Trump is the real winner after Iowa caucus confusion, Republican strategist says

With no Dem caucus winner, GOP claims victory

Amid Democratic fallout over the unknown results from the Iowa caucus, one clear winner emerges, according to CBS News political contributor Terry Sullivan: President Donald Trump. The technical errors preventing votes from being counted has left 2020 Democrats squabbling over who came out on top Monday night.

"This is a big blow for the Democrat party and the entire process," Sullivan, who managed Marco Rubio's 2016 campaign, told "CBS This Morning." "If they screw up in Iowa, how do we know that New Hampshire is going to be better? How do we know that South Carolina will be right?"

CBS News political contributor Robby Mook, who was also Hillary Clinton's campaign manager, pointed out that the difference lies in the organization structure. Whereas the Iowa caucuses are run by political operatives, Mook said New Hampshire and South Carolina's primary elections are run by state officials.

Mook went a step further and predicted the chaos spelled the end for party-run caucuses in general.

"I think it's time for us to really question whether operatives should be running these, or actual election officials," Mook said. "I think this needs to be left to the pros, and we're seeing here now every vote should be cast and counted. We're running into problems where maybe the technology is an issue, the ballots are an issue – let's just leave this to professionals."

Sullivan called the process a "total goat rodeo – crazy to watch but nobody knows what's going on."

When asked about the controversy stirred by both Pete Buttigieg and Bernie Sanders declaring victory, Sullivan labeled the moves "smart."

"Fake it til you make it," he said. "Go out, declare victory early, and then move on to New Hampshire. Then when they come out with the results later today and say 'well, you were actually in second place,' who cares?"

"The results are now meaningless," he added.

Mook said the lack of results actually benefits some campaigns, like that of Joe Biden, whose hopes to sweep the caucus looked dim on Monday.

"I think this was good for Biden inasmuch as we saw maybe he was coming in third, fourth place, or something like that. Now he's no place, and that's better," Mook said.

He explained that Democratic primary candidates who were not expecting high outcomes in the caucus are no longer weighed down by ranking systems that would have reflected their low performance in Iowa. "If you were lower on those tiers, it's a good thing for you."

As to what the lasting effects of the fallout could be on the Democratic pool, Mook dismissed the notion that it was a significant blow.

"I think we're going to get through this and move on," he predicted. "You've got to keep moving forward."