Case study The Iowa Caucus 2020

Iowa is famous as the first caucus and the first event in candidate selection race- it brings the invisible primary to an end. But caucuses are complicated and arcane. Iowa has gone first in the Democratic race for nearly 50 years, and the winner gets an enviable media spotlight and much-needed momentum. Since 2000 every Democrat who has won Iowa went on to win the nomination. But the system is also criticised for giving disproportionate power to a tiny state that is 90% white and largely rural, and is unrepresentative of the Democratic party as a whole. Basically voters gather in school halls, churches, libraries and other places and divide up into groups to show their support for each candidate. There are two rounds of voting and then the proportion of votes is converted into a number of delegates. The number of delegates nationwide eventually decides who will be the candidate.

The results should have been known overnight when local party chiefs sent their results back to the Iowa party.

For the first time, the two rounds of voting were set to be announced as well as the final delegate count.

And to help with this the party gave their local representatives a mobile app to use to report their results. Too many of them seem to have had trouble using the app, so some switched to the phone line, which became overwhelmed.

In the end, after a long delay- Pete Buttigieg narrowly beat Bernie Sanders- It was bad for Biden but he bounced back on Super Tuesday. Calls to end the caucus method increased.