Iowa didn’t inaugurate Clinton

Monday night’s Iowa Caucus was decisive in many regards; real estate mogul Donald Trump lost dramatically in a surprise upset by Senator Ted Cruz of Texas and several forgotten candidates promptly suspended their campaigns.

Though many claimed presidential candidate Hillary Clinton would have a similarly decisive win in Iowa, a virtual tie between Clinton and Senator Bernie Sanders has dispelled any suspicion that the nominating process would be a long walk to Clinton’s inevitable coronation.

Secretary Clinton likely had a very different kind of speech planned for Monday night, one which would have largely ignored Sanders and congratulated the Iowa voting public for overwhelmingly nominating herself as the Democratic candidate for President.

Instead, Clinton’s campaign waited with bated breath, according to one student volunteer, as the lead Clinton claimed during entrance polls slowly decreased from five points to less than half of a point.

Andaya Sugayan, who studies political science and strategic communications at Washington State University, spent the last month volunteering for Clinton in Iowa.

“It was really close,” Sugayan said of Monday’s caucus. “The most stressful part was seeing an entire month of hard work and for a lot of other campaigners almost a year of work, coming down to this one moment.”

Though the final count was incredibly close and even the Democratic Party itself could not call the race until the following afternoon, the Clinton campaign and every notable media outlet declared the former Secretary of State the victor before all votes had been tallied.

“I am so thrilled that I’m coming to New Hampshire after winning Iowa,” Secretary Clinton declared to a crowd of supporters Monday night.

Though this move did not create the devastating atmosphere it would have had she lost after such a declaration, those who acknowledge that no democratic caucus in Iowa has ever been so firmly a tie might have seen the premature declaration of victory to be hubris.

Regardless of any revealing personal moments, Clinton is in for a long race. She was unable to declare herself the obvious standard bearer and must expect not only a race for the nomination, but a battle for the soul and direction of the Democratic Party.

Though Sanders and Clinton by all measures have not resorted to the same infighting as the Republican field, it has always been reported that the two are at two ends of the liberal spectrum, one hailed for experience and the other for consistent ideological fire.

Though these descriptions are highly facile and in many ways false — Sanders has a plethora of experience and Clinton was once the one hailed for her fervor — they are the characterizations that the voting public will choose between.

Despite the anxiety of an unexpectedly close race, Sugayan isn’t faltering.

“We won out by the skin of our teeth, but that’s the great thing,” said Sugayan. “We just get to keep fighting.”

Volunteers for the Sanders campaign could not be reached for comment before this column went to print.