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February 3, 2016

Cornellians React to Monday Night Iowa Caucus Results

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“If you had bet me one year ago that a self-proclaimed democratic socialist would virtually tie Hillary Clinton in Iowa, I would be a very poor man right now,” said Gabriel Kaufman ’18.

The Sun spoke with a series of interested students to gauge their reactions to Monday night’s Iowa caucus.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-T.X.) placed first in the Republican race, beating out frontrunner and controversial contender Donald Trump. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-F.L.) performed better than projected, finishing third among the Republicans. In the Democratic race, Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-V.T.) ended in a virtual tie, with Clinton ultimately winning by 0.3 percent, according to The New York Times.

William Bristow ’16, president of Cornell Democrats, spoke about the competition between Sanders and Clinton, saying his organization is “proud to see a serious, respectful debate between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders on issues that matter to the American people.”

Rebecca Saber ’18, the founder of the Facebook page, Hillary for America at Cornell University, said she was disappointed by Sanders’ proximity to Clinton in Iowa, but attributed some of his success to the state’s makeup.

“I’m a huge Hillary supporter, so obviously I was slightly disappointed by the results,” Saber said. “But at the same time, I did expect Iowa to be a tight race for Sanders and Clinton because of the demographics in the state.”

While Bristow said the the debate between Clinton and Sanders is “contentious,” he called the liberal race a “stark contrast to the name-calling, obscene brawl on the Republican side.”

On the other side of the aisle, several Republican students at Cornell expressed relief that leading Republican candidate Donald Trump did not claim victory in Iowa.

“As a Republican, I am happy to see several strong candidates like Cruz and Rubio emerge from Iowa and I am even happier to see Trump defeated,” said David Navadeh ’19. “Although he has a lot of popular appeal, Trump does not represent the views of most Republicans and would make a GOP victory in November improbable.”

Many Cornellians took a hostile tone when discussing the controversial Republican frontrunner, speculating about his odds at the Republican party’s nomination and how they were affected by his fate in Iowa.

“The biggest loser [in Iowa] was Donald Trump,” said Gabriel Kaufman ’18. “His campaign has been centered on a certain triumphalism that does not mesh with coming in any place but first. Trump’s momentum took a serious blow on Monday.”

Mark LaPointe ’16, the president of Cornell Republicans, said the “Trump phenomenon” was a recurring theme of discussion at the club’s meeting this week, with attendees disagreeing on how much support, if any, to lend the candidate.

“Most voters are either strong supporters of Trump, or they wish he had no affiliations with the Republican Party,” he said. “ Some may support his policies, but ultimately it is his personality and tactics that polarizes Republicans.”

LaPointe added that he did not expect Trump to win the Republican nomination and expected to see either Cruz or Rubio facing off against Clinton or Sanders come election time.