Coin flips in the Iowa caucus are again enraging everybody

It's happened before.

Feb 3, 2020, 10:54 pm

Tech

Andrew Wyrich 

Andrew Wyrich

Coin Flip Iowa Caucus Democrats

Nicu Buculei/Flickr (CC-BY-SA)

As people continue to wait for results from tonight’s Iowa caucuses, some people are bringing attention to results from the caucus that were decided by a coin flip.

However, for Iowa caucuses, a coin flip decision is nothing new.

Breaking delegate ties has always been done this way, and getting upset about it is just as important a tradition.

In at least one instance on Monday night, a coin flip decided the count between Pete Buttigieg and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), who were tied in the number of people caucusing for them.

Ultimately, Buttigieg won the coin flip.

Similar coin flips happened with Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and former Vice President Joe Biden and between Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Sen. Elizabeth Warren.

However, as the Des Moines Register points out, coin flips were also used to decide ties between Sanders and Hillary Clinton during the 2016 Iowa caucus.

The Atlantic noted at the time that a coin flip was needed several times, with more than 12 delegates being awarded to candidates based on the flip of a coin. The news outlet added that the use of a coin has “a long history in deciding close electoral contests in the U.S.”

The Clinton coin flips became a long-standing election conspiracy. Although it was frequently reported that Clinton won six of the six needed coin flips in 2016, the initial report, from the Des Moines Register, missed a few Sanders coin-toss wins, according to the Washington Post.

The ratio of Clinton to Sanders wins was closer to 50-50.

Of course, the coin flips for Clinton and Sanders in 2016 drew a lot of attention because the margins in Iowa were razor-thin.

Election results from Iowa still aren’t in, so it’s unclear if these flips will become a matter of importance, but they certainly have already drawn voters’ ire.

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*First Published: Feb 3, 2020, 10:54 pm