Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Hillary News & Views 2.2: Narrow Iowa Victory, Clinton's Speech, and Early Analysis

Today's Hillary News & Views begins with coverage of Clinton’s narrow victory in Iowa, where her big lead among Democrats, older voters, and nonwhites was almost completely balanced out by Bernie’s lead among independents and younger voters.

First, the call, which it’s important to note is an “apparent win”:

NBC News reports:
The Iowa Democratic Party released a statement with state delegate results before dawn on Tuesday, saying the "historically close" caucus featured one of the "strongest turnouts ever."
Clinton's campaign responded almost immediately to welcome the victory.
"Hillary Clinton has won the Iowa Caucus," the campaign said in a statement. "After thorough reporting and analysis, there is no uncertainty and Secretary Clinton has clearly won."
Des Moines Register reports:
Hillary Clinton's campaign claimed a slim victory early Tuesday over populist firebrand Bernie Sanders in the Iowa caucuses, though his spokeswoman said the results were not settled.
Iowa Democratic Party officials worked into the early morning hours, trying to chase down results from a handful of precincts. About 2:30 a.m., the party's website showed that Clinton had 49.9 percent of the delegates to Sanders' 49.6 percent, with 1,682 of 1,683 precincts reporting.
Clinton's Iowa campaign manager, Matt Paul, said she had won. "After thorough reporting — and analysis — of results, there is no uncertainty, and Secretary Clinton has clearly won the most national and state delegates," Paul wrote in a statement. "Statistically, there is no outstanding information that could change the results and no way that Sen. Sanders can overcome Secretary Clinton's advantage."
State Party Chairwoman Andy McGuire said the results were the closest in Iowa caucus history. "Hillary Clinton has been awarded 699.57 state delegate equivalents, Bernie Sanders has been awarded 695.49 state delegate equivalents, (former Maryland Gov.) Martin O’Malley has been awarded 7.68 state delegate equivalents and uncommitted has been awarded .46 state delegate equivalents," she wrote in a statement about 2:30 a.m. Tuesday. She said the missing Des Moines precinct was worth 2.28 state delegate equivalents.
Democratic Iowa caucus results are reported by a complicated system of "delegate equivalents" rather than by voter head count.
The quote from Clinton’s speech that’s getting the most press is her “big sigh of relief.”
From Vox, the full transcript:
Wow! What a night. An unbelievable night. What a great campaign. This has been an incredible honor to campaign across Iowa, with so many of you to make the case for the kind of future, we want.
For the Democratic Party and for the United States of America. There is so much at stake in this election, I don't need to tell you. Every single one of you who came out for me, who worked so many hours from my young organizers with energy and passion, to the families and friends across this state, I am deeply grateful.
I love all of you. Here's what I want you to know. It is rare that we have the opportunity we do now, to have a real contest of ideas. To really think hard about what the Democratic Party stands for and what we want the future of our country to look like if we do our part to build it. I am a progressive who gets things done for people. I am honored to stand in the long line of American reformers who make up our minds that the status quo is not good enough. That standing still is not an option. And that brings people together to find ways forward that will improve the lives of Americans. I look back over the years of my involvement from the very first job I had at the children's defense fund. And I know. I know what we are capable of doing, I know we can create more good paying jobs and raise incomes for hardworking Americans again. I know that we can finish the job of universal health care coverage for every single man, woman and child.
I know we can combat climate change and be the clean energy superpower of the 21st century. I know we can make our education system work for every one of our children, especially those who come with disadvantages. I know we can make college affordable and get student debt off the backs of young people. And I know we can protect our rights, women's rights, gay rights, voting rights, immigrant rights, workers rights. I know too we can stand up to the gun lobby and get common sense gun safety measures. And how do we do that? We do that by securing the nomination, and then we do it by winning and going into that white house as others before have, determined to push forward on the great goals and values that unite us as Americans.
I congratulate my esteemed friends and opponents, I wish Governor O'Malley the very best. He is a great public servant, who has served Maryland and our country and I am excited about really getting into the debate with Sen. Sanders about the best way forward to fight for us and America. In the last few weeks, we finally began to have what I think is one of the most important substantive conversations. That the Democratic party could have. And I am thrilled at all of the people who are playing a part in that.
I know that we may have differences of opinion about how best to achieve our goals. But I believe we have a very clear idea that the Democratic Party and this campaign stands for what is best in America. And we have to be united. When it is all said and done, we have to be united. A Republican vision and candidates that would drive us apart and divide us. That is not who we are, my friends, I follow their candidates very closely, I understand what they're appealing to, and I intend to stand against it. I will not -- I will not let their decisiveness, their efforts to rip away the progress that we've made be successful. Because we can't afford that. As I stand here tonight, breathing a big sigh of relief, thank you, Iowa. I want you to know, I will keep doing what I have done my entire life.
I will keep standing up for you. I will keep fighting for you. I will always work to achieve the America that I believe in, where the promise of that dream that we hold out to our children.
Some early analysis of the results…

CNN reports:
Did Hillary Clinton win the Iowa caucuses? Did Bernie Sanders? Actually it might not really matter. Clinton staved off the fate she feared most -- repeating the caucus outcome of 2008 when Barack Obama unexpectedly and comfortably defeated her, presaging his eventual defeat of her entire candidacy.
Clinton said in her speech she was breathing "a big sigh of relief," a joking allusion both to the 2008 outcome, as well as polls that had predicted she might fare worse this time around.
Of course, Iowa is just Iowa, and is neither particularly large nor very representative of the rest of the country. The Democratic Party doesn't release the total number of caucusgoers, but on the Republican side, in his victory speech, Ted Cruz noted that 48,608 votes were cast in his favor. That's not a lot of people. And there aren't that many delegates at stake in Iowa. But what Iowa does mean is momentum. And coming out of the state, both Sanders and Clinton have it.
Where will that momentum take them? To South Carolina.
Hillary Clinton has always been favored to win the Democratic nomination this year, so this race has been hers to lose and Sanders' to win. It's news that Sanders did so well in Iowa because he wasn't expected to perform well there, in contrast to his strong command of New Hampshire. But both Iowa and New Hampshire are relatively small and demographically non-representative states, disproportionately whiter than the nation as a whole.
The New York Times reports:
Bernie Sanders is right: The Iowa Democratic caucuses were a “virtual tie,” especially after you consider that the results aren’t even actual vote tallies, but state delegate equivalents subject to all kinds of messy rounding rules and potential geographic biases.
But in the end, a virtual tie in Iowa is an acceptable, if not ideal, result for Mrs. Clinton and an ominous one for Mr. Sanders. He failed to win a state tailor made to his strengths.
This raises a straightforward challenge for Mr. Sanders. He has nearly no chance to do as well among nonwhite voters as Mr. Obama did in 2008. To win, Mr. Sanders will need to secure white voters by at least a modest margin and probably a large one. In the end, Mr. Sanders failed to score a clear win in a state where Mr. Obama easily defeated Mrs. Clinton among white voters.
Mr. Sanders’s strength wasn’t so great as to suggest that he’s positioned to improve upon national polls once the campaign heats up. National polls show him roughly tied with Mrs. Clinton among white voters, and it was the case here as well. It suggests that additional gains for Mr. Sanders in national polls will require him to do better than he did in Iowa, not that the close race in Iowa augurs a close one nationally.
Mr. Sanders will have another opportunity to gain momentum after the New Hampshire primary. He might not get as much credit for a victory there as he would have in Iowa, since New Hampshire borders his home state of Vermont. But it could nonetheless give him another opportunity to overcome his weaknesses among nonwhite voters.
As a general rule, though, momentum is overrated in primary politics. In 2008, for instance, momentum never really changed the contours of the race. Mr. Obama’s victory in Iowa allowed him to make huge gains among black voters, but not much more — the sort of exception that would seem to prove the rule. Mr. Obama couldn’t even put Mrs. Clinton away after winning a string of states in early February.
Mrs. Clinton holds more than 50 percent of the vote in national surveys; her share of the vote never declined in 2008. The polls say that her supporters are more likely to be firmly decided than Mr. Sanders’s voters.
Back-to-back wins in Iowa and New Hampshire by Mr. Sanders might have been enough to overcome that history. The no-decision in Iowa ensures we won’t find out.
Princeton Election Consortium reports:
On the Democratic side, tonight was substantively bad for Bernie Sanders. After all the talk about hordes of Sanders supporters, in the end he only achieved a near-tie. Iowa is one of the most favorable states for him because of its ethnic composition. But it is not enough to win 50% of white Democrats. To have a chance overall, he needed a big win to (a) indicate that he can get enough white support to compensate for lack of support in nonwhite demographics in other states, and (b) create press coverage to boost him in the coming weeks. Outcome (a) didn’t happen. We’ll see about (b).
FiveThirtyEight reports:
Reality check: A tie in Iowa is actually a win for Clinton. According to our targets at the Cook Political Report, Bernie Sanders would have needed to win twice as many delegates as Clinton in Iowa to be “on track” for the nomination. He’s nowhere near that tonight.
The New Republic reports:
The Iowa Caucus wasn’t the coronation some were expecting, but Clinton is still well positioned for the coming weeks. A complete defeat would have been disheartening, but the near-draw indicates better things to come for Clinton in primaries in the more racially diverse states of Nevada and South Carolina. 
Shortly before 3:00 am local time on Tuesday morning, the count was finally done in Iowa. MSNBC declared the former Secretary of State the “apparent winner” of the 2016 Iowa Democratic caucus in the narrowest result in party history. She defeated opponent Bernie Sanders by five votes, 700-695, becoming the first woman to ever win an Iowa caucus.
Of the 44 national delegates at stake, Clinton won 29; Sanders, 21. Per the state Democratic party statement, Clinton was awarded 699.57 state delegate equivalents; Senator Sanders got 695.49. The presence of Martin O’Malley in the race mattered, after all. The former Maryland governor, who suspended his campaign on Monday night, earned only 7.68 state delegate equivalents, more than the difference between Clinton and Sanders. The only remaining outstanding delegates, in the Des Moines precinct, wouldn’t make up the Sanders deficit.
There's an understandable focus on the horse race today, but there were other articles yesterday that shouldn't go overlooked.

The Washington Post reports on Clinton’s comments about China:
A day before the Iowa caucuses get underway, amid a stream of posts about the state, Hillary Clinton on Sunday blasted Chinese authorities for reportedly shuttering a women's legal clinic in Beijing.
In a message to her 5.26 million Twitter followers, Clinton referenced her keynote speech at the 1995 United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing — "women's rights are human rights" — and expressed solidarity with the center's founder, Guo Jianmei. "I stand with Guo," she wrote, signing the tweet "-H."
For 15 years, the center was housed at Peking University. In 2010, it was forced to close, though Guo subsequently reopened the center, now called the Beijing Zhongze Women’s Legal Counseling and Service Center, in a new location.
It is not clear why the center is being shut down again; however, its closure comes amid an unprecedented crackdown on civil and human rights lawyers and their associates and as the government hammers out a new law to control domestic and foreign civic groups. (Reached by phone, Guo declined to comment on the case.)
The New Republic notes “The Curious Blackness of Iowa Week”:
My pastor was skeptical at first. Was Hillary Clinton for real? She convened a private summit with nearly 50 black ministers at his Philadelphia church just five days before the Iowa caucuses, without even a guaranteed endorsement from the group.
After a brief opening statement—in which Clinton mentioned the Flint water contamination crisis and its racially disparate impact—Tyler says the candidate took a series of questions from the reverends on topics like public education and black unemployment. They expressed skepticism not only about her candidacy, but her authenticity with regard to black concerns, given her propagation of the “superpredator” myth during the push for her husband’s 1994 crime bill, one that undergirds the mass incarceration state Clinton has pledged to address as president. “These were not softball questions these people were asking,” Tyler said. But he left impressed. “I am not naive; I’ve been around politicians enough, so I get it. But I will say that the person who I spent that time with was drastically different than the person you see described on television.”
We can debate the modern-day role of the black church in both civil rights and political activism, and how their congregations are aging perceptibly. But there is a reason these politicians, Democrats especially, maintain the tradition of visiting these black churches to urge them to show up at the polls. These preachers have roots in the African American communities they tend to; they know them intimately. And Tyler feels he knows what they want in 2016.
“At this point, in this election, it is absolutely about results for black people,” Tyler said, noting with worry the need to counteract a Congress with Republican control in both houses and a Supreme Court tilting right under Chief Justice John Roberts. “We have broken through the glass ceiling; I continue to rejoice in President Obama’s election. But we have to have a president who can deliver on things that are important for us.” 
One of those priorities is historically black colleges and universities. Clinton reminded those attending the Mother Bethel summit that she is pledging a $25 billion fund for all private HBCUs, something that means a great deal to Tyler, a graduate of two of them: Clark Atlanta University and Payne Theological Seminary. “These schools are dying,” he told me. “I don’t see any other candidates, certainly from the other political party, talking about that kind of major investment in our schools.” Noting how HBCU graduates have changed our nation, Tyler said “they’re not just critical to black success. They’re critical to American success.”

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