Washington : In a stunning upset, Senator Ted Cruz beat controversial Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump in the crucial Iowa caucuses while Democrat Hillary Clinton eked out a victory over Bernie Sanders as the race for the White House began.
45-year-old Texas Senator Cruz bagged 28 per cent of the total votes with a lead of over 6,000 votes against Trump’s 24 per cent; the depth of support for Cruz was from evangelical Christians. Among the Democrats, it was razor-thin contest between Clinton and Sanders, with the former Secretary of State bagging 50 per cent votes and edging out her rival who secured 49 per cent votes. Iowa Democratic Party declared 68-year-old Clinton as the winner of the cliffhanger. Clinton, who is aiming to become the first woman president of the US, ran neck and neck with Sanders throughout the counting of votes. Sanders had trailed behind Clinton by more than 20 points several weeks ago.
Referring to the next primary destinations of New Hampshire and South Carolina, Trump exuded confidence over winning the party’s nomination. “I love you people. I love you people,” a subdued-sounding Trump unconvincingly told a crowd of Iowans. “We will go on to get the Republican nomination, and we will go on to easily beat Hillary or Bernie or whoever the hell they throw out there.”
Cruz, in his Iowa victory speech, said, “Tonight is the victory for Claiming victory, Clinton said it is rare to have a real contest of ideas. “I am a progressive and want to get things done for the people. Status quo is not good enough,” she said with her husband and the former president Bill Clinton and daughter Chelsea Clinton standing by her side.
Clinton reiterated her ambition to make US the clean energy super power of the world, and protect the rights of women and immigrants and stand up to the strong gun lobby. She also lashed out at the divisive policies of the Republican candidates. From Iowa, the race to the White House now moves to New Hampshire where the primaries are scheduled for February 9 and then to South Carolina. In both the states, Trump is leading by a huge margin in latest opinion polls.
IN the coming months, the other 49 states as well as US territories will vote for the party nominees. Each state’s delegates will be tallied and a nominee will become apparent towards the middle of the year. In November, the US will pick the next President who will assume office in January, 2017. .