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Bernie Sanders Just Proved He's The Real Deal In The Iowa Caucuses

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Update Tuesday 8:05 am EST:

Hillary Clinton won the Democratic Iowa caucuses by less than one percent -- a very narrow victory.

On the Democratic side, a "historically close" night #IowaCaucuspic.twitter.com/7cadhNo18C — TODAY (@TODAYshow) February 2, 2016

When Senator Bernie Sanders announced he's running for president, a lot of people laughed it off.

But a self-declared democratic socialist from Vermont just defied expectations as he's locked in a tie with Hillary Clinton in the Democratic Iowa caucuses (the final results are not yet known).

Latest #IowaCaucus numbers as of 12:10 a.m. ET have Clinton and Sanders in a tie - UPDATES: https://t.co/IdEwC8mLiN pic.twitter.com/zYAwhAqaaU — NBC Nightly News (@NBCNightlyNews) February 2, 2016

Indeed, it seems many Democrats in Iowa are feeling the Bern.

The outcome tonight proves Sanders poses a major challenge to Hillary Clinton's campaign, even as many contended he'd never be able to compete with her.

This is a massive political achievement for Sanders, and it provides his campaign with decidedly more credibility.

Sanders can view this as a moral victory as he heads into the first-in-the-nation primary in New Hampshire, where he's poised to do very well.

As Sanders put it during an impassioned speech late on Monday night,

Tonight, while the results are still not known, it looks like we are in a virtual tie... I think the people of Iowa have sent a very profound message to the political establishment, economic establishment and to the media establishment. Given the enormous crises facing our country, it is just too late for establishment politics and establishment economics. What the American people have said... is that we can no longer continue to have a corrupt campaign finance system... The American people are saying no to a rigged economy... What Iowa has begun tonight is a political revolution.

Sander's anti-establishment, populist rhetoric is making huge waves, and his success on Monday night is emblematic of this.

*The* biggest winner of #IowaCaucus: 3.5 million people--average donation $27--donating to @BernieSanders campaign. @emergingUS — Jose Antonio Vargas (@joseiswriting) February 2, 2016

It also seems Sanders did much better than Hillary with younger voters in Iowa.

As the largest voting bloc in the nation, Millennials could have a major impact on the 2016 presidential election. Doing well with young voters will be crucial to any candidate's success this year.

Moral of the story is that Clinton is going to have to focus on earning young voters' trust and support. #iacaucus — Elizabeth Plank (@feministabulous) February 2, 2016

Any way you look at it, Sanders had a huge and energizing night in Iowa on Monday.