Newspapers took advantage of Sen. Ted Cruz’s victory in Monday’s Iowa caucuses to poke fun at Donald Trump, but social media users focused on coin tosses.
In the GOP race, Cruz secured eight convention delegates during the caucuses, with 28 percent of the votes. Donald Trump placed second with 24 percent,
netting seven delegates, and Marco Rubio grabbed 23 percent of the votes, along with seven delegates.
The Democrats’ race was much closer—about half and half. Bernie Sanders, who received 49.6 percent of the votes, declared the race “a virtual tie.”
However, Hillary Clinton—who received 49.9 percent of the votes—won the remaining delegates in Iowa counties where there was a deadlock. The deciding
factor: a coin toss.
According to an obscure Democratic party rule, a coin flip can be called upon if the result is a tie. The toss was used in a handful of precincts to decide
how to award the number of delegates to the county convention.
The Washington Post reported that Clinton won at least six precincts by coin tosses and said that determining a winner by such means can happen in most other states:
Anyone who might want to tsk-tsk Iowa should note: It isn’t the only state to invoke chance procedures to decide close elections. In fact, 35 states do, by
one Washington Post tally
conducted in 2014.
A Twitter user’s video of one of the coin tosses has been making its round on the Internet—as well as in several news publications:
Members of Clinton’s team—who have been active on social media, even during GOP debates— took to Twitter to celebrate her victory, tweeting quotes from her speech, along with thanks:
However, many Twitter users turned to the platform to criticize the way the Democratic Iowa caucuses were decided:
has been silent on Twitter since the results were declared, though The Guardian reported that he called for the raw vote count to be released.
“I honestly don’t know what happened,” Sanders said. “I know there are some precincts that have still not reported. I can only hope and expect that the
count will be honest,” he said. “I have no idea. Did we win the popular vote? I don’t know, but as much information as possible should be made available.”
RELATED: Join speechwriters for three U.S. presidents in our executive comms and speechwriters conference in Washington, D.C.
Several publications have clarified what the coin tosses meant for the presidential candidates—and said that they were not used to decide whether Clinton
or Sanders would win a state or national convention delegate.
Instead, each coin flip determined which candidate received the one remaining slot in that precinct to send a delegate to attend its county convention.
reporter Issie Lapowsky further explained:
The delegates that were awarded last night do not go straight on to the Democratic Party convention this summer. Instead, they go on to their county
convention, where the large group of delegates is whittled down. That group goes on to the district convention, gets whittled down again, and goes on to
the state convention. It’s at the state convention that the final delegates—called state delegates—are awarded.
There were 1,681 Democratic caucuses in Iowa on Monday night, and more than half used Microsoft’s new reporting app. Within that half, only seven county
delegates were chosen via a coin flip. CNN pointed out that it’s incorrect to
say that Clinton won each flip:
Of the seven coin flips/games of chance that were held in precincts using the Microsoft app, six of those were flips to determine whether a county delegate
slot went to Clinton or Sanders. Of those six Clinton-vs.-Sanders coin flips, Sanders won five and Clinton one. The seventh coin flip was used to determine
whether a county delegate slot went to Sanders or Martin O'Malley. Sanders won that coin flip as well. So in the seven coin flips that the Iowa Democratic
Party has a record of, Sanders won six of them.
Caucus results are also reported as state, not county, delegates. Wired reported, “Clinton beat Sanders by nearly four state delegate