Iowa in Disarray: This Week in the 2020 Race

What a week. Let’s get right to it.

You probably thought we’d know who won Iowa by now. So did we.

But the Iowa Democratic Party — newly tasked with releasing multiple sets of results — failed to release any on caucus night, then dripped them out slowly over the rest of the week.

A tenth of a percentage point separates Pete Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Ind., and Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, and there are enough reports of number discrepancies that The Associated Press said it couldn’t make a final call.

But the picture looks roughly like this: Mr. Buttigieg and Mr. Sanders functionally tied at 26 percent apiece in the state delegate count, Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts in third with 18 percent, former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. in fourth with 16 percent and Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota in fifth with 12 percent.

An extremely bare-bones version of what happened is this:

Iowans showed up at more than 1,600 caucus sites on Monday, including some “satellite” locations outside official precincts. The actual caucusing went pretty normally. But when precinct officials tried to report their results to the state party, they ran into a slew of problems with a new app created for that purpose. The app fell apart, phone lines were jammed, math errors were made, and the party — which had to tabulate and reconcile not one but three sets of results — was overwhelmed.

The full situation is too complex to summarize here, but we and our colleagues have written numerous explainers to get you up to speed on every aspect of the breakdown and its ramifications.

Meanwhile, believe it or not, there will be a primary in New Hampshire in three days. And a lack of results in Iowa did not stop the Democratic candidates from heading straight to the Granite State to make their case to voters. In fact, the confused state of the race may be the reason no one dropped out, as low performers often do after Iowa.

The turmoil in Iowa led to discord in New Hampshire. Mr. Sanders sniped at party officials and complained vociferously about debate rules set by the D.N.C. that open a path for Michael R. Bloomberg, the billionaire former mayor of New York, to qualify for the upcoming Nevada debate. He also swiped at Mr. Buttigieg over his reliance on wealthy donors.

And Mr. Sanders is not the only candidate to sharpen his attacks. Mr. Biden has begun directly criticizing both Mr. Buttigieg and Mr. Sanders in a revamped stump speech.

Conversely, Ms. Warren is reiterating her message about being able to unify the Democratic Party.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Mr. Buttigieg and Mr. Sanders were the biggest targets in Friday night’s debate, the eighth of the Democratic race.

Several of the more moderate candidates said Mr. Sanders was too far left to win the general election — not at all a new criticism, but one that got more sustained attention on Friday — while others attacked Mr. Buttigieg’s limited experience in government.

Former Representative Joe Walsh ended his G.O.P. primary campaign against President Trump on Friday after getting just 1.1 percent support in the Republican caucuses in Iowa. That leaves Mr. Trump with only one primary challenger, former Gov. William F. Weld of Massachusetts, who got 1.3 percent support.

Mr. Walsh, who made his name as part of the Tea Party movement and supported Mr. Trump in 2016 before concluding that he was a “con man,” had hoped his defection would encourage other Republicans to follow, our colleague Annie Karni wrote.

But it didn’t, as we saw when we went to two Republican caucus sites on Monday night.

Mr. Walsh has now concluded that “nobody can beat Trump in a Republican primary,” as he wrote in a Washington Post op-ed. “Not just because it’s become his party, but because it has become a cult, and he’s a cult leader. He doesn’t have supporters; he has followers. And in their eyes, he can do no wrong.”

Because so much of the Democratic race has been focused on domestic policy, we asked the candidates to weigh in on several foreign policy issues, ranging from Israel and Iran to cybersecurity and the appropriate use of military force.

You can read what we found here. And if you want to dig in deeper, we published the candidates’ full responses to every question in an interactive that you can sort by person or by topic.

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