Last night during the hotly contested Democratic Caucuses in the state of Iowa between Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton some of the voting was so close that the precinct captains. or whoever was left in charge, had to defer to an old-fashioned coin toss.
Yes with the top job in the nation on the line that is the best we can come up with to break a tie. A coin toss. Now, while many are complaining about this method, there are more questioning the results of these tie-breakers. Yes there are a lot of questions.
Before the final tallies were in though, Clinton quickly declared victory(while the race was virtually tied) and almost like in an NFL football game, she ran up to the ball and ran a play before the challenge flag could be thrown by the opposing coach. Now, there could be all sorts of reasons for doing that, like she needed to get to New Hampshire where Sanders has a double digit lead to get a jump on campaigning. Or perhaps the strategy was that if it was close she would declare victory and then have the Sanders supporters labeled as conspiracy theorists if they asked questions about the results.
One thing is for sure though, there are conflicting reports and no one seems to have the answers. All day Tuesday the internet was buzzing with #CoinGate and the mysterious fact that she won 6 straight coin tosses. Of course it’s not a mathematical impossibility that she did that but at some point during the day, news started floating around via a video(seen below) that shows Sanders clearly winning a coin toss. Another question that wasn’t being answered.
So we have proof that Sanders won at least one but it’s not clear whether or not it was reported as a win for him or Clinton. Let’s move on for a second though. Remember all those media sources that have been hammering on the fact that Clinton did the near impossible and won 6 straight coin tosses? Well throwing a wrench into that even further is a story that came out at 6:42 p.m. CST February 2, 2016 on the Des Moines Register.
In this article Sam Lau, a spokesman for the Iowa Democratic Party said seven coin flips were reported statewide, and Bernie Sanders won six of them. Wait. What about all the media that is saying she won 6 in a row? The Des Moines Register says they have identified six coin flips through social media and one in an interview with a caucus participant. Of those seven, Clinton was the apparent winner of six. It’s unknown if there is any overlap between the coin flips identified by the Register and the coin flips the state party confirmed. Getting weird enough yet?
The story quotes Norm Sterzenbach, a former executive director of the party who said he would have caucused for Hillary Clinton had he not been occupied with other political responsibilities, he says that it’s highly unlikely the coin flips had an impact on the caucuses final outcome. That should be reassuring to Sanders supporters.
“The data we have suggest the game of chance was a rare occurrence and of the data we have, Sanders won the majority of those delegates that were chosen through the game of chance,” Sterzenbach said.
But in a story on NPR published today they spoke with an Iowa Democratic Party official who told them there were at least a dozen tiebreakers — and “Sen. Sanders won at least a handful.” Would have been nice if that source could have been a little clearer.
Also adding to the mystery today was a crazy piece of verbiage in the Iowa Democratic Party Delegate Selection Plan.
I’d be lying if I said I didn’t read that one a hundred times myself today trying to make sure I understood the intent. It’s hard to imagine that they actual mean if you lose you win but really at this point nothing would surprise me.
So what we know is that no one seems to know just how many coin tosses there were. Yes, there a good many questions that deserve answering. Why are there no clear answers? Why wasn’t this discussed ahead of time?
To answer the first question, officials who reported county delegate totals without using the party’s smartphone app weren’t required to signify if the win was the result of a coin toss, said Lau. To answer the second part of the question, it seems like there was a lack of preparation, which is totally unacceptable when the whole world had it’s eyes fixed on Iowa.
More on this story as it comes in.
If you have any videos of the coin tosses, feel free to send to firstname.lastname@example.org