At the time of writing, many US publications were in various states of alarm or meltdown over controversies and delays in calculating the results of Iowa’s latest election. Iowa is not a US state I know terribly much about, and a quick Google search reduced it to “corn and state fairs”, and the “birthplace of sliced bread”. For the next few weeks, though, it is likely to be associated with tech failure and the start of what will probably feel like the longest election cycle in living memory. You see, this Iowa caucus is — as BBC News put it — “the first round in the contest to pick a Democratic candidate to face President Donald Trump”.

It is widely agreed that Trump will be the Republican candidate again, so people are keeping a closer eye on the Democratic primaries (though this isn’t one) where the potentials are duking it out for nominee status. Iowa has been first on the calendar since the 1970s and is considered a significant symbolic win, drumming up sentiment to propel...

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