Clinton just takes Democrat vote as race for the White House kicks off in Iowa

With close to 100% of all results in, America’s two main parties have begun the process of selecting their candidates for the 2016 Presidential election.

The Republicans, dominated in press coverage by billionaire businessman Donald Trump, served up the surprise of the Iowa caucus, selecting right-wing evangelical Texas Senator Ted Cruz. His 27.7% of the votes represented a comfortable margin over Trump’s 24.3%. Trump will accept the defeat better than Marco Rubio, Senator for Florida, polling 23.1% – a sign perhaps that Trump’s theatrics are not as popular with voters as his huge rallies suggest.

Cruz has been criticised in recent weeks for his stance on the war against the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), especially his continued use of the term ‘carpet bombing’, which can be interpreted as indiscriminate. Pushed to clarify his position a Republican debate in December, Cruz said, “You would carpet-bomb where ISIS [ISIL] is, not a city, but the location of the troops. You use air power directed — and you have embedded special forces to [direct] the air power. But the object isn’t to level a city. The object is to kill the ISIS terrorists.”

Trump has simply said that his policy is to “bomb the shit” out of ISIL. He has also said, “Now we go in, we knock the hell out of them, take the oil, we thereby take their wealth. They have so much money.”

The Democrat vote was a much tighter two horse race, with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton edging reformist Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. Clinton is widely-held to be the candidate to consolidate Obama’s 8 year legacy, whereas Sanders has surprised many with his radical plans for healthcare and economic reform.

In Iowa, the candidates’ policy towards Iraq has focused on the past rather than the present – Sanders, more comfortable discussing domestic economic policy, has consistently hit Clinton over her voting record for the war in 2003. “I voted against the war in Iraq … Hillary Clinton voted for the war in Iraq.”

The next two races are in New Hampshire and South Carolina.