Primaries in Iowa: what remains after the chaos?

After technical mishaps led to delays in the vote count, the first results of the Democratic primaries have emerged in the US state of Iowa, with Pete Buttigieg minimally ahead of Bernie Sanders. The decision was based on hundreds of sometimes tiny party alliances. Some journalists are shocked by the chaos. Others prefer to focus on the candidates.

Open/close all quotes
Kurier (AT) /

Deservedly mocked for incompetence

Talk about a false start, Kurier groans:

“It would have been impossible to begin the first round of the US presidential elections on a more tragicomic note. Although it was only Democrats against Democrats in Iowa (the start of their candidates' campaign to be presidential candidate), they managed to lose anyway. The vote counting ended in utter chaos and was delayed for hours on end. Who emerges as the winner is of no consequence now. The opposition, which aims to drive Donald Trump out of the White House, has suffered its first defeat - and it is quite rightly a laughing stock. How can it be expected to lead the country if it can't even organise a primary.”

Corriere della Sera (IT) /

Unparalleled own goal for the Democrats

The chaos also highlights the absurdity of an archaic electoral process, complains US correspondent Massimo Gaggi in Corriere della Sera:

“In order to preserve the historical patina that has so far enabled this state, buried deep in America's vast prairies, to play a central role as a forerunner in the presidential elections, the process was never reformed in Iowa. A cumbersome procedure to which a sloppy and lazy party organisation has indiscriminately added various inadequately tested technologies. The Democratic Party is famous for its organisational own goals, but what happened in Iowa is beyond belief.”

Aftonbladet (SE) /

Sanders is not a serious contender

Aftonbladet focuses on the candidates' prospects rather than the general chaos in Iowa:

“Bernie Sanders is a 78-year-old white man with a political agenda that is hardly viable. With an agenda set to hit the oil industry and employers hard, Sanders also has powerful forces against him. Moreover, he is far removed from the trends swaying average Americans that made Donald Trump president in the last elections. It is therefore difficult to see how Sanders could be a serious rival for Trump. And this in turn makes Joe Biden the most sensible choice as Trump's opponent.”

Gazeta Wyborcza (PL) /

Pete Buttigieg is a better Biden

Gazeta Wyborcza, by contrast, sees Pete Buttigieg as the most promising candidate:

“He invested almost all of his team's resources in the Iowa primary, assembling an army of volunteers and travelling around the state for months. If he hadn't done well here his chances of securing the office would be considerably lower. But things have turned out differently and the 38-year-old has become a moderate alternative to Joe Biden, who performed unexpectedly poorly. Buttigieg has many advantages. He is an exceptionally gifted speaker, he has a knack for exaggeration and he is well educated (Harvard and Oxford degrees). Liberal Americans like the idea that their country could have an openly gay president, while conservatives appreciate his service in Afghanistan.”

De Standaard (BE) /

An exultant Trump

US President Donald Trump will have the last laugh, De Standaard observes:

“The Democrats need dynamism, enthusiasm and high voter turnout to defeat Donald Trump in the November election. It's only February now. But after the Democratic debacle in Iowa, the president is not feeling seriously threatened. On the contrary, he even took advantage of the moment and held his State of the Union address last night. ... There was never any real doubt that he would use his speech to campaign in this election year. Its title was 'The Great American Comeback'. And today we'll inevitably see another moment of triumph for Trump: when the Senate votes on his impeachment.”