Polls, schmolls. Despite the fact that Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton are in a virtual dead heat in the Iowa Democratic Caucus, the senator from Vermont took a victory lap on Monday night and declared himself the winner — at least, morally speaking.
In a speech to Iowa voters, Sanders took pride in his campaigns humble beginnings, saying they started with no money, no organization, and no respect from the mainstream media, to face the most powerful political organization in politics in Clinton’s campaign. He then proudly stated, “Tonight, while the results are still not known, it looks like we are in a virtual tie…we’ll have about half of the Iowa delegates.”
Sanders continued, “the people of Iowa have sent a very profound message to the political establishment, the economic establishment, and the media establishment…it is just too late for establishment politics and establishment economics.”
In another part of town, Hillary Clinton gave her an ever-so-slightly more humble speech, declaring herself a progressive candidate who will fight for equal rights. Hillary took the stage with her husband, former President Bill Clinton, and daughter Chelsea Clinton. “I am a progressive who gets things done for people!” she declared. “I am excited about really getting into the debate with Senator Sanders about the best way forward.”
Later, she tweeted a message of thanks:
Numbers between the two Democratic candidates were as close as .02% with Clinton claiming the miniscule edge with 49.8%. The two candidates have traded criticisms leading up to the caucus, with Sanders condemning Clinton for being part of a broken political and economic system, and Clinton ridiculing Sanders’ policies as idealist and unachievable. The slight edge for Hillary points to a far closer race than all political experts had previously predicted leading up to the caucus.
The third Democratic candidate, Martin O’Malley, announced the suspension of his campaign following an abysmal showing in the caucus that ended his presidential ambitions. O’Malley had put a huge amount of time and energy into Iowa and while it did not render the desired result, a source close to the former candidate said, “In a tough, unprecedented year, O’Malley…remained the most accessible [candidate].” The associate continued, “He ran an energetic and honorable campaign – leading the field with the most bold progressive policy proposals.”
The campaign trail will only continue to heat up for the two remaining candidates. Many experts are predicting that the final decision will be made by the Black vote, saying that Hillary is dramatically favored in the demographic.
Sanders, however, has long been a proponent for civil rights, and was a featured guest and speaker at the recent Presidential Justice Forum on criminal justice reform. watch a recap of the event, below: