Breaking down the Iowa caucuses, where Democratic race could go from here: Part 2

"Nightline" co-host Byron Pitts holds a roundtable discussion with ABC News political director Rick Klein and contributors Matt Dowd and Yvette Simpson about what the Iowa caucus results mean.
5:26 | 02/04/20

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Transcript for Breaking down the Iowa caucuses, where Democratic race could go from here: Part 2
Back now with our powerhouse political team, ready to break down tonight's Iowa caucus. Here in New York I'm joined by Yvette Simpson, ABC news contributor and CEO of democracy for America. And in Des Moines, Iowa Rick Klein, ABC news political director, joins us again. Tonight the first major contest in the presidential election. And we have this delay in results. So what's next? Rick, my first question to you, what's the latest there in des Moines and what do we know about the delay? Results? Well, we know that the Iowa democratic party has at least partial results but they've decided not to release them right now because they're concerned about guaranteeing the integrity of that. In fact, at least one of the campaigns, Joe Biden's campaigns, has warned they don't want to see the results released until they have a chance to review it. We're in a bit of a holding pattern. We also know there are a whole bunch of pieces of the results that have not even made it into headquarters. We're told there are skreeb shots being texted, in some cases they're driving over handwritten notes to get them accepted at headquarters. But we don't know if it's all being compiled. 1600 pierces of information the party has to put together and right now still nothing has come out. Yvette, I think the technical definition for this is a mess. Now, the Iowa voting system changes, as you know, after 2016, but made tonight more complicated. Yes? What will the fallout be? I think this first and second alignment made it a little you've got a lot more people in this contest. You've got folks who are aligned with one person. People are rallying folks to another person. All about those contingencies can make it much more challenging. And it sounds like they were using a new system which also makes it very challenging. This is a rough start, Byron, to the start of the democratic nomination system for us. It is not a good start. Just coming out of this dpr poll that always has some inconsistencies. So we didn't even have that poll going into today. Which typically is an indicator of who we think is going to be kind of the front-runner coming out of Iowa. So it's a real challenge. Yvette, this is a question for both of you, and Rick. There's an argument to be made tonight, one could say, that there was one big winner tonight and perhaps one big loser. The winner, Donald Trump. The loser, the democratic party. Yeah, I wouldn't disagree with that. I feel like it's a worst anytime for them, Byron. They have to deal with an utter debacle and also pick up the pieces right now and Donald Trump gets to stir the pot and suggest there is something untoward going on behind the curtains. And as Yvette knows there's a lot of people in the democratic party who might believe there are real problems in the democratic establishment. Donald Trump laughing on the sidelines. Yvette, what say you? You know, a couple things. One, the timing couldn't be Donald Trump gets to address the nation tomorrow at the state of the union. You best believe this is going to come up. And he's going to talk about the Democrats don't have their stuff together, how it's a mess, how it's a debacle. He's going to call people names. He's going to be throwing stuff out. We really don't need that right now. Also you've got a lot of people who don't have a trust right now in the system at all. We had interference in 2016. People already don't trust the system. This is our first contest. People are worried that they go out and they cast their vote and it's not going to count. The real challenge was people expected this caucus, which is kind of low tech, to be free of Russian interference and there still was issues with it. And going forward we don't know how to recover from that. We need to restore the trust of people in our electoral system, and we're going to have a good election going into November. Rick, we saw earlier this evening that all the candidates gave victory speeches and they're all getting on planes headed to New Hampshire. So who has what heading into new Hampshire? Well, I think no one has momentum for starters. The first contest is essentially going to be Iowa. Even if we get a winner in Iowa at some point in the next day or two, and I presume at some point they'll have the vote count, they're going to lose -- they've already lost news cycles with the ongoing debacle. The state of the union looming. All of that is going N. To be in the mix and the mess of the next contest in New Hampshire. So there will be candidates who complain about that for some time. I feel like this just exacerbates the problems the Democrats have had for a long time in terms of the divisions because everyone can walk away as a candidate, believing certain things, be believing certain things, and no clarity whatsoever. Iowa, which has had this great winnowing effect knocking out a whoep whole bunch of candidates including candidates of color, ends up telling us probably nothing. Yvette, there's all this talk for years about all the energy in the democratic party to go after president trump 37 but yet we didn't see a record turnout today in Iowa. What does it say to you? I don't know. One of the encouraging things I think out of this year's caucus was that we heard there were a number of folks who were first-time caucusgoers or younger caucusgoers in Iowa. I think that's great. The fact we're engaging young and new voters in the process. But Donald up there expected we'd get people riled up and we'd see this increasing turnout and we didn't see it. I think it's not a good sign we're not seeing large increases, numbers like we saw in 2008 and maybe even 2012. It's a problem. Yvette Simpson, Rick Klein, thank you both so much.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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