The delayed results of the Iowa caucuses and discrepancies within the data have led to a backlash against Iowa Democrats and scrutiny of all parties involves. Although 3 percent of the precincts have yet to be reported and it's a tight race, Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders declared victory in the Iowa caucuses in a Thursday press conference, Newsweek reports.
The Vermont senator claimed he led the popular initial vote by approximately 6,000 voters and suggested that he defeated his closest competitor, Pete Buttigieg, who controversially declared victory in the state before the official results were released.
"When 6,000 more people come out for you in an election than your nearest opponent, we here in Northern New England call that a victory," he said.
Sanders also acknowledged that he or Buttigieg could end up gaining more state delegate equivalents — though probably not many.
"This difference, no matter who inches ahead in the end, is meaningless because we are both likely to receive the same number of national delegates to the Democratic National Convention in Milwaukee. I think right now, it's at about 11 each. It'll probably go up a bit. Those national delegates, not the state delegates are the ones that really matter in the nominating process."The 78-year-old politician also touched on the delayed process, which he said was "unfair" to Iowans, the presidential candidates, and their supporters. Per a report from The New York Times, the results were riddled with inconsistencies, with some self-reported precinct data — including that from Black Hawk County — differing from the information released by the Iowa Democrats.
According to the publication, there is no evidence that the discrepancies were intentional.Even more concerning, a ProPublica report found that the Iowa caucuses app could have been hacked. While there is no evidence that hackers were able to manipulate the results, the app was reportedly vulnerable due to a lack of critical safeguards.
The Iowa Democratic Party received a great deal of criticism amid the delays. Progressive commentator Krystal Ball took particular aim at their lack of transparency, noting they did not reveal any of the reasoning behind the gradual release of results.
Ball noted the alleged connection between the caucus app developer, Shadow, and the liberal firm ACRONYM, suggesting that the process is rigged against Sanders. She also pointed to the recent Des Moines Register poll that reportedly spiked after pressure from Buttigieg's campaign.
Sanders is currently campaigning in New Hampshire ahead of the state's upcoming primary.