Northwestern students respond to Iowa caucus results


Source: Yin Bogu/Xinhua/Zuma Press/TNS

Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz celebrates with supporters in Des Moines, Iowa, after winning the Iowa Republican caucus on Monday, Feb. 1, 2016.

David Fishman, Reporter

Northwestern Students for Hillary did not sleep in Sunday, instead waking up early to canvass in Iowa a day before the nation’s first caucuses, where Texas Sen. Ted Cruz triumphed and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton tied.

Cruz beat out businessman Donald Trump by a margin of 3 percent. Across the aisle, Clinton and Sanders were locked in a razor-tight race as of early Tuesday morning. With 99 percent of precincts reporting for the Democratic Party, Clinton held 49.9 percent of the vote compared to 49.6 percent for Sanders.

“The aura of inevitability that Donald Trump was going to be the nominee is definitely going to go away,” College Republicans president Harrison Flagler said. “Tonight is the first time in his whole campaign where it looks like his momentum is going to be stopped and he’s going to have to pull out some more tricks.”

College Republicans did not send anyone to Iowa, Flagler, a Weinberg senior, said. Instead, the group will meet Tuesday night to discuss the caucus and its implications on the upcoming election. Flagler said by Monday, the Republican field had been reduced to three viable candidates — Trump, Cruz and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio — cutting out everyone else.

“Rubio exceeded expectations and had a stellar night, finishing right behind Trump in third place,” said Weinberg sophomore Chris Dungey, chairman of NU Students for Rubio. “With the college environment in Iowa, Rubio really appealed to the younger generations, because he’s youthful, energetic and motivated.”

Members of Students for Hillary, the NU group that supports Clinton, convened early Sunday morning and rode on a bus sponsored by Chicago Clinton supporters to Davenport, Iowa, a key stop in the campaign’s drive for support.

“We knew that if we wanted to make an impact on the early states and how they voted that Iowa would be the ideal place to go,” said Weinberg senior Kevin Cheng, co-president of Students for Hillary. “Back in 2012 we went to Iowa to support President Obama in his reelection bid and we had a lot of fun doing that. We knew it would be a successful model to repeat this time around.”

Upon arrival, Cheng said the group linked up with Clinton staffers and spread out across the neighborhood. For about three hours, students knocked on doors of local Democrats, looking for last minute supporters.

Hillary fans were not the only blue-supporters traveling from NU to Iowa this past weekend. Alec D’Alelio, a SESP freshman, traveled to the Hawkeye State to hear candidate Sanders speak at the University of Iowa pre-caucus rock ’n’ roll rally. The assemblage drew about a half-dozen celebrities including “Hunger Games” actor Josh Hutcherson and rock band Vampire Weekend, who performed a rendition of the national folk song “This Land Is Your Land.”

“You can’t go see Bernie speak and not come out of it thinking he supports all Americans from all walks of life, races and sexual orientations,” D’Alelio said. “He’s really for the people. He’s really for everybody.”

Both parties have been presented with unusual developments this election cycle, said former College Democrats president Quentin Heilbroner.

“The American public in general is really tired of anything that reeks establishment,” the Weinberg senior said. “That’s why Hillary Clinton is having so much trouble with the nomination.”

Heilbroner said he thought Sanders spoke from the heart, but Clinton presented concrete plans with a clear path to success. Regardless, he said, tonight showed that Sanders would not be going away anytime soon.

“It’s going to be an incredible, wild race for the Democratic party,” he said.

With Iowa in the rearview mirror, candidates look ahead to the next Republican debate on Feb. 6, the next Democratic debate on Feb. 11 and the nation’s first primary in New Hampshire on Feb. 9.

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