It is uplifting to see that Americans believe in democracy, as demonstrated at the Iowa caucus, which was by no means won by Donald Trump.

Republicans were delighted to eventually have this long and difficult campaign behind them.

Hillary Clinton’s joy was a little subdued due to Sen. Sanders winning only slightly less support from Democratic voters. In fact, Sanders had every reason to be pleased, considering that a few months back, no one believed he had any chance.

Naturally, the Iowa caucus is not the national party conventions, which will have the final say and officially nominate the Republican and Democratic presidential candidates. The point of this current, first stage of the presidential campaign is to choose the best out of all competing candidates. The primaries are about selecting delegates to the U.S. Congress, who represent the candidates with the highest number of votes in individual states.

Ted Cruz received the highest number of votes in Iowa, followed by real estate magnate Donald Trump, and then Marco Rubio, who is considered by many American commentators to be the best Republican presidential candidate. The dominance of Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton over old-style Socialist Bernie Sanders — slightly reminiscent of the current British Labour Party leader, Jeremy Corbyn — was only minimal.

Does this mean that Clinton and Cruz will face each other in the final battle for the White House during the actual election? It is not at all certain. It is not hard to notice that the atmosphere of the current campaign is bitter, emotional and unpredictable. The common enemy for all Republican and Democratic candidates is the media. The media can be blamed for any issue or problem regarding the image of the candidate, his or her party, the government or even the entire country. “We will change it,” pledge all the candidates.

The Washington elites could also be blamed, if not for the fact that Hillary Clinton and her husband are full members of that establishment, which is so hated by small-town America. In this regard, the U.S. campaign is similar to European ones. The voters are bitter, bored and tired of politicians who become media celebrities.

However, they do show a passion for the election and enthusiastically welcome surprises, such as the comeback of the well-known Sarah Palin, who supported Trump and might even become his candidate for vice president, should this master of populism win the Republican presidential nomination — though not many believe he will.

Nevertheless, populism is an integral part of the politics of American elections. While populism in European politics would rather discredit a candidate, it does not seem to bother the U.S., where democracy has been continually practiced for the last 200 years, and where people can rarely be fooled by politicians’ crude tricks, fighting to be in power.