debacle in the system for reporting caucus results, which trickled into the central office from more than 1,600 precincts across the Hawkeye State.
A major hurdle came in the form of the “Shadow” app, a system for reporting precinct results via smartphone that proved prohibitively difficult to install and operate. The app was coded by a tech firm staffed by veterans from Hillary Clinton’s failed 2016 presidential bid. The problem reportedly boiled down to a coding error, according to the Los Angeles Times, but others have accused it of being politically compromised by its Clinton affiliates - who are presumed to favor centrist, establishment candidates similar to her - or by Buttigieg, whose campaign also helped fund Shadow’s development.
Adding to the chaos - and the suspicion - was Buttigieg’s early declaration of victory on Tuesday morning.
On Twitter Tuesday morning, the hashtags #CheaterPete #MayorCheat and similar combinations proliferated.
Following the debacle, Nevada’s Democratic Party, which will host its own presidential caucuses on February 22, announced it would not be using the Shadow app as it had previously intended.
US President Donald Trump added his own voice to the chaos, tweeting Tuesday that the Iowa caucuses were “an unmitigated disaster” from which he was the only winner, adding that “it is not the fault of Iowa, it is the Do Nothing Democrats fault.”
A day prior, Trump tweeted about the perceived bias against Sanders by the Democratic establishment, saying, “Looks like they’re going to do it to him again, doesn’t it?”
Author and journalist Jim Kavanagh told Radio Sputnik’s By Any Means Necessary Tuesday that Trump was deploying “reverse psychology against Sanders, because he’s saying, ‘You see, Bernie’s being cheated again. The Democrats are cheating them.”
“Trump is using - he’s going to take what is a real problem that he didn’t create - the Democrats created this all by themselves - and he’s going to use it against the Democrats,” Kavanagh said. “And the Democrats are going to use his using it against the Democrats against Sanders, because they’re going to say, ‘He’s supporting Sanders.’ Although this brew up in Iowa is bad for everybody, really.”