" they all crowded round it, panting, and asking, `But who has won?'"
February 3, 2020 7:57 AM   Subscribe

Today, Iowa, the first state in the 2020 US Presidential Primary, will determine its delegates to the primary conventions. With the Republicans uniting around Trump, the Democratic challenger is yet to be determined...

Iowa has 41 delegates, delegated proportionally with a 15% floor. Iowa uses a caucus, where Democratic party members get together by precinct to debate, argue, cajole, and stand around to determine how their precinct will apportion its support. The Iowa caucuses, explained.

There are significant criticisms of the caucus system: The Iowa caucuses have a big accessibility problem - "The caucuses have a low turnout rate. Accessibility is a big reason."
Abolish the undemocratic Iowa caucuses - "Iowa should not be first for the presidential nominating process. Simply put, our first-in-the nation status privileges the voices of Iowans who are over 90 percent white. Additionally, the bad weather and the drawn-out process of the caucuses means the voices of disabled people, low-income, third-shift workers and parents of young kids are not included."
The Iowa Caucuses Are a Democracy Disaster
Why the Iowa caucuses matter - "It’s because people believe they do."

RESULTS (and a guide to understanding):
Des Moines Register
NPR
Washington Post

Iowa Will Have 4 Sets of Results. Here’s How The Times Will Declare a Winner.

Why the Iowa Caucus Could Have Three Winners This Year - "But the disclosure of two vote tallies and one delegate count on the night of the Feb. 3 caucuses — a move made to inject more transparency into the caucus process — is threatening to muddle the narrative coming out of Iowa. Depending on how the numbers are interpreted, there’s a scenario in which more than one candidate could claim a “win.”"

How Iowa’s Three Different Votes Could Affect Who ‘Wins’
Essentially, then, rural votes are likely to give candidates more bang for the buck in terms of state delegate equivalents. Candidates whose voters are mostly concentrated in liberal, highly populous counties are liable to underperform, conversely. There are various estimates out there as to who this is liable to help or hurt. But my read on the evidence is that Warren and to a lesser extent Sanders are likely to be hurt by it. Warren’s vote is mostly concentrated in upscale suburbs, and Sanders is hoping for big turnout surges in counties with a lot of young voters. Conversely, Klobuchar and Buttigieg have put a lot of emphasis on covering Iowa’s entire map and could benefit from this process. So could Biden, whose voters should be older, more working-class and more rural. To repeat, none of this is reflected in our model, which stops at the final alignment stage.
Iowa Caucus 2020: What to Watch For and When to Expect Results
Seven Democratic candidates are mounting competitive campaigns in Iowa. They are Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusets, former Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Ind., Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, former tech executive Andrew Yang and former hedge fund investor Tom Steyer.
posted by the man of twists and turns (2398 comments total) 43 users marked this as a favorite
 
good luck iowa we're all counting on you
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 8:18 AM on February 3 [14 favorites]


At long last, we'll hear from that most woefully underrepresented of demographics: midwestern white people without significant disabilities, young children, weird work hours, or low wages. Truly, a triumph of the democratic spirit.

Anyway, I hope Biden caucuses poorly enough that he decides to pack it in, as the spectre of him losing the general to the orange menace is keeping me up nights.
posted by Mayor West at 8:25 AM on February 3 [75 favorites]


I hate that I have to caucus tonight. I just want to vote in a normal primary system. If it was super sane, it would be ranked choice voting. And yeah, it is a trainwreck for anyone who can't stand/sit around for fuuuuuuuuucking hours.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 8:28 AM on February 3 [27 favorites]


There’s no earthly way that Biden packs it in after Iowa and NH given how strong he is in the South. It’d be political malpractice. That result wouldn’t help him by any means, but it would still signal a tough fight ahead for all sides.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 8:28 AM on February 3 [6 favorites]


This is now my tenth presidential election since I've been able to vote and I thought the primary system was screwed up in 1984 and here we are in 2020 and Iowa and New Hampshire still get to be the gatekeepers for the entire country's presidential nomination choice.
posted by octothorpe at 8:28 AM on February 3 [13 favorites]


I already thought caucuses were bad, but the process of realignment with the 15% floor (2nd link after the break) really amplifies the spoiler effect.

If Warren and Sanders are both doing pretty strongly (my hope/expectation), and hit 15%, then they're locked in, and they can't pool to beat Biden if they're looking individually weak.

I thought the advertised upside of the caucus was to allow people to reach more of a consensus? Not to lock in discord?
posted by explosion at 8:30 AM on February 3 [5 favorites]


Biden is still leading in national polls and does best versus Trump in general election polls for what it’s worth at this point (caveat: not a lot). He’s not dropping out any time soon.
posted by mbrubeck at 8:30 AM on February 3 [5 favorites]


Former Deadspinner Drew Magary's angry piece from early January deserves a mention here along with the other critical shots at the absurdly undemocratic Iowa garbage:

Fuck Iowa

The last six Democratic candidates to win these caucuses all went on to secure the nomination, with Obama’s surprise victory there 12 years ago forever cementing its importance to Democratic Party strategists who, coincidentally, tend to be 12 years behind the curve on every goddamn thing.

Meanwhile, do you know who the last three Republican winners of the Iowa caucuses were, all in years where the nomination was up for grabs? Mike Huckabee, Rick Santorum, and Ted Cruz. Three complete puds. Even among its fellow red states, Iowa has no real pull. And yet, we have to humor Iowa, home to the most nakedly racist congressman alive (and that’s saying a lot!), yet again.

posted by mediareport at 8:31 AM on February 3 [43 favorites]


Anyway, I hope Biden caucuses poorly enough that he decides to pack it in, as the spectre of him losing the general to the orange menace is keeping me up nights.

Yeah, that'll never happen. I fully expect him to come out of Iowa in the number one spot.

Really, with Iowa and NH, the point is to determine the top choices going into Super Tuesday. I don't see any huge shake-ups there, it's obviously going to be Biden, Sanders, and Warren in the top three. The results to look at, IMO, are: 1) which of the also-rans will perform poorly enough to drop out, and 2) the position of Sanders and Warren relative to Biden. The best result is that Biden wins by only a tight margin. I'd love to see somebody beat him, but it's fucking Iowa. Not gonna happen.
posted by tobascodagama at 8:33 AM on February 3 [3 favorites]


If Biden's increasingly-apparent dementia hasn't led him to pack it in, I can't imagine a second-place finish in one of the early states would be enough to do it.
posted by Greg Nog at 8:34 AM on February 3 [15 favorites]


This, from the "accessibility problem" link, is also damning:

Just 15.7 percent of Iowa’s voting-eligible population participated in the caucuses in 2016 — a fraction of the 52 percent of New Hampshire voters who turned out a week later for that state’s primary. Even during Iowa’s record-setting turnout of the 2008 elections, it was still just 16.1 percent.
posted by mediareport at 8:34 AM on February 3 [4 favorites]


The thing is, a Democratic primary in Iowa looks very different from a Republican primary in Iowa. The Iowa GOP is rabid and produces people like Steve King. The state's Democratic party is a much closer proxy for the general electorate.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 8:37 AM on February 3 [6 favorites]


I just don't see how anyone could possibly believe your third sentence.
posted by mediareport at 8:37 AM on February 3 [11 favorites]


used to be i wanted obama to tell his idiot vp to pack it in (i believe the phrase i would use most often is “collect yr boy”) but then i found out that the only legitimate american president of the 21st century is apparently most terrified of sanders getting the nomination and long story short last night i dreamed obama surprise-endorsed bloomberg of all people right before the start of the caucuses and let me tell you i was deeply relieved to find out it was just a dream hopefully
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 8:38 AM on February 3 [19 favorites]


I found out that the only legitimate American president of the 21st century is apparently most terrified of Sanders getting the nomination

Where did you find that out?
posted by octothorpe at 8:44 AM on February 3 [4 favorites]


I fully expect him to come out of Iowa in the number one spot.
Who the fuck knows what's going to happen, but I'm not seeing a ton of support for Biden. If I had to predict, I would say that Sanders gets the most delegates but not an overwhelming victory, but I'm glad I don't have to predict. The only thing I'm willing to predict is that my precinct is going to be a shit-show.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 8:45 AM on February 3 [6 favorites]


I am just so ready to go campaign and vote for whoever the nominee is. I want to upgrade from plutonium-grade nightmare to regular-disappointing-politician dream.
posted by sallybrown at 8:47 AM on February 3 [20 favorites]


I don't expect Bloomberg to gain traction, but if he does, I hope he takes the lesson that he gained followers by going hard for environmentalism and public services and by attacking regressive Republicans. If he soft-pedals at all, he's just another milquetoast white guy.

Then again, my slim hope for Trump was that he'd attempt to burnish his reputation by pushing M4A under the "Trumpcare" brand. I somehow thought his hatred of Obama would potentially lead to him trying to one-up Obama instead of undo Obama.

I gotta stop having hopes.
posted by explosion at 8:47 AM on February 3 [6 favorites]


> The thing is, a Democratic primary in Iowa looks very different from a Republican primary in Iowa. The Iowa GOP is rabid and produces people like Steve King. The state's Democratic party is a much closer proxy for the general electorate.

> I just don't see how anyone could possibly believe your third sentence.

Let's say you're out bowling some random Tuesday night. You're a very bad bowler, though. So bad that you actually let go of the ball on the backswing, it flies off and hits some dude sitting behind you square in the chest. After you check that he's OK, make your apologies and buy him a beer, you try again. This time the ball bounces out of your lane and into the next lane's gutter.

That second ball came much closer to a strike than the first ball, right?
posted by at by at 8:49 AM on February 3 [16 favorites]


I found out that the only legitimate American president of the 21st century is apparently most terrified of Sanders getting the nomination
Where did you find that out?

Establishment Dems aren't exactly in love with the party moving further left. Obama was at least circumspect in his critique, while Hilary openly picked a fight with Sanders. I don't know what the party establishment is going to do if it looks like Sanders is going to get the nod, but I don't think they're going to let it happen without a fight.
posted by Mayor West at 8:51 AM on February 3 [10 favorites]


>> i found out that the only legitimate american president of the 21st century is apparently most terrified of sanders getting the nomination

> Where did you find that out?


here. you can get more recent articles by googling “obama hates sanders.”
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 8:54 AM on February 3 [1 favorite]


Obama was at least circumspect in his critique,

His quotes seem pretty mild and it's a pretty big jump to conclude from them that he's "terrified of Sanders".
posted by octothorpe at 8:56 AM on February 3 [7 favorites]


During an Amy Klobuchar rally yesterday on CSPAN (CSPAN video 1hr31min, not really worth watching, just proof of claim made) it was stated that all caucus sites have been made ready for disability access. (It was of note because the woman responsible, Catherine Chris, has endorsed Sen. Klobuchar).
posted by phoque at 8:58 AM on February 3


here. you can get more recent articles by googling “obama hates sanders.”

I mean it might be true that that's pretty flimsy reporting there.
posted by octothorpe at 8:58 AM on February 3 [8 favorites]


it was stated that all caucus sites have been made ready for disability access
I mean, I guess, in the sense that they're all wheelchair accessible. But there are a lot of different kinds of disabilities, some of which could prevent a person from getting there at all or from staying for the multiple hours the caucuses will take. During ordinary elections, those people can vote via absentee ballot, which is not possible during caucuses. They're a disability-access nightmare, and no amount of wheelchair accessibility or sign-language interpreters can change that.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 9:15 AM on February 3 [34 favorites]


If you're in Iowa, triple check your caucus location this afternoon. I've been text banking for Sanders and there have been some location changes over the weekend.
posted by Beardman at 9:17 AM on February 3 [8 favorites]


Apparently the location changes are due to anticipating a really high turnout and more space needed, which is good. Hope everyone finds their location and has as good a caucus possible given the obscene time investment/other logistical challenges.
posted by windbox at 9:22 AM on February 3 [1 favorite]


Every four years the entire nation loves to peer at us like we're some kind of sociological petri dish and critique and criticize us and the process here, all the while couching it in stories about casseroles and a sort of "aww shucks look at the cute Iowans" tone. The new york times, who couldn't care less about Iowa at any other time, suddenly has lots to say about us.

There are lots of problems with the Iowa caucus, but many of the criticisms are from people who have never stepped foot in this state. Accessibility is a huge issue, but anyone who has been to a small town caucus knows that these things happen in communities where everyone knows each other and people help other people so that people can caucus. Businesses close, ad hoc childcare is formed, satellite locations are held in nursing homes and retirement centers. People help each other. People who don't live here and only think about us every four years don't know that not only are we pretty progressive on disability issues but we also care about each other and help our neighbors. We tried really hard this year to allow people to call in, and we were shot down by the dnc.

Iowa is super white, no doubt. Okay, so which state should go first? California is the most diverse state in the nation. But the size and media market cost of California would mean that candidates with less money would never have a shot to build a campaign. Is that more democratic? I don't know. Iowa is small, rural, and cheap and allows for candidates with less name ID and money to build a grassroots coalition. Staggered primaries are important because it strengthens campaigns and provides opportunities for candidates who don't have tons of money out of the gate. A one day primary or California first primary would favor the Bloombergs and Bidens.

I actually live in a really diverse neighborhood. I know my neighbors. Many of them are immigrants who care deeply about the future of the nation (yes we are a white state, but there are also 160+ languages spoken here and we have a small but important immigrant population). We're all going to the high school auditorium tonight. We'll catch up and complain about the snow plowing. We'll sing some songs. We'll talk about the issues we care about. We'll talk about how problematic the caucuses are. We'll eat some pretzels. I'm looking forward to it.
posted by Lutoslawski at 9:23 AM on February 3 [57 favorites]


> People who don't live here and only think about us every four years don't know that not only are we pretty progressive on disability issues but we also care about each other and help our neighbors.

I also live in a community and care about my friends and neighbors -- these qualities are not limited to small towns -- but caucusing with a toddler sucked, and caucusing with a kid with special needs sucked, and helping my elderly, blind, walker-using neighbor caucus sucked.

We don't have caucuses this year and I'm so glad. There is absolutely no way they can be considered democratic.
posted by The corpse in the library at 9:33 AM on February 3 [35 favorites]


explosion: "I already thought caucuses were bad, but the process of realignment with the 15% floor (2nd link after the break) really amplifies the spoiler effect."

Note that 15% is the (Democratic) requirement for state-wide delegates everywhere not just in caucus states.
posted by Chrysostom at 9:33 AM on February 3 [1 favorite]


Okay, so which state should go first?

I mean, the argument you made is less for Iowa to go first and more for a big and expensive state like California and Texas not to go first. If a small state with cheaper media buys is the key, then I don't see why we don't just take all the small, cheap-ad states and put them all in a hat and randomly draw one that goes first every four years. It's more fair, because at least Idaho or West Virginia will have a chance to matter in a primary season.
posted by FJT at 9:35 AM on February 3 [20 favorites]


Lutoslawski: "Iowa is super white, no doubt. Okay, so which state should go first? California is the most diverse state in the nation. But the size and media market cost of California would mean that candidates with less money would never have a shot to build a campaign. Is that more democratic? I don't know. Iowa is small, rural, and cheap and allows for candidates with less name ID and money to build a grassroots coalition. Staggered primaries are important because it strengthens campaigns and provides opportunities for candidates who don't have tons of money out of the gate. A one day primary or California first primary would favor the Bloombergs and Bidens."

Delaware is also small, and is 21% African-American.
posted by Chrysostom at 9:36 AM on February 3 [24 favorites]


Okay, so which state should go first?

A small, diverse state with a strong Democratic tradition - this is Maryland’s time to shine!
posted by sallybrown at 9:37 AM on February 3 [22 favorites]


Reminder that we could see up to three candidates declaring victory - initial numbers, numbers post-realignment, delegate equivalents.

The last is the way it's historically been reported.
posted by Chrysostom at 9:39 AM on February 3 [1 favorite]


. . . these things happen in communities where everyone knows each other and people help other people so that people can caucus. Businesses close, ad hoc childcare is formed, satellite locations are held in nursing homes and retirement centers. People help each other. People who don't live here and only think about us every four years don't know that not only are we pretty progressive on disability issues but we also care about each other and help our neighbors.

This must be one of my pet peeves because I respond to these kinds of statements a lot around here, but what you've described are human values, not Iowa values, not rural values. They do not differentiate Iowa from the rest of the voting states or urban Lagos or rural Canada. They are not a valid response to legitimate structural criticism.
posted by Think_Long at 9:42 AM on February 3 [65 favorites]


Okay, so which state should go first?

Have the first primaries - elections, not caucuses; no amount of accessibility will prevent immunocompromised people from getting the flu from people attending because it's today with no other option - happen in a handful of states at once, in different regions. Have them rotate from election to election, so all campaigning doesn't always get done in the same areas.

Split the nation into 7 regions of 7-9 states each (including the protectorates); have 3 the first week from different regions, 4 the next from the other regions; alternate until all states have voted. Next election, rotate: every state moves up one slot on the schedule.

The only reason for not having a system like that, is to reduce democratic participation by making it easy for candidates to focus on a fraction of voters who have disproportionate influence. (Kinda like caucuses, really. Whether or not people with disabilities can attend, a lot of them will not be able to influence other voters. Caucuses overwhelmingly privilege those with good social skills and high crowd tolerances.)

"But we can't have California go first! That would disrupt everything!" Over 10% of the country lives in California; what's wrong with us having occasional first say in who's running it? Put CA, TX, and NY on the schedule at once, and 1/4 of the nation's interests are covered.

(Not actually suggesting that. But it's not innately more biased than "let's start with the 30th most populous state.")

...I expect caucuses won't go away until after the first major plague outbreak can be traced to one.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 9:44 AM on February 3 [8 favorites]


The best result is that Biden wins by only a tight margin. I'd love to see somebody beat him, but it's fucking Iowa. Not gonna happen.

Sanders is going to kick his ass, which is why there is so much focus on Iowa caucuses being illegitimate.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 9:47 AM on February 3 [19 favorites]


I loved the NYT's effort today to reframe the non-representativeness of Iowa: "Iowa Population Aptly Reflects Graying of American Economy". They of course changed it online to something less garbage ("The Graying of the American Economy Is on Display in Iowa") but the efforts to bend over backwards to find some silver lining in this manifestly egregious violation of basic democratic norms recur every four years.

What's a bit more unusual this year, I think, is that Iowa has traditionally somewhat benefitted the centrist/establishment side of the party, so the critiques from that side have tended to be a bit more muted. Upstarts have definitely won, but it's often been a surprise. This is an odd year where, as of fairly recently, the upstart is the (slight) favorite, so there seems to be more elite-level critique of the process than one sometimes sees.

[Which, on preview, I guess is a more mild version of the comment immediately preceding...]
posted by chortly at 9:53 AM on February 3 [4 favorites]


There are lots of problems with the Iowa caucus, but many of the criticisms are from people who have never stepped foot in this state. Accessibility is a huge issue, but anyone who has been to a small town caucus knows that these things happen in communities where everyone knows each other and people help other people so that people can caucus. Businesses close, ad hoc childcare is formed, satellite locations are held in nursing homes and retirement centers.
Yeah, I think this is bullshit. I think this is the Hallmark Card version of Iowa, not the real thing. (And I live here and am volunteering to help run my caucus tonight.) For one thing, not everyone in Iowa lives in an idyllic small town, and the problems with the caucuses disproportionately affect urban precincts, especially in Des Moines and Johnson County. I personally know people who can't caucus because they have to work tonight. I personally know people who aren't going because they couldn't find appropriate childcare. The fancy retirement communities have satellite caucuses, but Ecumenical Towers, an apartment building for low-income seniors in the middle of Iowa City, didn't get an application in early enough and doesn't have a satellite caucus. There are real problems, and they affect my friends and neighbors, and I'm a little sick of people minimizing them because it's cool to be first in the nation or because they think, not necessarily correctly, that an anti-democratic process helps their preferred candidate.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 10:00 AM on February 3 [51 favorites]


A small, diverse state with a strong Democratic tradition - this is Maryland’s time to shine!
100%! And to prevent the "well, we'll just move our primary earlier" - just make the rule MD will primary on the earliest primary/caucus day any other state has. Iowa can still have their silly tradition, but then you can have some other states with other methods/people to give a fully picture.
posted by mincus at 10:01 AM on February 3 [1 favorite]


New Hampshire state law is that its primary is seven days before any other one, so prepare for Thunderdome.
posted by Chrysostom at 10:03 AM on February 3 [4 favorites]


@brianneDMR: "We’re here at the Ottumwa satellite precinct, which is the first Iowa precinct to caucus today. They’ll kick off at noon. So far there is a group of Ethiopian immigrants here who work at the local pork processing plant in the evenings. They like Bernie Sanders."
posted by Noisy Pink Bubbles at 10:03 AM on February 3 [19 favorites]


There are some out of state satellite caucus locations. I admit that I don't know their start times.
posted by Chrysostom at 10:05 AM on February 3 [1 favorite]


New Hampshire state law is that its primary is seven days before any other one

What happens if another state adopts the same law? Do you get the political version of the 23 million-dollar used book?
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 10:06 AM on February 3 [14 favorites]


New Hampshire state law is that its primary is seven days before any other one, so prepare for Thunderdome.
A great example case that we need more time paradox laws on the books!
posted by mincus at 10:06 AM on February 3 [9 favorites]


Fast thread!

Obamaworld's twitter reactions to the "Obama will try to stop/ speak out against Sanders" stories are incredulous. (It reminds me of their reaction to the Trumpian story of Obama people leaving hateful notes to their successors; to believe either story you kind of have to live in a different epistemic world).

Reminder that we could see up to three candidates declaring victory - initial numbers, numbers post-realignment, delegate equivalents.

I wish we could just get away from the whole narrative frame of "winning a state" when it comes to Dems and their proportionally-allocated delegates.

Sanders is going to kick his ass, which is why there is so much focus on Iowa caucuses being illegitimate.

Anyone assuming Biden will win Iowa is ignoring the polls; Sanders is doing better there. It's very easy to simultaneously believe (I know, because I'm doing it right now) that Sanders is good, Sanders will do well in the Iowa caucus, caucuses are bad, and Iowa going first is bad. Sanders' goodness and good performance in the Iowa caucus would be... um, a not good reason... to ignore the general problems with caucuses and Iowa going first.

None of this is to say that Iowa's caucus should be ignored this time around, any more than everybody sane's rightful grousing about the electoral college means that an election already held should be overturned. Rather, as far as I'm concerned, the discussion of the demerits of caucuses and Iowa going first is about what we want the process to look like next time around, or whenever we have a chance to change things for the better.
posted by Jpfed at 10:07 AM on February 3 [4 favorites]


If anyone has good recommendations for journalists in Iowa whose Twitter feeds are worth keeping an eye on tonight, I would love to read them!
posted by sallybrown at 10:09 AM on February 3


New Hampshire state law is that its primary is seven days before any other one

Also, what prevents another state that wants to be earlier than NH to say that their method of choosing candidates is not a primary, but something else? Like they could either go the lazy route and just call it a "shmimary" or actually modify a primary enough to meet some legal threshold to be called something different?
posted by FJT at 10:10 AM on February 3


This year my wife is going and I'm staying at home with the kid, because there is no way I'm subjecting my four year old to that kind of experience. This will be her first caucus, as she is a transplant from another state. I've warned her to expect to be there for a long time. I wish we had a primary instead.

That said, I'm looking forward to the day that my phone stops ringing and buzzing for unsolicited campaign messages. The political season is too long here.
posted by TrialByMedia at 10:11 AM on February 3 [2 favorites]


Bernie's gonna win Iowa. It's not going to mean that much outside of narrative, though. Let's see what things are looking like mid-March.
posted by azpenguin at 10:14 AM on February 3 [1 favorite]


FJT: "Also, what prevents another state that wants to be earlier than NH to say that their method of choosing candidates is not a primary, but something else? Like they could either go the lazy route and just call it a "shmimary" or actually modify a primary enough to meet some legal threshold to be called something different?"

Great question. It's at the discretion of the New Hampshire Secretary of State. He's been in office for a billion years and is zealous in his guardianship of NH's first in the nation status. Some of Iowa's caution at trying to improve access, etc. to the caucuses is for fear of setting off a war with NH.
posted by Chrysostom at 10:15 AM on February 3 [2 favorites]


Bernie will win Iowa's caucus. Whoever finishes second will be anointed by the establishment as the Great Anyone-But-Bernie Hope, up until the moment that their support fades in another set of states and a new Great Anyone-But-Bernie Hope is named.

This is not to suggest that a Bernie nomination is inevitable; that is still very much up in the air. But do expect opposition to continue for months while the flag-bearer of that opposition slowly mutates.
posted by delfin at 10:22 AM on February 3 [5 favorites]


Not sure I understand people in this thread saying they know who's going to win. The latest average polling shows Sanders with a slight lead but it's close enough that it could easily be any one of the top four.
posted by octothorpe at 10:22 AM on February 3 [4 favorites]


I get the argument that small states should go first, and you probably want a state that's a decent microcosm of the country.

To put some numbers on this, there are rankings of states from NPR and 538 (Geoffrey Skelley) and 538 again (Jed Kolko). Everyone seems to end up with Illinois as the most representative state, but if you believe in the whole starting-with-a-small-state thing that doesn't work well

People keep coming back to Delaware, but my parents are moving to Delaware and I don't want them to be subjected to the traveling media circus every four years. (Also, more seriously, Delaware is beholden to so many corporate interests that that seems like a bad idea.) I vote for Rhode Island to go first.
posted by madcaptenor at 10:24 AM on February 3 [1 favorite]


What happens if another state adopts the same law? Do you get the political version of the 23 million-dollar used book?

I think so. I vaguely remember there being some suspicion that the 2008 Iowa caucus would end up in December 2007. Or maybe it was the 2012 Iowa caucus in 2011. (In both of those years the Iowa caucus was on January 3.)

This is basically ungooglable right now though.
posted by madcaptenor at 10:27 AM on February 3 [1 favorite]


Not sure I understand people in this thread saying they know who's going to win. The latest average polling shows Sanders with a slight lead but it's close enough that it could easily be any one of the top four.
A wildcard is that all the polls are statewide, but that's not how caucuses work. It's by precinct, which is kind of like the electoral college in that some precincts have more weight than others. A big open question, I think, is whether Bernie's support is mostly in urban precincts, which are underrepresented, or whether he has relatively-strong support in small-town and rural areas. And I think that's anyone's guess, because the polling doesn't get to that level of granularity.

We genuinely don't know what's going to happen tonight, and anyone who tells you differently is either trying to sell something or doesn't know what they're talking about.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 10:29 AM on February 3 [8 favorites]


Presumably, the DNC would need to threaten to strip a state of delegates, like happened in 2007.
posted by Chrysostom at 10:29 AM on February 3


What’s the rationale for not just doing all the primaries on the same day?
posted by a box and a stick and a string and a bear at 10:31 AM on February 3 [2 favorites]


The argument for Iowa and New Hampshire is basically that they're small enough that you can make an impact by, like, giving speeches in high-school gyms, whereas if you have a national primary, then it will all come down to advertising, and that means that whoever has the most money will win. I don't know that I totally buy it, but that's the argument.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 10:33 AM on February 3 [5 favorites]


With the understanding that independent voters are largely a myth these days, and that both parties are largely working to get out the vote (or suppress the opponent's, in one party's case):

The first primary should not be in a state that most closely represents the US. The first primary should be in a state where the registered Democratic voters most closely represent the registered Democratic voters in the US.

Stop trying to find crossover appeal. Start working to find the candidate who energizes and motivates Democratic voters.
posted by explosion at 10:33 AM on February 3 [14 favorites]


What you’d need to change it is to have some candidates go to the convention with a bunch of delegates and push for structural changes to the process (including denying delegates to states that break the rules).

This would be high-risk, as candidates wouldn’t want to offend Iowa or New Hampshire if they want to run again. So it’d probably only work if a lot of the candidates happened to be old and/or very interested in shaking up the system.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 10:34 AM on February 3 [2 favorites]


I've love to see something like 5 primary days each election year with 10 states randomly picked each time. Do them once every two or maybe three weeks beginning in February.
posted by octothorpe at 10:36 AM on February 3 [1 favorite]


You can definitely oversell the "there are no crossover voters" thing. The Democratic governors of Kansas, Louisiana, and Kentucky, and the Republican governors of Massachusetts and Maryland would have some views, I think.

(Yes, there are special reasons for all of those! We have a crazy person as president right now, that's a special reason, too.)
posted by Chrysostom at 10:37 AM on February 3 [6 favorites]


I like the randomization idea in theory. But who's going to oversee the randomization? Does the FEC even do anything any more?
posted by madcaptenor at 10:39 AM on February 3


Some state that is convinced its primary results don't notably influence the final ballot (...like California, sigh) might set its primary date to "one year before the election" to reduce the ridiculous effect of all the campaigning going on in the last few weeks, and reduce the incumbent advantage.

What’s the rationale for not just doing all the primaries on the same day?

Originally, probably the hassles of counting and managing the election. Sure, we do it for the presidential all on one day, but it's easier on everyone if it's staggered.

Otherwise, campaign limitations - if you want candidates to visit and hear from people in many states, you need to give them time for that. Otherwise, they may focus all their attention only on very large states. (Which, ahem, is not an undemocratic approach. But it does create a certain bias.)

Additionally, media circus! If they all happen at once, there's no bonus drama about who's winning/losing, and what a runner-up will need to do to take first place, and so on. There may be some actual advantage to this that I'm not noticing because I'm pretty damn cynical about the whole thing right now.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 10:40 AM on February 3 [1 favorite]


FEC would have zero to do with this. How a party selects its nominee is basically up to them, as long as they don't break any obvious laws.
posted by Chrysostom at 10:40 AM on February 3 [3 favorites]


I admit that I don't know their start times.
The (inexplicable) one in Tblisi is already over, but apparently they're not reporting the result until tonight.

Someone asked who to follow on Twitter. I would go with Iowa Starting Line and Bleeding Heartland.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 10:42 AM on February 3 [2 favorites]


How the party selects candidates may be up to the DNC/RNC, but when a state holds its primary is apparently a matter of state law? I suppose the DNC/RNC could demand changes and refuse delegates from states that fail to change their laws, though.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 10:43 AM on February 3


Yes.
posted by Chrysostom at 10:43 AM on February 3


Spreading out the primaries reminds me of that trick when you’re trying to pick between two restaurants, so you flip a coin, and it helps you clarify whether you want to go to the winning place or the losing place. Each new state can reflect on the current alignment and decide whether they need to do some adjusting to the prior state’s decision.
posted by sallybrown at 10:44 AM on February 3 [1 favorite]


FEC would have zero to do with this. How a party selects its nominee is basically up to them, as long as they don't break any obvious laws.

That's true. I retract the literal content of my previous comment. But the spirit still stands - can you imagine if we had had this in 2016? Sanders supporters would have been all over claiming that the order of the states had been rigged against Bernie.
posted by madcaptenor at 10:45 AM on February 3


Sanders is going to kick his ass, which is why there is so much focus on Iowa caucuses being illegitimate.

Come on. People have been complaining about Iowa's disparity from the D coalition for years and were doing so loudly this year when it was Biden and Warren leading the polls.

And while Bernie may in fact kick his ass, the polling average shows basically a tossup, so let's not assume things that might just feed an unrealistic grievance later.
posted by chris24 at 10:47 AM on February 3 [13 favorites]


Worthwhile Nate Cohn thread on why the process converting votes to delegate equivalents could penalize Warren/Sanders.
posted by Chrysostom at 10:50 AM on February 3 [1 favorite]


The description of the rules sounds like calvinball. 15% floor for 41 delegates, if your choice isn’t chosen you.. choose again? What day? When? Dangit I shouldn’t have to click on the links for this.
posted by Yowser at 10:50 AM on February 3 [2 favorites]


As for the idea that the Democrats should pick a calendar that prioritizes states where the Democrats are typical Democrats - see Geoffrey Skelley's list based on data from the Cooperative Congressional Election Study for a first pass at that.

The problem here is that if the Democrats do that, presumably the Republicans would too, and you'd end up with two different calendars. So every state would have to hold two primaries instead of one, which would end up costing the states more, and I'm not sure they'd go along.
posted by madcaptenor at 10:52 AM on February 3


But... the Democrats and Republicans already have different calendars?
posted by Justinian at 10:53 AM on February 3 [2 favorites]


It actually used to be worse - if your county delegates didn't go to the state convention for some reason, they were thrown out.
posted by Chrysostom at 10:53 AM on February 3 [1 favorite]


I think there's some benefit to this idea. Why not have all this energy, money and time spent in a state that matters in the general.

Harold Pollack
Think of how much more valuable it would have been had Democratic candidates expended the same effort, met the same numbers of voters, and built the same infrastructures in Michigan and Florida instead of Iowa and New Hampshire.
posted by chris24 at 10:56 AM on February 3 [9 favorites]


If anyone wants more on NH's role in all this, NHPR's been running a podcast, Stranglehold. Iowa Public Radio also has Caucus Land, and yes, there was a cross-over episode.

The NHPR podcast features a heartbreaking/fantastic moment when a bunch of students of color from Virginia Commonwealth University directly question the NH Secretary of State about the lack of diversity and then they realize that they've heard his answer before because it's the same one he trots out every time and that they had heard on an earlier episode of the podcast their professor made them listen to.

I'm ready to attest to the small state advantage here in NH. You can, in fact, actually meet with and see and talk to the candidates first hand and ask uncomfortable questions if you make the effort and get out to see them early enough. (It's harder later in the process when the crowds get bigger and things gets more scripted.)

But the diversity issue is too big to ignore at this point, so I'm all for passing the torch to Delaware or Maryland or Illinois or a rotation system or something.
posted by damayanti at 10:58 AM on February 3 [5 favorites]


Well, New Hampshire is now purple. And Iowa was, until recently, blue. There's been a lot of rapid change in political geography recently.
posted by Chrysostom at 10:59 AM on February 3


But... the Democrats and Republicans already have different calendars?

That's true. I'm not sure how different they are - I've been unable to find anybody that lines up the two calendars side by side, and I'm trying to pretend I'm getting work done at work. (If I did this in a spreadsheet nobody would be all that suspicious...)
posted by madcaptenor at 10:59 AM on February 3


Here's the dates of everything, if that helps.
posted by Chrysostom at 11:01 AM on February 3 [3 favorites]


2020 Election Calendar, including primaries/caucus dates, both on a calendar and lined up side by side.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 11:01 AM on February 3 [2 favorites]


(The 270towin calendar is color-coded: purple is both, red is R blue is D)
posted by Huffy Puffy at 11:03 AM on February 3 [1 favorite]


Organize the primaries like a reality show would, in order from smallest to largest population, chunked into groups where each group has more delegates than all the groups before it, so that:

1) early media buys would be relatively cheap and in-person contact easier, giving you the largest and most confusing possible number of early candidates,
2) candidates would have an incentive to visit and campaign in every state, and
3) it stretches out the uncertainty and suspense as long as possible, so national media can promote each new round of primaries as This Set Of Primaries Could Change Everything, which would be good for ratings.

/mostly joking
posted by Spathe Cadet at 11:03 AM on February 3


If we organize the primaries like a reality show, will we end up with a reality show personality as President?
posted by madcaptenor at 11:05 AM on February 3 [1 favorite]


It is strange seeing major media outlets pump the message that Iowa results should be ignored ahead of this particular Democratic primary. I can't imagine why that talking point would be disseminated at this time. Why in the world would someone prime the news cycle that way? Weird.
posted by FakeFreyja at 11:12 AM on February 3 [10 favorites]


Organize the primaries like a reality show would, in order from smallest to largest population, chunked into groups where each group has more delegates than all the groups before it:

You might be mostly joking, but I wasn't when I wrote about this approach. Game-show scheduling makes it so that every state has *some* say.
posted by Jpfed at 11:14 AM on February 3 [2 favorites]


If anyone has good recommendations for journalists in Iowa whose Twitter feeds are worth keeping an eye on tonight, I would love to read them!
posted by sallybrown


Lyz Lenz @lyzl
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 11:20 AM on February 3 [6 favorites]


If we organize the primaries like a reality show, will we end up with a reality show personality as President?

That would be an unimaginable nightmare.
posted by kirkaracha at 11:25 AM on February 3 [3 favorites]


Come on. People have been complaining about Iowa's disparity from the D coalition for years and were doing so loudly this year when it was Biden and Warren leading the polls.

I've been hearing the exact same complaints about caucuses vs. primaries since I was in AP Government in the late 90s, and it was pretty clear even then that it was an old, calcified debate.

Which obviously means that the Democratic Anti-Sanders Conspiracy has been plotting against him for decades before his 2016 run was so much as a twinkle in anyone's eye, probably since before he even became a Senator. One must applaud The Conspiracy's incredible foresight, if nothing else.
posted by tobascodagama at 11:29 AM on February 3 [14 favorites]


The American people are smart enough to choose leaders based on their qualifications, policies, and temperament, rather than their ability to create exciting televisual drama. I'm sure we'd be fine.
posted by Spathe Cadet at 11:30 AM on February 3 [4 favorites]


To be fair to ifdsnn, her original statement doesn't necessarily hinge on when the argument started- just its current prominence.
posted by Jpfed at 11:32 AM on February 3 [1 favorite]


I've been a political junkie since Dukakis did not in fact rock us. I have literally never seen a major news outlet tell its viewers to ignore any part of the primary process.

Maybe it's an old debate in political wonk circles, but this is in fact the first time I know of that the sentiment is going mainstream.
posted by FakeFreyja at 11:33 AM on February 3 [2 favorites]


I have literally never seen a major news outlet tell its viewers to ignore any part of the primary process

Sanders looks like he's going to win Iowa, and the corporate media hates his left-wing politics, so they're trying to diminish his anticipated victory. That's obviously what's happening here.

(Of course, as discussed above, nobody actually knows the future outcome of the Iowa caucuses. But people have hunches based on recent polls + ground game + general zeitgeist.)
posted by Noisy Pink Bubbles at 11:38 AM on February 3 [5 favorites]


Have you guys noticed that it has become impossible to tell if someone is saying something ironically or not?
posted by Justinian at 11:40 AM on February 3 [23 favorites]


Have you guys noticed that it has become impossible to tell if someone is saying something ironically or not?

No, I haven't noticed that.
posted by Faint of Butt at 11:40 AM on February 3 [52 favorites]


The Iowa caucus has sucked since at least 2004 when I did my first one. But I am but a humble Boy Detective so my loudly bitching about it has not made national news.

My still spicy prediction is that Yang will surprise.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 11:44 AM on February 3 [2 favorites]


Which major media outlet has said to ignore the outcome of Iowa?
posted by octothorpe at 11:44 AM on February 3 [3 favorites]


Found this on the Slack thread. Yeah that's dumb and silly because you can ignore the outcome but there are delegates allocated and you can't ignore them. They're going to vote in the convention no matter what.
posted by octothorpe at 11:49 AM on February 3


It is strange seeing major media outlets pump the message that Iowa results should be ignored ahead of this particular Democratic primary.

The major media outfits that have sent an army of people to Iowa? The same media outlets with constant countdown clocks on screen encouraging people to tune into special coverage that begins before the caucuses even start? The same media outlets that have put out a gazillion Iowa polls and done everything possible to attract as much attention as possible?

Not everything is a conspiracy. Claiming that everything is rigged diminishes your power when something really and truly is unfair and deserves to be called out, but it also has a corrosive effect on democracy by discouraging people from participating in the process.
posted by zachlipton at 11:49 AM on February 3 [19 favorites]


To be fair to ifdsnn, her original statement doesn't necessarily hinge on when the argument started- just its current prominence.

People arguing about the importance of the Iowa caucus on the day of the Iowa caucus seems pretty reasonable.
posted by Etrigan at 11:50 AM on February 3 [1 favorite]


I wish I could explain to people and they'd remember that people get paid to write random, stupid shit on the internet and that a lot of people are constantly trying to peddle their "hot takes" for clicks.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 11:51 AM on February 3 [6 favorites]


the corporate media hates his left-wing politics

Maybe to some degree, but I think they're also just so far up their own asses in pursuit of ratings that they dog whomever might be the top candidate so that it appears to be more of a horse-race.
posted by explosion at 11:52 AM on February 3 [7 favorites]


Which major media outlet has said to ignore the outcome of Iowa?

If the message is either "ignore the results" or "the results are going to be illegitimate", then Bloomberg, NYTimes, The Hill (ugh), WaPo, Politico, you name it.
posted by FakeFreyja at 11:52 AM on February 3 [1 favorite]


ok, I name Washington Post. Example?
posted by Justinian at 11:53 AM on February 3


I have literally never seen a major news outlet tell its viewers to ignore any part of the primary process.

I'm not sure there's a lot of this going on, but one thing is the D coalition has moved away from the demographics of Iowa to a much more diverse, multi-ethnic and urban electorate, so it makes sense it's more of an issue today.
posted by chris24 at 11:54 AM on February 3 [1 favorite]


Just drop the links on us already. I am not seeing it on the NYT website.

The Hill is not a real news organization. They just repost other people's work lightly edited. If this changed, someone just let me know and I'll take it back.

Anyway, Lyz Lenz, local hero, has been saying how stupid the caucus is forever.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 11:54 AM on February 3 [2 favorites]


> This year my wife is going and I'm staying at home with the kid, because there is no way I'm subjecting my four year old to that kind of experience.

But I have heard repeatedly that everyone in Iowa gets babysitters for caucuses. (What the babysitters do about caucusing is not explained.)
posted by The corpse in the library at 11:54 AM on February 3 [7 favorites]


The caucus sucks, has always sucked, there's another active thread about it sucking massively - would it be possible maybe to agree that whoever wins it will have done so partially in spite of it sucking AND partially as a function of it sucking - just like everyone else who has ever won it - based on their own specific campaign caucus strategy that they will have had to develop solely to win the caucus in it's current circumstances?
posted by windbox at 11:56 AM on February 3 [2 favorites]


Some nice schadenfreude while we wait for tonight's results (video within):

“I think he’s gonna win big tonight.”

The Bernie surge has Chris Matthews on the verge of tears. It’s okay, Chris.

— Samuel D. Finkelstein II (@CANCEL_SAM)
posted by One Second Before Awakening at 11:57 AM on February 3 [5 favorites]


The only examples I have seen, such as this NYT _opinion_ piece are people arguing that we give too much weight to completely unrepresentative IA and NH (which is inarguably true) and we should change that in the future.

Apparently changing something in 2024 or 2028 is an attempt to rig the 2020 primary?
posted by Justinian at 11:57 AM on February 3 [1 favorite]


ok, I name Washington Post. Example?
Here, right off the bat.

Just drop the links on us already. I am not seeing it on the NYT website.
Here.

Is this that "sealioning" thing I keep hearing about?
posted by FakeFreyja at 11:57 AM on February 3 [5 favorites]


The WaPo example is exactly like the NYT one: correctly pointing out that IA and NH are not representative of the country much less the Democratic party and we should change their importance? This isn't only reasonable it's inarguable. I don't see how one can possibly argue that changing something in the future hurts Sanders today.
posted by Justinian at 11:59 AM on February 3 [7 favorites]


ok, I name Washington Post. Example?
Here, right off the bat.


You should probably read past the headline on that one, because it just answers its own question ("What good are the Iowa caucuses anyway?") by detailing the lower-tier candidates' chances and probable paths past Iowa.
posted by Etrigan at 12:01 PM on February 3 [4 favorites]


Here, right off the bat.

Jennifer Rubin, Republican, arguing for future change

Just drop the links on us already. I am not seeing it on the NYT website.
Here.


Arguing for 2024 change
posted by chris24 at 12:01 PM on February 3 [8 favorites]


The WaPo example is exactly like the NYT one: correctly pointing out that IA and NH are not representative of the country much less the Democratic party and we should change their importance? This isn't only reasonable it's inarguable. I don't see how one can possibly argue that changing something in the future hurts Sanders today.

Because priming and framing are functions of all news media. The message is loud and clear: "please don't take any success today as an indicator that the winner is not an outsider who can't win".
posted by FakeFreyja at 12:01 PM on February 3 [5 favorites]


No, the argument is that caucuses are unfair and the states are unrepresentative. As has been argued for years.
posted by chris24 at 12:03 PM on February 3 [13 favorites]


Of Course Bernie Can Win.

I guess the NYT is framing and priming that Sanders can win?
posted by Justinian at 12:03 PM on February 3 [6 favorites]


The message is loud and clear

If you've decided to hear that, that's certainly a decision you can make.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 12:03 PM on February 3 [14 favorites]


> Former Deadspinner Drew Magary's angry piece from early January deserves a mention here along with the other critical shots at the absurdly undemocratic Iowa garbage:

Also from Magary: The Hater's Guides To:

Joe Biden

Mike Bloomberg

Pete Buttigieg

Amy Klobuchar

Bernie Sanders

Elizabeth Warren
posted by tonycpsu at 12:04 PM on February 3 [7 favorites]


But I have heard repeatedly that everyone in Iowa gets babysitters for caucuses. (What the babysitters do about caucusing is not explained.)

The Warren campaign is using "volunteer-led" child care; I suspect a lot of the volunteers are from out of state. (Cannot confirm.)
posted by madcaptenor at 12:05 PM on February 3 [5 favorites]


Alice in Wonderland reference in the title: A Caucus-Race and a Long Tale.
posted by bitslayer at 12:07 PM on February 3 [2 favorites]


From 2016...

Quartz: Iowa and New Hampshire wield too much influence. The US needs a national primary

Think Progress: Ban The Iowa Caucus

Politico: How Iowa Hijacked Our Democracy

---

Can we stop thinking this is new now?
posted by chris24 at 12:07 PM on February 3 [12 favorites]


The message is loud and clear: "please don't take any success today as an indicator that the winner is not an outsider who can't win".

I just read both of the opinion pieces you linked to, FakeFreyja, and I haven’t managed to find what you hear so clearly. Could you point me toward any particular passage that I might have missed?
posted by a box and a stick and a string and a bear at 12:07 PM on February 3 [3 favorites]


Because priming and framing are functions of all news media. The message is loud and clear: "please don't take any success today as an indicator that the winner is not an outsider who can't win".

Is there an acceptable way that someone can discuss the issues with the Iowa caucuses, given that they're the same issues everyone has had with them for many years, that you wouldn't view as an attempt to rig the process against Bernie Sanders? Because I'm not understanding how, by the standard you've set out, anyone is allowed to say anything negative about the very obvious longstanding problems with the process and demographics that you won't perceive as a loud and clear attack on one candidate.
posted by zachlipton at 12:08 PM on February 3 [16 favorites]


The first four caucus and primary states don’t look like America. Combined, they get closer.
None of the four states fully reflect America, and the least representative two go first. Taken together, though, the unique qualities of each mean several key blocs of voters get at least one opportunity to have an outsized role in the early nomination process.
Ceterum autem censeo Trump delenda est
posted by kirkaracha at 12:09 PM on February 3 [1 favorite]


But I have heard repeatedly that everyone in Iowa gets babysitters for caucuses. (What the babysitters do about caucusing is not explained.)

I don't know about Iowa specifically, but here in Michigan, a lot of babysitting is done by women who are too young to vote but old enough to have a cell phone.
posted by Etrigan at 12:10 PM on February 3 [1 favorite]


I've argued that IA and NV should go on the same "first caucus" day, followed by NH and SC on a "first primary" day. That would still be problematic but would be a lot better than what we have now.

Of course as pointed out above some laws would have to be changed since IA and NH have actual, honest to god laws to protect their oh so special snowflake feefees.
posted by Justinian at 12:11 PM on February 3 [5 favorites]


I suspect a lot of the volunteers are from out of state. (Cannot confirm.)
Local high-school students is what I've heard.
I don't know about Iowa specifically, but here in Michigan, a lot of babysitting is done by women who are too young to vote but old enough to have a cell phone.
Teenagers, non-citizens, and sometimes the grandparents if they're independents or Republicans. (There's a Republican caucus but not really any reason to bother this year, unless you want to make an anti-Trump statement, which most Republicans don't.) I know some people who are bringing their kids, which is brave. I've got a bag packed with snacks and art supplies for any grumpy kids I happen upon at the caucus site I'm helping to run.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 12:13 PM on February 3 [7 favorites]


(What the babysitters do about caucusing is not explained.)

By Iowa tradition, teenagers who are ineligible to participate in the caucus volunteer to babysit for their neighbors and relatives. For free, even, if the parents don't have money to pay for a babysitter (or say they don't).

Occasionally, parents take advantage, and use this unusual freedom to go out dancing and drinking after the caucus, which is known (datedly) as "discoalitioning." (The parents who do this are sometimes "drunkenstituents." Next-day absenteeism from work is "partisanskip." Iowans love portmanteau words.) The rise of social media has made it more difficult to do this without getting caught, so it doesn't happen as much as it used to.

It's surprising that this doesn't show up in more articles about the caucus; it's a really big part of the culture.
posted by Spathe Cadet at 12:19 PM on February 3 [37 favorites]


Thanks to ArbitraryAndCapricious and Spathe Cadet for pointing out that teenagers can, and do, babysit. I have a kid; she's almost two; all our regular babysitters are of voting age so I forgot that not all babysitters are.

I live in Georgia. We have primaries here. We have other methods of voter suppression. One of these days my kid is going to get investigated because I let her have my "I'm a Georgia voter" sticker.
posted by madcaptenor at 12:24 PM on February 3 [1 favorite]


Is there an acceptable way that someone can discuss the issues with the Iowa caucuses, given that they're the same issues everyone has had with them for many years, that you wouldn't view as an attempt to rig the process against Bernie Sanders?

As a Sanders fan, I can say that it's less rigging the process and more about the media. I can also say that Sanders fans would definitely be criticizing the hell out of the caucus if it looked like he were going to lose.

That all said, I do think that people focusing so hard on the legitimacy of the caucuses this year, along with the whiteness of Iowa, is a clear sign that they think Sanders will win.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 12:24 PM on February 3 [6 favorites]


It's surprising that this doesn't show up in more articles about the caucus; it's a really big part of the culture.

What, and take away ink from yet another story about how Trump voters are sticking with Trump?
posted by Etrigan at 12:25 PM on February 3 [2 favorites]


At the beginning of August, the NFL holds the first preseason game. It's in what is basically a glorified high school stadium, and since most of the actual starting players sit out or only play one series, it's not exactly high quality football. But... it's football, and a lot of fans watch a quarter or so of it to get a "hit" after the long offseason.

This is what the Iowa caucuses feel like for me. Hey, it doesn't mean a ton as far as getting an actual lead in delegates (with 41 delegates awarded proportionally, no one's going to jump out to a meaningful lead), and the caucus system is a mess and hard to follow for us in other states. Some candidates don't even bother with putting up a fight in the state. But hey! It's the first hit of the primary season. We'll have some actual results to talk about and debate and quibble over for a few days.
posted by azpenguin at 12:26 PM on February 3 [3 favorites]


Thanks to ArbitraryAndCapricious and Spathe Cadet for pointing out that teenagers can, and do, babysit. I have a kid; she's almost two; all our regular babysitters are of voting age so I forgot that not all babysitters are.

I apologize; my comment obviously did not read the way it was imagined. I'm killing time until the caucus begins, I'm mildly anxious about how the caucus is going to go, and the combination is making me a little loopy.
posted by Spathe Cadet at 12:28 PM on February 3


azpenguin: The problem with that analogy is that a preseason football game has virtually no effect on the regular season while the Iowa results have major and far-reaching effects on the rest of the primary season.
posted by Justinian at 12:29 PM on February 3 [4 favorites]


Also, look, you could probably insulate a whole house with thinkpieces about how x primary or y primary doesn't matter after all, or matters a lot, or reflects the will of the voters, or doesn't. It's an incredibly common tactic to take in primaries. It typically means you think your candidate is weak. It's not just anti-Sanders people who say and do this kind of thing; it's common.

That said, it does grate because of the related, but not identical, long-standing tendency to connect Sanders and his fans to racist, anti-democratic, "populist" elements in the Trump campaign in an effort to paint them as equivalent. They're not even close to equivalent, of course.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 12:31 PM on February 3 [4 favorites]


Pork Plant Workers Turn Out for Sanders in First Caucus in Iowa by Akela Lacy, Ryan Grim

Just over two dozen workers gathered at the headquarters of the local United Food and Commercial Workers, with 14 casting their votes for Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders. One attendee cast their vote for Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren.
...
While the Ottumwa caucus was the first in the state, the first Iowa caucus was actually held in Tbilisi, Georgia. The results of that three-person caucus will be announced on Monday night.

posted by phoque at 12:34 PM on February 3 [3 favorites]


Excluded from caucusing:
* Emergency services personnel
* Hospital staff
* Teachers
* Police
* Bus drivers
* Utilities staff/operators
* ? (no doubt others)

While it's true that everyone who has to work on Caucus Day can't caucus, theoretically, a business could shut down to allow everyone to be involved. But there are several categories of workers that don't have that option - any person who takes the day off to caucus is going to be replaced by someone else who doesn't get to vote.

Making the day a state holiday would fix some of that, but only some. I'd love to see some articles about which groups of people are excluded from participation like this.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 12:40 PM on February 3 [11 favorites]


Re: establishment Dems being "terrified of Sanders":

Former Secretary of State John Kerry...was overheard Sunday on the phone at a Des Moines hotel explaining what he would have to do to enter the presidential race amid "the possibility of Bernie Sanders taking down the Democratic Party — down whole."

Not just "I don't think Bernie can win" or "Bernie's policies aren't resonating with voters" or anything like that. No, he said a Sanders win would be "taking down the Democratic Party - down whole."

Kerry's denied that the overheard convo contained anything close to him deciding he'd enter the race, and says he absolutely is not thinking about that, but he hasn't denied the "taking down the party" comment, and the mindset is revealing. I call worrying that Sanders will completely destroy the Democratic Party the same as being "terrified of Sanders," yes.

I find it fascinating that so many centrist Dems attack Sanders supporters for their hesitance in early polls to commit to support any other nominee, but suspect the vast majority of those centrists would themselves jump ship out of voting Democratic if Sanders, against all odds and organized centrist Dem attempts to foil him, wins the nod. Funny how that's not allowed to cut both ways.
posted by mediareport at 12:45 PM on February 3 [11 favorites]


Re: the primary calendar, I'm sure someone has proposed something similar to this at some point and my google-fu just can't find it, but a solution that seems fair and practical to me would be to sort the primaries by the number of delegates and distribute them into those N groups in a serpentine order. Every year, the groups rotate positions an N-week primary cycle.

Five groups seems like a good number for election cycles that repeat every four years so that each group cycles through the presidential / mid-term / off years, and I think most Americans can get behind a much shorter primary cycle. If not, then they could be held every two or three weeks.

Based on current delegate numbers, the groups would be as follows:
Group 1      Group 2      Group 3      Group 4      Group 5
CA           NY           TX           FL           PA
NC           MI           NJ           OH           IL
GA           VA           MD           MA           WA
CO           MO           MN           IN           WI
AZ           TN           OR           CT           SC
IA           PR           AL           KY           LA
KS           OK           NV           MS           NM
RI           WV           NE           UT           AR
NH           ME           HI           DE           ID
AK           SD           VT           MT           DC
ND           WY           DemsAbroad   Guam         USVI
                                       NMI          AS
The groups will change over time as delegate counts change, but eyeballing things here, it seems like this will to a much better result even if there's some shifting. The advantages I see are as follows:

1. Each state gets a chance to be "first".

2. No state gets outsized impoertance by being the "only" state or one of a handful early in the process.

3. Complaints about rural / low population / ideologically homogeneous states dominating the early calendar are explicitly addressed. California is obviously going to be a big prize in the first group, but if the liberal candidate wins CA and the more centrist candidate wins NC and GA, and several of the other states in the group, the race will still be tight.

4. One of the main reasons people point to for our existing system is that it lets lesser-funded candidates build up some wins and bootstrap their campaign. Setting aside whether this ought to be a goal of the primary system or not, this could definitely happen under this system. A 6th place campaign with little money probably isn't winning California, but maybe they can place 4th there, 2nd in NC, and maybe bag a win or two in one of RI or NH, and suddenly they've got some significant buzz.

The main disadvantage I see is that it's hard to compete in 10-11 elections on a single day given the amount of resources these campaigns put into their ground game, so campaigns will be encouraged to ignore some states, but campaigns already make these tactical decisions about where to allocate their resources in the current setup, so it doesn't seem like any particular states will be disadvantaged. Iowans and New Nampshirites might not like that the attention to their state will be scaled down to match their mathematical proportion of the delegates available that day, but I still see the campaigns trying to get first place finishes in those smaller states just so they can put wins on the board.

This is a pipe dream, of course, but thinking about this for 20-ish minutes has taken my mind off of everything else in politics, so I'll take it.
posted by tonycpsu at 12:47 PM on February 3 [4 favorites]


Every four years the entire nation loves to peer at us like we're some kind of sociological petri dish and critique and criticize us and the process here

Stop demanding that your state goes first forever and ever, amen, and we'll stop peering and criticizing so much. That's a promise.
posted by mediareport at 12:50 PM on February 3 [25 favorites]


Teachers? Isn’t the caucus at night?

(I am immensely grateful that we, and by we I mean you, the people who post these threads, let us get to where people are actually voting before we all yell about the primaries. As contentious as this might get, at least things are actually happening; Twitter’s been melting down for like 2 months now at the slightest provocation.)
posted by Huffy Puffy at 12:50 PM on February 3


but suspect the vast majority of those centrists would themselves jump ship out of voting Democratic if Sanders, against all odds and organized centrist Dem attempts to foil him, wins the nod. Funny how that's not allowed to cut both ways

The actual data does not support this in any way. The supporters least likely to vote for other nominees are Yang's followed by Sander's. The most likely are Warren's, with Biden close to Warren.
posted by Justinian at 12:53 PM on February 3 [21 favorites]


I should note: the supporters who say they are least likely. It's quite possible people would come around before the election but after the primary.
posted by Justinian at 12:54 PM on February 3 [2 favorites]


The actual data does not support this in any way.

You're right, of course, but I don't like this as an early polling question at all, to be honest; I think many, many Sanders supporters currently telling pollsters they wouldn't vote for, say, Warren will indeed come around if it's her vs. Trump. I actually have a harder time imagining folks like Neera Tanden coming around to support Sanders if he's the eventual nominee, but I'd be extremely happy to be proven wrong on that.
posted by mediareport at 1:00 PM on February 3


For reference, this is the poll that Justinian is referencing: only 53% of surveyed Sanders voters say they definitely plan to vote for a Democrat in the general election if their guy doesn't win. Yang is the only one with a lower percentage, at 50%, and then the next lowest is Bloomberg at 78%.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 1:02 PM on February 3 [7 favorites]


You're right, of course, but I don't like this as an early polling question at all, to be honest

Dude, you're the one who brought it up! You don't get to reject it when the reality doesn't fit your fucking worldview!
posted by tobascodagama at 1:04 PM on February 3 [8 favorites]


Stop demanding that your state goes first forever and ever, amen, and we'll stop peering and criticizing so much. That's a promise.

Iowa going first in the caucus/primary season is not the fault of any of the Iowans in this conversation. I personally would stick some other state in first place in a heartbeat, if I could.
posted by Spathe Cadet at 1:04 PM on February 3 [1 favorite]


So that makes 22% of Bloomberg voters consistent with their guy, a Bush-endorsing Republican.
posted by Beardman at 1:05 PM on February 3


It's possible I pay too much attention because I didn't even have to look up the numbers to remember the order out of that Emerson poll. It's not even the top line "who will you vote for" question! I shouldn't know that off the top of my head.

I should get a hobby.
posted by Justinian at 1:07 PM on February 3 [2 favorites]


I think a hobby got you first.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 1:08 PM on February 3 [11 favorites]


Dude, you're the one who brought it up!

Technically, it was John Kerry who brought it up in this particular instance, if the reporting is accurate.
posted by Etrigan at 1:08 PM on February 3 [1 favorite]


@PFTompkins: I am sorry but the Iowa caucus is meaningless to me and the results should routinely be discounted. These are people who were tricked by a conman into buying band uniforms for children who couldn’t even play instruments.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 1:08 PM on February 3 [24 favorites]


You're right, of course, but I don't like this as an early polling question at all, to be honest; I think many, many Sanders supporters currently telling pollsters they wouldn't vote for, say, Warren will indeed come around if it's her vs. Trump.

What I'd like to see is how many regular voters will vote for another candidate if Sanders doesn't win, and of those how many are regular Democratic voters. My suspicion is that the majority of regular voters who regularly vote Democratic will vote for the Democratic candidate, and the majority of Sanders voters who won't are either drawn to the polls by Sanders or usually vote third party. If someone doesn't usually care enough to vote and wants to vote for Sanders, I am not unduly surprised or indeed upset if they decline to vote for anyone else.
posted by Frowner at 1:09 PM on February 3 [10 favorites]


It seems to me that, given the ability of non-viable (<15%) voting groups to reassign their vote, polling Clinton vs Sanders was vastly more simple than polling Bennet vs Biden vs Bloomberg vs Buttigieg vs Gabbard vs Klobuchar vs Patrick vs Sanders vs Steyer vs Warren vs Yang vs Unaffiliated. Even if we know people's first choice, it's very hard to know the final result.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 1:11 PM on February 3 [1 favorite]


In fairness to the DNC (god I hate writing that), their trepidation regarding a Sanders nomination is not unreasonable.

He pledged to join the party in 2016, he in fact did not (his 2022 Senator campaign is independent). It really opens them up to a free-rider problem if outsiders can use DNC resources without actually being Democrats.

It could happen from the left, but also from the right. They're walking a really tight rope where they need to rein Sanders in and enforce the rules without appearing anti-democratic (small D). If Sanders wins the nomination (and especially if he wins the presidency), there's a whole Pandora's Box opened up.

Sanders has been my number two (behind only Warren), but this sort of "end justifies the means" Bernie exceptionalism is a good portion of the reason why he's behind Warren in my mind.
posted by explosion at 1:18 PM on February 3 [34 favorites]


You don't get to reject it when the reality doesn't fit your fucking worldview!

I'd seen the poll in Justinian's link this morning; it was all over centrist Twitter, I assure you. There was another one just last week that put the number of Sanders supporters who'd vote for another candidate at 70%, for what it's worth. I'll continue to be particularly skeptical of the accuracy of this question so far out from the convention, and agree with Justinian that "It's quite possible people would come around before the election but after the primary."
posted by mediareport at 1:39 PM on February 3 [1 favorite]


[Take a deep breath, folks. It's gonna be a long year and we have to live with each other.]
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 1:58 PM on February 3 [32 favorites]


Right, I don't think there's any chance that roughly half of Sanders' supporters don't vote for the Democratic candidate in the general. But there's no reason to think that the more moderate Democratic candidate's supporters are less likely to support the eventual nominee regardless of who that is when the only actual data we have is to the contrary.

Note that Gabbard was not included in the poll since she's no longer in the race but from what I've read her supporters would have been even less likely than Yang supporters to go for the Democratic nominee.

(I had a "present" joke to make what with Gabbard's impeachment vote but it did not perform well among test audiences so I axed it.)
posted by Justinian at 2:01 PM on February 3 [1 favorite]


Maybe to some degree, but I think they're also just so far up their own asses in pursuit of ratings that they dog whomever might be the top candidate so that it appears to be more of a horse-race.

Cry havoc and let slip the hogs of the DNC!

Whatever farm animal of war, Lana!
posted by axiom at 2:03 PM on February 3 [7 favorites]


'You basically are nothing': the Americans shut out of the Iowa caucuses (Guardian)
Hundreds of thousands of Iowans are barred from the Iowa caucus because of physical and legal barriers
Iowans are barred from voting for life once they commit a felony, and people can’t vote even if they committed a crime decades ago. The state’s policy, one of the strictest in the country, means more than 42,000 Iowans out of prison won’t have a say in choosing a presidential candidate. Almost 10% of the black voting-age population can’t vote because of a felony conviction. [...]

Since 2016, advocates have been pushing the Iowa Democratic party to address obstacles like transportation, navigating crowded spaces and seating that people with disabilities face to caucusing. The party has introduced some solutions – like allowing some groups to hold satellite caucuses in their homes or accessible locales.

“We’ve made it easier for Iowans to request accommodations, get in the room faster, and caucus at a site that’s more convenient to them,” said Mandy McClure, a spokeswoman for the Iowa Democratic party, in a statement. “Expanding participation has been at the heart of all of these changes.”

But many advocates say the party’s approach has been abysmal, noting that a staffer handling disability outreach wasn’t hired until January.

“Because there’s such a lack of understanding about this constituency, not only in the Democratic party, but just systematically, there’s a reticence to engage in the process of making spaces more inclusive and accessible,” said Reyma McDeid, executive director of the Central Iowa Center for Independent Living. “The thought is, ‘it’s going to be confusing, it’s going to be expensive. It’s going to be time consuming. Let’s just put this off.’”
posted by katra at 2:18 PM on February 3 [14 favorites]


The reason the “Sanders isn’t a real D Democrat” hasn’t been gaining traction is that throughout the Reagan years Warren was a Republican. The ability for outsiders to join the Democratic Party is a feature, not a bug.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 2:31 PM on February 3 [10 favorites]


I'm off to go set up the caucus. Pray for us, everyone!
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 2:36 PM on February 3 [24 favorites]


The reason the “Sanders isn’t a real D Democrat” hasn’t been gaining traction is that throughout the Reagan years Warren was a Republican

It would also be a weird tack for a party that, despite all evidence to the contrary, still maintains that it is desirable or even possible to reach across the aisle and work with Republicans to craft policy.

(Or, as Joe Biden recently put it: shameless obstructionism by the GOP during the impeachment trial hasn't "shaken his faith" in being able to work with Republicans in the future.)
posted by Atom Eyes at 2:45 PM on February 3 [5 favorites]


Warren being a republican until 1996, more than a decade before she ever ran for elected office, is not quite analogous to Sanders situation, where he ran and served as a democratic socialist/independent until he wanted to run for president, and as recently as 2018 rejected the democratic label when he ran again as a democratic socialist for senate.

If this race were down to Warren and Sanders, maybe this would become a significant issue, but I think the real reason it hasn't been anyone's focus is that not even democrats care too much about loyalty to the democratic party.
posted by skewed at 2:48 PM on February 3 [10 favorites]


Why the Iowa Caucuses Are Biased Against Your Candidate
No intelligible theory of democracy would recommend an institution this arbitrary or complex. The Iowa caucuses are therefore inherently unfair. Meanwhile, the peculiar conditions surrounding this year’s iteration of the event have provided the Democratic field with a panoply of novel causes for complaint. And since the fight over how the media will interpret tonight’s results is at least as important as the results themselves, every campaign is already preparing an alibi for its defeat.

So, for all you Bernie Bros, Liz Lads, Joe Schmos, Klob Slobs, or Pete Freaks looking for a ready-made rationalization for your hero’s potential loss this evening, here’s a quick rundown of how tonight’s event unduly disadvantages each major Democratic candidate.
posted by kirkaracha at 2:49 PM on February 3 [2 favorites]


It shouldn't be threatening or surprising to say that Sanders isn't a big D Democrat. He isn't. He's said he isn't. He regularly aligns with Democrats and regularly seeks the nomination of the Democratic Party but he has historically then run and been elected as an independent. If he wins nomination as a Democrat for president he'll of course run as a Democrat due to the procedural ballot requirements across the US. In that sense he'll be one, but his intentions are not built around the Democratic Party as an institution nor has he claimed they are. There are plenty of valid interpretations of this, but to point out he's not a Democrat in the same way as the other candidates is factual on its face. For most there will be pros and cons associated with this observation.

His approach is actually fairly common here in Vermont politics where some candidates treat party nominations a bit like endorsements; secured to demonstrate support and to eliminate the possibility of another candidate with too similar values splitting the election day votes, but not the label upon which the candidate runs. It is understandable that this doesn't always make sense to folks in other places with different electoral rules and traditions, but that is the background he comes from.

It doesn't change the calculus that the Democratic Party voters get to choose the candidate they most support, and then the nation as a whole gets a choice between that individual and Trump. Any burning of bridges or salting of earth is ill-advised. We need to connect with our neighbors.

Personally, I think the reason that Sanders not being a real D Democrat has little traction is that most voters are a lot more concerned with positions, personalities and outcomes than they are with internal party politics. He's qualified to run and now members of the party get to decide if they like him enough to support, pretty simple.
posted by meinvt at 2:51 PM on February 3 [6 favorites]


The reason the “Sanders isn’t a real D Democrat” hasn’t been gaining traction is that throughout the Reagan years Warren was a Republican. The ability for outsiders to join the Democratic Party is a feature, not a bug.

Be sure to notify us when Sanders joins the Democratic Party.
posted by JackFlash at 2:53 PM on February 3 [6 favorites]


Since we were fixing the primary process in this thread as well, my whimsical suggestion is that the order be established such that the states that were closest in popular vote margin the prior election go earliest. This will encourage engagement by candidates and voters so that hopefully they can all get a clearer picture what they are actually voting for and it won't be such a struggle. Also, that way we are more likely to boost the candidate that will appeal to those voters.

Yes, this would put Vermont about dead last in the primary process. But, we already more or less are, and have resigned ourselves to recognition that people would be even less interested in our views than they are in Iowa or New Hampshire.
posted by meinvt at 2:57 PM on February 3 [1 favorite]


Tom Perez Stacks the DNC Deck Against Progressives -- A rogues' gallery of influence-peddlers and insider power brokers will run the party's powerful convention committees. (Daniel Boguslaw for New Republic, January 28, 2020)
Ahead of the first major test for the Democratic presidential field next week in Iowa, Democratic National Committee chair Tom Perez has selected his nominees (tweet) for the 2020 Democratic National Convention committees. These nominees, confirmed by the DNC’s executive committee, will serve as the overseers for July’s convention in Milwaukee. Their mandate will include managing the convention’s rulemaking procedures, resolving disputes over delegate credentialing, and codifying the Democratic Party platform. Taken as a whole, these handlers wield tremendous power in shaping both the official party line and the logistics of selecting the Democratic presidential nominee, to say nothing of the way they will influence the course charted by a potential Democratic president.

Thus far, the Democratic presidential primary has been defined by Joe Biden’s bid to appeal to the center and his deep ties to the DNC’s core; the progressive push by the Warren/Sanders contingent, who are viewed as party outsiders; and the smattering of lesser lights jockeying for a position somewhere in between. Perez’s appointments, however, suggest that he would prefer to resolve this ongoing tumult by leaving little room for actualizing the leftward pull (The Atlantic) that the progressive left flank of the party has coaxed out of its colleagues through concessions—such as the cautious exploration, among moderates (Washington Post), of health care policies that are billed as effective alternatives to Medicare for All.
[Note: I don't know enough about any of the statements or individuals to weigh whether this is an accurate summary or not, but it appears well-informed.]
posted by filthy light thief at 2:59 PM on February 3 [1 favorite]


On the spectrum of "are they Democrats?" we have Sanders and Lieberman on opposite ends.

Would that every case of "ehhh, are they a dem?" turned out like Sanders.
posted by Slackermagee at 3:02 PM on February 3 [11 favorites]


I don't know enough about any of the statements or individuals to weigh whether this is an accurate summary or not

It's rife with various perceived slights against Bernie Sanders, some more factual than others. If you click through a few of the links it's pretty easy to figure out that some of the criticisms are lazy hot takes from place like The Hill, and some of them are totally substantive.

Overall, it's a not-unsurprising list of semi-powerful, somewhat-influential democrats, many of whom are affiliated with the previous administration. Some are actively shitty, most would be boring centrists if the center of US politics hadn't shifted so far to the right. But that word is tossed around so much by a certain subset of Bernie supporters that it's sorta hard to take seriously.
posted by aspersioncast at 3:16 PM on February 3 [4 favorites]


In 2004 Bloomberg endorsed Bush over Kerry. The DNC has now decided that individual donations no longer matter to get a place on the debate stage, if you have a billion fucking dollars. (YouTube video 3hrs42minutes but clipped to Michael Moore explaining it that way at 1hr28min and takes a couple minutes).

Since the Sanders campaign makes all their own ads in house they can roll new ones almost everyday. "Suddenly we have the Democratic establishment very nervous about this campaign ... we are their worst nightmare" Sen. Sanders admitting to the charge. feat. Jack White ... cause Bernie rallies are rock concerts.
posted by phoque at 3:16 PM on February 3 [2 favorites]


Be sure to notify us when Sanders joins the Democratic Party.

Bernie Sanders signs DNC loyalty pledge: 'I am a member of the Democratic Party' (NBC News, Mar. 5, 2019)
Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., has formally declared himself a member of the Democratic Party as he seeks its presidential nomination in 2020, abiding by new Democratic National Committee rules.
posted by katra at 3:17 PM on February 3 [14 favorites]


One can find me on this website defending Hillary Clinton in 2008 and then again in 2016. I'm tired of our forever wars and I'm not alone. I don't trust anyone but Bernie to even *try* to stop them and I'm not alone. I'm voting for Bernie for the first time in 2020, and I'm not alone.

I don't really inhabit these threads, but that's where I stand. Thanks for coming to my TED talk.
posted by Kwine at 3:18 PM on February 3 [26 favorites]


The convention committees are the ultimate in inside politics; asking for "outsiders" to be on convention committees is almost by definition non-sensical.

Note, however, that although the article implies otherwise they are mostly important for making sure things run smoothly and formulating the platform and not for picking the actual nominee. And the platform is basically worth the paper its printed on.
posted by Justinian at 3:18 PM on February 3 [1 favorite]


Be sure to notify us when Sanders joins the Democratic Party.

No one can join the Democratic Party. It’s not a membership organization.
posted by Automocar at 3:29 PM on February 3 [5 favorites]


I'm tired of our forever wars and I'm not alone.

This is basically the tipping point for me between Warren and Sanders, particularly given the executive's control over the military and foreign policy. There was a recent video his campaign ran where Cornell West gave a speech about how Sanders thinks that every life is equally valuable --- a life in Iran, a life in Syria, a life in China, are all as valuable as a life in America. That's the attitude I want to see going forward from our president and I 100% buy that Sanders thinks that way and will act accordingly.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 3:35 PM on February 3 [11 favorites]


Cornel West definitely thinks people are equal: Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, for instance. For which I lack the will to forgive him.
posted by Justinian at 3:39 PM on February 3 [9 favorites]


Bernie Sanders signs DNC loyalty pledge: 'I am a member of the Democratic Party'

He has to do that to participate in the debates and primaries. He did it last time too. And he declared himself not a Democrat again literally within minutes of losing the nomination votes standing on the floor at the Democratic convention. He didn't even wait for Clinton's acceptance speech before declaring himself not a Democrat. It's his bitterness and victimization that I find off putting.
posted by JackFlash at 3:40 PM on February 3 [11 favorites]


Vote for whoever you want in the primaries. Either the Democratic nominee or Donald Trump will be elected president in the general election. I'm going to vote for whoever the Democratic nominee is.
posted by kirkaracha at 3:50 PM on February 3 [16 favorites]


Not being a Democrat is a major strength, not a weakness.
posted by One Second Before Awakening at 3:51 PM on February 3 [15 favorites]


You can have legitimate policy disagreements with Sanders, that I can get. But when it comes to character, the other candidates are just so bad. Warren lied about being a POC for decades, Biden sexually harasses women in public, and Klobuchar is abusive as hell. I kinda wish that’s where the debates went but democratic voters do actually care about policy.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 3:53 PM on February 3 [5 favorites]


He has to do that to participate in the debates and primaries. He did it last time too. And he declared himself not a Democrat again literally within minutes of losing the nomination votes standing on the floor at the Democratic convention.

I don't get why this is such a problem. Would people have preferred it if Sanders had decided to run this year as an independent or third party candidate instead of a 'fake' Democrat? Because that almost certainly would have guaranteed a trump reelection.
posted by Atom Eyes at 3:56 PM on February 3 [5 favorites]


Believing what your family tells you about your ancestry isn't lying.
posted by factory123 at 3:57 PM on February 3 [41 favorites]


The convention committees are the ultimate in inside politics; asking for "outsiders" to be on convention committees is almost by definition non-sensical.

Surely there are long-time Democratic *insiders* with deep experience in the party's workings who also whole-heartedly endorse progressive policies like national single-payer healthcare that are widely popular among the Democratic Party base. Why are so few of those being chosen for elevation by Perez?

I suppose someone could argue that progressive party insiders don't exist in significant enough numbers to become visible to those who choose these positions, and that only conservative Democrats working to halt progress towards Medicare for All have the skills to do this work, but...talk about non-sensical.

You may say the platform committee doesn't matter, but if that's the case, why can't it be written by folks who support progressive policies that would disproportionately help the poorest members of the party? Policies a majority of the Democratic base wants to see implemented?
posted by mediareport at 3:59 PM on February 3 [3 favorites]


Cornel West definitely thinks people are equal: Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, for instance. For which I lack the will to forgive him.

So you think that this makes him wrong about a life in Iran being the same as a life in America? Or are you just riffing?
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 4:18 PM on February 3 [3 favorites]


You can have legitimate policy disagreements with Sanders, that I can get. But when it comes to character, the other candidates are just so bad. Warren lied about being a POC for decades...

Puhleez, as mentioned above that's not at all what happened. And acting like Bernie has none of the character flaws like the others is bullshit. His constant centering of white men and selling out the thousands of people killed by guns each year to vote with the NRA weigh much more on my mind as serious character flaws than Warren believing a family story.
posted by chris24 at 4:27 PM on February 3 [26 favorites]


I’m guessing that the point was that Cornel West has historically questionable judgement, and is therefore not the greatest authority to be appealing to.
posted by a box and a stick and a string and a bear at 4:28 PM on February 3 [3 favorites]


I’m guessing that the point was that Cornel West has historically questionable judgement, and is therefore not the greatest authority to be appealing to.

I think he's great; a real leader and an important thinker. If people don't see that, I'm bummed. But I wasn't using him to appeal to authority, but instead to simply identify the relevant speech.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 4:32 PM on February 3 [3 favorites]


Sanders dominating the polls with non-white voters and his NRA rating literally tells an opposite story but yes sure let's continue to do the "Bernie is a toxic white male gun lover who isn't even a democrat" song as long as we're going to play all the completely fucking boring old hits
posted by windbox at 4:35 PM on February 3 [24 favorites]


Would people have preferred it if Sanders had decided to run this year as an independent or third party candidate instead of a 'fake' Democrat?

No, we'd prefer it if he properly joined the Democratic Party. If he understood that despite its flaws, it's good for him to join, and that he's not above it. If he demonstrated a basic understanding of the free rider problem.

I really, really, really like Sanders for his policy perspectives. I really dislike his "the ends justify the means" way of doing what he wants. I don't like it when he pulls this shit with the DNC (even though fuck 'em) and I don't like it when he takes the Joe Rogan endorsement, throwing queer folks and PoC under the bus.

As I've said before, he's my number two, he's far and away better than most of the candidates, but being able to accept criticism is a strength, not a weakness, and it's something he's bad at, and his supporters echo this.

If we need a progressive Trump to beat Trump, so be it. But he really does have that cult of personality vibe going, and it bugs me. But of course, I'll be voting for him in the general if he gets the nod.
posted by explosion at 4:38 PM on February 3 [18 favorites]


ifds,sn9, you see a real leader and an important thinker, and others see a man that loudly endorsed obvious-kremlin-stooge Jill Stein over the “neoliberal disaster” Hillary Clinton. If bringing him up wasn’t an appeal to authority, I guess I’m unclear about why he’s relevant to the discussion?
posted by a box and a stick and a string and a bear at 4:39 PM on February 3 [9 favorites]


Hell yeah we're up to the bitter sniping part of the evening! Who wants to argue with me about Tulsi?
posted by nicolas léonard sadi carnot at 4:41 PM on February 3 [17 favorites]


Cornel West was talking about one of the candidates that's running for president, is why she brought him up. The thread is about several people who are running for President. There's a big vote tonight!
posted by Greg Nog at 4:42 PM on February 3 [5 favorites]


He voted against the Brady Bill five times. And he doesn't dominate in polls with POC, Biden leads with them. So...
posted by chris24 at 4:44 PM on February 3 [4 favorites]


From Monmouth's January 22 poll, Biden has greater nonwhite support than Sanders: 34 vs 26.
posted by factory123 at 4:49 PM on February 3 [4 favorites]


Cornel West said he would take a bullet for Bernie. (YouTube video 1hr15min clipped to Dr.West quote). But not in the heart, that is for his mother, then he points to the Bernie zone near by. So Dr. West is capable assigning different value. Then Phillip Agnew joked he would take a rubber bullet for Bernie perhaps showing better judgment. The whole video (Soul Of The Democratic Party: With Dr Cornel West, Michael Brooks, Esha Krishnaswamy, Philip Agnew) was a really interesting discussion about the dynamics at play for the party and why we are seeing certain reactions.

Biden lying about his civil rights record, again, will likely crater his campaign. That is why he flamed out before.
2 truths and 31 lies Joe Biden has told about his work in the Civil Rights Movement by Shaun King, long article with lots of video clips.


The NYTimes asked Sanders

MC: Now what about your campaign staff? What percentage is women at this point?

The NYTimes did a fact check and found. As of May, the Sanders campaign staff was 71 percent female, according to The Wall Street Journal. The staff is majority nonwhite; 47 percent of members are white and nearly 10 percent are black.
posted by phoque at 4:52 PM on February 3 [5 favorites]


Biden lying about his civil rights record, again, will likely crater his campaign.

Biden may not win, but people have been predicting his campaign would crater 17 of the last 0 times.
posted by Justinian at 4:54 PM on February 3


I'm saying Biden when down in flames in his 2 previous campaigns for President for lying about his record. The tactic doesn't get stronger the third time you do it.
posted by phoque at 5:01 PM on February 3 [3 favorites]


I'm trying really hard to be productive in my comments about the Democratic candidates. But it boggles my mind how I see over and over again criticism on things like Warren lying about her ancestry. But apparently Bernie defending the use of n-word in his book is fine. And so is comparing workers to black slaves.
posted by chernoffhoeffding at 5:05 PM on February 3 [7 favorites]


Sending good vibes to Bernie from a state that doesn't matter
posted by Cezar Golescu at 5:05 PM on February 3


Hi! Actual Iowan here. Posting from my caucus location, even! You’re right, the importance of the Iowa caucus makes no sense. Neither does the Electoral College.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯

In the meantime, I’ll enjoy the national attention and do my best to not elect an asshat.

PS - Elizabeth Warren for president because 45 consecutive penises in a row turned out to be exactly one too many.
posted by Big Al 8000 at 5:06 PM on February 3 [37 favorites]


From Monmouth's January 22 poll, Biden has greater nonwhite support than Sanders: 34 vs 26.

Same day, CNN national poll: Sanders with greater support among non-white voters, 30% to Biden's 27%.

These narratives adjust all the time but Sanders has been gaining on Biden among people of color in recent weeks. Here's one from January 28 in Nevada: Biden at 24%, Sanders at 22%, among women of color. Within the poll's margin of error.
posted by mediareport at 5:06 PM on February 3 [3 favorites]


ifds,sn9, you see a real leader and an important thinker, and others see a man that loudly endorsed obvious-kremlin-stooge Jill Stein over the “neoliberal disaster” Hillary Clinton. If bringing him up wasn’t an appeal to authority, I guess I’m unclear about why he’s relevant to the discussion?

He's kinda not, but I wouldn't want to say that to Justinian because I try to be polite so I tried to just steer the convo back to the point: American imperialism kills, and that fact matters.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 5:08 PM on February 3 [4 favorites]


I hope you Iowa Mefites are having fun, but not TOO much fun... At one Des Moines precinct tonight, an attendee brought in a concealed bottle of wine, dropped it, and it shattered everywhere

Drunk History in action!
posted by sallybrown at 5:09 PM on February 3 [10 favorites]


if all of you warren fans and sanders fans want to unite in hatred of someone, i will gladly deliver my “mom and dad are both great we don’t have to choose between them maybe they’ll end up forced into a coalition at the convention warren/sanders sanders/warren!” speech over and over again until y’all wanna murder me
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 5:10 PM on February 3 [23 favorites]


Wow, this thread so far is a great illustration of perfect being the enemy of good. Holy shit.
posted by LooseFilter at 5:15 PM on February 3 [13 favorites]


The best thing I did to keep feeling positive about all the candidates was to de-engage with Twitter and other places where supporters/surrogates fight with each other. There is a lot of antsy energy and worry that’s been building up since 2016 and combined with the distancing of social media, it can really bring out the inner bully in all of us.

I’ve been heartened listening to the radio coverage tonight and hearing interviews from the caucus where all different candidates’ supporters are not merely open to voting for any Dem nominee, but actually enthusiastic.
posted by sallybrown at 5:16 PM on February 3 [6 favorites]


no the Internet only exists so we can yell at people who aren’t here because they’re in a gym somewhere to vote for and/or against Bernie
posted by Huffy Puffy at 5:16 PM on February 3 [7 favorites]


I just want you all to know that the candidate you support is a bad person and that you are a bad person for supporting them, the end
posted by chuntered inelegantly from a sedentary position at 5:19 PM on February 3 [9 favorites]


this might be the last chance i get to type this so i’m going to take this opportunity to say:

k l o b m e n t u m

no wait:

<marquee>k l o b m e n t u m</marquee>
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 5:24 PM on February 3 [14 favorites]


It would be good if there was a 2nd 'discuss bernie sanders' thread. Just, you know, this time without someone from the finance industry threadsitting for like fifty replies, as well as seemingly endless accusations of bernie supporters being primarily white bros, which, I hope by now, has been proven false.

Unless this happens, you're going to see every primary-related thread for the near future devolve into low-effort arguments over sanders. I'm shaking my head at some of these comments, but responding to them would take the thread further and further away from discussing the topic: the Iowa primary
posted by davedave at 5:38 PM on February 3 [7 favorites]


so who misses the megathreads?
posted by Ahmad Khani at 5:40 PM on February 3 [27 favorites]


It’s Klobberin’ Time
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 5:42 PM on February 3 [18 favorites]


It's 2020, can we stop equating genitals to gender identity
posted by lesser weasel at 5:46 PM on February 3 [12 favorites]


> It would be good if there was a 2nd 'discuss bernie sanders' thread. Just, you know, this time without someone

get with the program the new person to hate is me, the namby-pamby “both warren and sanders are great!” guy.

did you know: both warren and sanders are great! so excellent! maybe we don’t have to choose! omg omg squeee uwu!
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 5:47 PM on February 3 [11 favorites]


>get with the program the new person to hate is me, the namby-pamby “both warren and sanders are great!” guy.

>did you know: both warren and sanders are great! so excellent! maybe we don’t have to choose! omg omg squeee uwu!


I don't really dislike--let alone hate--any posters on this site, even when it comes to politics, least of all someone who likes the two candidates I also like.

Sorry if my post came across as high strung or upset. Waiting for the results is sending my anxiety levels through the roof, and taking it out on you all is bad and uncool. I'll bow out for the night.
posted by davedave at 5:55 PM on February 3 [1 favorite]


> I don't really dislike--let alone hate--any posters on this site [...] I'll bow out for the night


ugh if there’s one thing i hate it’s a quitter
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 5:57 PM on February 3 [6 favorites]


People who don't have cable can watch CNN's Iowa results live coverage for free, without a cable authentication, here. If you prefer C-SPAN, its results coverage starts at 9:30pm EST here, again without authentication required. This CNET article claims CBS is also allowing streaming without cable authentication here, but the video has stayed stuck while loading for me for a while now.
posted by mediareport at 5:57 PM on February 3 [2 favorites]


note that watching the caucus process in action may eliminate whatever residual faith in the process you had remaining
posted by Justinian at 5:59 PM on February 3 [8 favorites]


so who misses the megathreads?

Oh god, yes, so much. I’m constantly missing stuff. This thread isn’t in the politics sidebar and of course not in my recent activity so I though nobody was talking about Iowa until I found this thread five minutes ago.
posted by rabbitrabbit at 6:00 PM on February 3 [4 favorites]


note that watching the caucus process in action may eliminate whatever residual faith in the process you had remaining

I was just gonna say... *laughs*
posted by mediareport at 6:01 PM on February 3


no one knows any results yet but someone on reddit has observed that there’s more hot biden supporters than they expected, like, they knew biden would get a few supporters but who would have thought that any of them would be hot?

just wanted to share that with all of you you’re welcome
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 6:01 PM on February 3 [11 favorites]


I think Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon is drunk. Not a criticism, I'm enjoying it.
posted by AdamCSnider at 6:03 PM on February 3 [8 favorites]


bfd, everybody knows all iowans are hot
posted by Huffy Puffy at 6:04 PM on February 3 [3 favorites]


> more hot biden supporters than they expected
This is the hard-hitting journalism I yearn for.
posted by notpace at 6:04 PM on February 3 [10 favorites]


the hawtguy state
posted by Huffy Puffy at 6:04 PM on February 3 [4 favorites]


there’s more hot biden supporters

Like "Arrested Development hot cop" hot or like "dripping with sweat" hot?
posted by Joey Michaels at 6:04 PM on February 3 [1 favorite]


> I think Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon is drunk. Not a criticism, I'm enjoying it.

god i wish.

another reddit update: some yang supporters won’t admit that their candidate didn’t meet the threshold. they’re just standing in their yang corner, refusing to move to a viable candidate, throwing little rick & morty szechuan sauce hissy fits.

(thus ends tonight’s episode of “thomas pynchon talks about reddit”)
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 6:07 PM on February 3 [19 favorites]


Or hot under their collar?
posted by postel's law at 6:08 PM on February 3 [1 favorite]


oh god, Yang as the Rick&Morty candidate fits perfectly and is not something I had seen before.
posted by Justinian at 6:10 PM on February 3 [4 favorites]


throwing little rick & morty szechuan sauce hissy fits

A perfect characterization, enthusiastic golf clap from over here.
posted by LooseFilter at 6:25 PM on February 3 [2 favorites]


both warren and sanders are great! so excellent!

Let them fight.

Seriously, I don't think anyone was doing any favors by letting Biden and Sanders just coast for the longest time. It just created this aura that they could not be attacked.
posted by FJT at 6:26 PM on February 3 [1 favorite]


no one knows any results yet but someone on reddit has observed that there’s more hot biden supporters than they expected

Are they 80? My caucus site (suburban Johnson county - Democratic stronghold) split 3 ways between Buttigieg, Sanders & Warren. The non-viable Biden contingent was almost exclusively comprised of retirees.
posted by Big Al 8000 at 6:26 PM on February 3 [2 favorites]


some yang supporters won’t admit that their candidate didn’t meet the threshold

I'm a yeller on the threshold
And I'm waiting at the door
And I'm stuck here in the causus
I don't want to wait no more
posted by kirkaracha at 6:32 PM on February 3 [1 favorite]



Seriously, I don't think anyone was doing any favors by letting Biden and Sanders just coast for the longest time. It just created this aura that they could not be attacked.

Sorry, what? They've both been criticized a ton.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 6:41 PM on February 3 [2 favorites]


That came out shittier than I intended. I actually am curious about why you think this despite the (unintentional) attitude. Apologies!
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 6:51 PM on February 3 [2 favorites]


Report from rural Johnson County (town pop.: low 4 digits, generally purple but in very blue county, total of 4 delegates to award):

School cafeteria, two tables each for: Klobuchar, Buttigieg, Steyer, Yang, Biden, Warren, Sanders.

Bloomberg, Gabbard, and Bennet were not represented at all.

Klobuchar: generally middle-aged and older, mostly female.
Buttigieg: younger, mostly but not entirely male.
Steyer: almost empty but with a couple older guys. I think no women?
Yang: difficult to tell because there were a couple volunteers from Massachusetts in "MATH" caps (which is a thing I just found out about tonight) and it was tough to tell who was actually a voter.
Biden: older, skewed very male. Dude claiming to be a personal friend of Biden's, from Delaware, was also present as a volunteer, which sucked because there was no microphone being used by the guy running the actual meeting and Biden's friend wouldn't shut the fuck up.
Warren: near-equal male/female, slight lean toward older but fairly balanced.
Sanders: mostly very young but with a significant minority of very old; near-equal gender balance but with a slight lean toward male.

113 people present, viability threshold was 17.

first round, after the undecideds picked somebody:
Klobuchar: 18
Buttigieg: 22
Steyer: 7
Yang: 2
Biden: 8
Warren: 18
Sanders: 38

after realignment:
Klobuchar: 22 (picked up 4)
Buttigieg: 25 (picked up 3)
Warren: 24 (picked up 6)
Sanders: 38 (unchanged)
uncommitted / refused to realign: 4

Each of the 4 viable candidates received 1 delegate. Overall: good night to be supporting Klobuchar; may or may not have been disappointing to the Sanders fans, depending on how many delegates they felt they deserved to get. Fairly quick process if you were in the group of a viable candidate after the first vote: I stayed to see the realignment, but could have gone home about 45 minutes after it officially started.
posted by Spathe Cadet at 7:01 PM on February 3 [14 favorites]


If anything, it's felt like Buttigieg was allowed to coast. Aside from maybe one week where people were serious about his consulting work, he's just been allowed to be a Republican front-runner in a Democratic field. His husband posted glamour shots taken in a Holocaust memorial, and people just...forgot.
posted by explosion at 7:01 PM on February 3 [12 favorites]


Update from liberal stronghold Johnson County: woah this is running more smoothly than I expected. After first alignment, only Warren and Sanders are viable, with Warren slightly ahead. Not sure how that will change on realignment. I think the Buttigieg and Klobuchar people are trying to strike some sort of deal to make one of them viable. Biden wasn't even close.

Be curious to hear how things are going in other parts of the state.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 7:11 PM on February 3 [6 favorites]


Pete Buttigieg is the worst.

If only the pragmatist donor class had rallied around Booker or Harris or Gillibrand rather than a slimy test-tube wide-eyed false unity candidate, we would be so much better off.
posted by Gadarene at 7:11 PM on February 3 [12 favorites]


If people are strategically refusing to realign to any candidate (as opposed to just wanting to go home) is there a reason other than trying to keep candidates they don’t like from picking up delegates?

I’ve been surprised by the groups of Yang/Klobuchar/Buttigieg supporters banding together as unaligned rather than at least some splitting off to Warren. It seems like her unity strategy might not be working the way it needs to.
posted by sallybrown at 7:14 PM on February 3


> rather than a slimy test-tube wide-eyed false unity candidate

i mean and bracketing off the wide-eyed sliminess and the false unity stuff there is nothing in the dude’s resume to suggest that he’d be any good whatsoever at the actual work of being president. that’s the thing that bugs me the most.

well okay and also: mckinsey.

i guess buttigieg bugs me.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 7:15 PM on February 3 [14 favorites]


I've been in the Warren camp but like her and Bernie about equally, for different reasons. Even if someone like Klobuchar or Buttigieg ends up as the nominee (unlikely), I'll still count my blessings, although less enthusiastically. Biden is about the only one I'd feel super let down about.

As always, it's hard to keep the candidate and their supporters separate. Some of my pro-Bernie friends online have nothing but s*** to give to the other candidates, and keep going on about various anti-Bernie conspiracies, which can be a real turnoff when unproven. There's overlap with people I know who maintain that 9/11 was an inside job so ... yeesh.

I've been very liberal all my life and open to replacing our garbage system with something better, but suddenly if I support anyone but Bernie I'm a corporate apologist and the world is dooooooooomed. It's pretty insulting, but I suppose I'm still paying off my karma debt from voting for Nader in my foolish youth. Learn from me: both sides are not the same. Do not do what I did!
posted by freecellwizard at 7:16 PM on February 3 [21 favorites]


I think sometimes people are just bummed that their candidate wasn't viable, and they can't really think through who their second choice would be. And I think there may be some people here for whom both Sanders and Warren are unacceptable, so if they can't strike a deal with another moderate, then they'd rather just sit it out. On the other hand, there are a lot of Democrats who really don't like Sanders, so I think in this instance Warren might pick up some anyone-but-Bernie people on realignment, even if they're not really fans.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 7:18 PM on February 3 [1 favorite]


I’ve been surprised by the groups of Yang/Klobuchar/Buttigieg supporters banding together as unaligned rather than at least some splitting off to Warren. It seems like her unity strategy might not be working the way it needs to.

From the NYT:
Cory Booker may have dropped out, but he won a state delegate at a caucus at Drake University in a protest move by Yang, Klobuchar & Biden supporters.
I don't quite get this either TBH
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 7:19 PM on February 3 [2 favorites]


Buttigiegmentum?
posted by Justinian at 7:24 PM on February 3 [1 favorite]


The Pod Save America team is in Iowa and interviewing random people, and there are so many views on the street that idk what's going to happen. They even talked to a few reasonable-seeming people who said if Warren or Sanders was the nominee they might vote for Trump. I have no idea how to explain that, but there you go.

It's definitely hard to get pumped up for a certain person and then quietly switch without complaint. So I don't blame people, but I have had uncharacteristically harsh attacks from pretty close friends.
posted by freecellwizard at 7:25 PM on February 3 [2 favorites]


> Cory Booker may have dropped out, but he won a state delegate at a caucus at Drake University in a protest move by Yang, Klobuchar & Biden supporters.

<img src=“drake.jpg”
alt=“drake rejecting: viable candidates
drake approving: cory booker”/>
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 7:26 PM on February 3 [6 favorites]


They even talked to a few reasonable-seeming people who said if Warren or Sanders was the nominee they might vote for Trump.

I truly do not understand how one gets from one to the other. Incredible mental gymnastics; surely an absence of logical thought making processes.
posted by Ahmad Khani at 7:27 PM on February 3 [7 favorites]


They even talked to a few reasonable-seeming people who said if Warren or Sanders was the nominee they might vote for Trump. I have no idea how to explain that, but there you go.

Sour grapes. If you could ask them four months from now who they're voting for, after the sting of their favored Dem candidate losing has faded, they'd likely say they're voting for whichever Dem is the nominee. People say a lot of things they don't mean when their blood is up. Adults only act like adults on average, not all the time.
posted by lefty lucky cat at 7:29 PM on February 3 [3 favorites]


Iowa results delayed by technical glitches with their newfangled app-based reporting system. WHO COULD HAVE FORESEEN SUCH A THING.
posted by Rhaomi at 7:32 PM on February 3 [18 favorites]


how could they possibly think that thing was a good idea.
posted by Justinian at 7:34 PM on February 3 [3 favorites]


High drama, you guys. Klobuchar is viable on realignment! Still waiting on delegate counts.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 7:38 PM on February 3


I still don't get how this caucus thing works.

It's to disenfranchise people, right? That's why it's so fucked up?
posted by Yowser at 7:39 PM on February 3 [7 favorites]


They even talked to a few reasonable-seeming people who said if Warren or Sanders was the nominee they might vote for Trump.

Eh, some of those folks are probably just insulated and safe from whoever wins. Other than maybe seeing their taxes go up or down a bit, I think for them it's just mostly wanting to be on the winning team. I think this is similar to how some Obama-Trump voters think.
posted by FJT at 7:40 PM on February 3


It's sort of weird to me that anybody participating in the caucus wouldn't have a "if my candidate is nonviable" second choice ready to go, given the chaotic nature of the process and the unclear polling leading up to the event. I felt like I was being kind of irresponsible for not having a third choice already in mind.
posted by Spathe Cadet at 7:40 PM on February 3 [1 favorite]


Nobody gets how it works. It's one of those quirky, charming Iowa things, like butter cows, except with more disenfranchisement.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 7:41 PM on February 3 [4 favorites]


Interesting point from Twitter:

I'm really feeling uncomfortable with all of this imagery (on TV as well) identifying whom individual voters support. The Iowa caucus was never democratic, but in the facial recognition age it is now verging on dangerous.

On a similar note, Lisa Lerer at the NYT live update page has this:

I spoke to a woman who was driven to her caucus site by a friend supporting Sanders, so she felt pressure to back him. This is public voting.

Such a truly dumb system.
posted by mediareport at 7:42 PM on February 3 [17 favorites]


I hope this fiasco lets us finally re-assess the value of this archaic anti-democratic ridiculousness. No matter which candidate wins.
posted by Justinian at 7:42 PM on February 3 [4 favorites]


Final delegate tally: 5 for Warren, 5 for Bernie, 2 for Klobuchar. Holy fuck, I may be home by 11.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 7:44 PM on February 3 [15 favorites]


Good on you guys for not giving any to Buttigieg, AAC.
posted by Justinian at 7:46 PM on February 3 [6 favorites]


I hope this fiasco lets us finally re-assess the value of this archaic anti-democratic ridiculousness. No matter which candidate wins.

Spoiler alert: it absolutely will not.

(Even assuming, because I'm feeling optimistic, the continued existence of the republic.)
posted by Gadarene at 7:50 PM on February 3 [3 favorites]


They even talked to a few reasonable-seeming people who said if Warren or Sanders was the nominee they might vote for Trump.

If they say that, at this late date over three years into Trump's hellish administration, then it doesn't matter how "reasonable seeming" they are. They are FOOLS.
posted by JHarris at 7:50 PM on February 3 [17 favorites]


> Good on you guys for not giving any to Buttigieg, AAC.

not gonna lie justinian and i tend to agree on basically no controversial matter whatsoever and so the fact that we’re both like “buttigieg is the literal worst” is i think strong evidence that buttigieg is indeed the literal worst.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 7:52 PM on February 3 [14 favorites]


While just participating in a caucus has an unnecessarily high bar, the realignment part is actually *good*. In a normal primary, where you just get to vote once, if your candidate doesn't meet the threshold, sorry, sucks to be you- your vote is wasted in the sense that it will not affect delegate counts. But with realignment, you can at least try to affect the delegate count towards your second choice. It's the physical in-person musical-chairs version of Instant-Runoff Voting.
posted by Jpfed at 7:54 PM on February 3 [8 favorites]


not gonna lie justinian and i tend to agree on basically no controversial matter whatsoever and so the fact that we’re both like “buttigieg is the literal worst” is i think strong evidence that buttigieg is indeed the literal worst.

I was just thinking this exact thing.
posted by Gadarene at 7:55 PM on February 3


Buttigieg 2020: Uniting Americans of all races, genders, and creeds!*

*against mayo pete
posted by Justinian at 7:57 PM on February 3 [7 favorites]


Word on Twitter is a precinct captain at a church basement caucus in Altoona mispronounced Buttigieg's name, so the whole caucus has been cancelled out of an abundance of caution. /s
posted by Rhaomi at 7:59 PM on February 3 [2 favorites]


The Wall Street Journal has apparently un-paywalled some of its Iowa coverage, so you can read this article from last week about the decisions the state Dems made with the new app:

Douglas Jones, an associate professor of computer science at the University of Iowa, who has studied election security, called the idea a “security nightmare,” and said that cellphones were difficult to protect against the range of possible threats....

The Iowa Democratic Party has declined to disclose some details about the app, such as the vendor that made it, saying that doing so could inadvertently help potential cyber attackers.

Some security experts took issue with that approach. “The argument the party is using is effective at preventing public oversight, but it’s not effective at protecting against” cyber threats, said Mr. Jones...

Both Democrats and Republicans in Iowa used an app from Microsoft Corp. in 2016. The company said it helped the parties report 95% of their precinct results in about four hours.


So, security concerns about using personal smartphones aside, the previous app seems to have worked fine. Maybe that's why they're not telling anyone who made the new one.

[eta: now it's paywalled for me, sorry]
posted by mediareport at 7:59 PM on February 3 [3 favorites]


10:43 PM: Quality control checks delay caucus results, Iowa Democrats say (WaPo)
Nearly three hours after Iowans began caucusing, there are still no official results from the Iowa Democratic Party.

“We have experienced a delay in the results due to quality checks and the fact that the IDP is reporting out three data sets for the first time. What we know right now is that around 25% of precincts have reported, and early data indicates turnout is on pace for 2016,” Iowa Democratic Party spokeswoman Mandy McClure said in a statement. [...]

It was unclear how much new technology factored into the delay. Earlier Monday, there were reports some precinct chairs were struggling to use a new app to send results to the state party. Precinct chairs can still report results the traditional way, using a hotline.
NYT: "Many precinct chairs across the state abandoned the new app that was built to help tabulate and report results as users struggled to log in. They opted instead to use the telephone hotline to report, which can also slow down the reporting of results."
posted by katra at 8:05 PM on February 3 [1 favorite]


quality control checks sounds like what you tell your boss when you screwed the pooch and are desperately working to salvage the situation before he finds out what happened
posted by Justinian at 8:08 PM on February 3 [11 favorites]


Democratic campaign: "It's clear that something has gone wrong". (CNN)

Well, this is just a boffo kick-off to the primaries!
posted by lkc at 8:10 PM on February 3 [6 favorites]




Spoiler alert: it absolutely will not.

The inability to satisfy the hunger for instant results and analysis might.
posted by atoxyl at 8:11 PM on February 3 [2 favorites]


Democratic campaign: "It's clear that something has gone wrong". (CNN)

It's an anonymous quote from some annoyed campaign staffer, irresponsibly amplified by CNN. Meh.
posted by tivalasvegas at 8:12 PM on February 3 [1 favorite]


lmao, CNN was live with a precinct captain who had been on hold on the backup reporting hotline the Dems had set up for over an hour. The hotline picked up mid-interview, so the guy apologizes he has to cut the interview short. Then Wolf Blitzer breaks in and asks if they can listen in to him reporting the results. The captain says fine, returns to his phone, and... they had hung up on him.
posted by Rhaomi at 8:13 PM on February 3 [12 favorites]


Iowa Dems say 'quality checks' holding up vote reporting (Politico)
The results delay came after anecdotal reports from precinct caucus chairs early Monday who said they were having issues with their caucus night reporting apps. The app, developed by the Democratic Party, helps the chairs do the math to help figure out which candidates will meet the viability thresholds Monday night. And it’s a tool to feed the ultimate results to the party in real-time.

Patty Judge, who will run a caucus in Monroe County, said she was unable to figure out how to use hers. Linda Nelson, in Pottawattamie County, said the same this afternoon: “I’m still struggling.” In Polk County, county Democratic Party chair Sean Bagniewski said only about 20 percent of the chairs will actually be able to use it.

“We’re telling everyone to phone it in at this point," Bagniewski said.
posted by katra at 8:16 PM on February 3


Sour grapes. If you could ask them four months from now who they're voting for, after the sting of their favored Dem candidate losing has faded, they'd likely say they're voting for whichever Dem is the nominee. People say a lot of things they don't mean when their blood is up. Adults only act like adults on average, not all the time.

I mean, I’d like to believe that, but we have evidence from 2016 that there was a non-negligible group of Obama-turned-Trump voters, who just couldn’t get on board with uppity wimmen folk sensible pantsuits, and so voted for the literal antichrist instead. People contain multitudes, and sometimes cling so desperately to shreds of their identities that they’re willing to vote for the leopards-eating-faces party even when they know their faces are on the buffet table.

Hell, I’m as “vote blue no matter what” as you can get, and it’d even take me a little bit of psyching up to vote for Biden or Buttigieg in the general. I’ll probably come around to it, but damned if it wouldn’t sting like hell to have to go out and stump for retrograde racist grandpa or Mayo Pete.
posted by Mayor West at 8:17 PM on February 3 [8 favorites]


“We’re telling everyone to phone it in at this point," Bagniewski said.

2020, everybody!

MetaFilter: We’re telling everyone to phone it in at this point
posted by Mayor West at 8:20 PM on February 3 [18 favorites]


Hell, I’m as “vote blue no matter what” as you can get, and it’d even take me a little bit of psyching up to vote for Biden or Buttigieg in the general. I’ll probably come around to it, but damned if it wouldn’t sting like hell to have to go out and stump for retrograde racist grandpa or Mayo Pete.

Yeah - everyone says it, until they don't, and then a lot of them probably come around again by the time of the general election but not quite all of them.
posted by atoxyl at 8:21 PM on February 3


Video of the madcap sad trombone hilarity Rhaomi just described.
posted by mediareport at 8:23 PM on February 3 [2 favorites]


Yesterday's Pod Save had various primary caucus interviews, and notably 2 of the 3 Yang voters were Yang or Trump all the way.
posted by Marticus at 8:23 PM on February 3 [1 favorite]


Just as an FYI, Bernie's people planned for this and developed their own app for logging results. Assuming the precinct captains are inputting information, Bernie's camp should have accurate numbers even if no one else does.

This is the data Bernie's precinct captains have been collecting through their own app. They should be able to use this data to pinpoint any "irregularities" in the data reported by the party. The campaign has been very proactive about a possible situation like this

posted by mediareport at 8:29 PM on February 3 [2 favorites]


> Yesterday's Pod Save had various primary caucus interviews, and notably 2 of the 3 Yang voters were Yang or Trump all the way.

that gave me a little bit of a heart attack. i hope that number doesn’t meaningfully reflect the attitudes of the average nationwide yang gang member. i think i’ve been unconsciously thinking of those guys as future low-information sanders voters...
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 8:30 PM on February 3 [2 favorites]


“We’re telling everyone to phone it in at this point,"

Yeah, I think we're all way ahead of you there, buddy.
posted by FJT at 8:31 PM on February 3 [5 favorites]


“We’re telling everyone to phone it in at this point,"

Yeah, I think we're all way ahead of you there, buddy.



This is me for the last 3 years.
posted by Marticus at 8:32 PM on February 3 [1 favorite]


IIRC the nexus of Yang support was in 4chan trolls who had boosted Trump in '16, so I wouldn't be surprised if a lot of his people said that.

Also, awkward: Biden and Warren come out to speak at the same time.
posted by Rhaomi at 8:33 PM on February 3 [7 favorites]


Oh wow, that makes me wonder if Yang-Trump is a thing because the one Yang fan I know voted Trump and has made it clear he will never vote Biden, Warren, or Sanders (unclear if he knows about the other candidates). I guess it's not THAT surprising, wasn't Yang's early support from alt-right trolls?
posted by schroedinger at 8:33 PM on February 3 [4 favorites]


NYT: "“This is not a hack,” Iowa Democratic Party says, adding that results were delayed because of a “reporting issue.”
“We found inconsistencies in the reporting of three sets of results,” said Mandy McClure, communications director for the Iowa Democratic Party. “In addition to the tech systems being used to tabulate results, we are also using photos of results and a paper trail to validate that all results match and ensure that we have confidence and accuracy in the numbers we report. This is simply a reporting issue, the app did not go down and this is not a hack or an intrusion. The underlying data and paper trail is sound and will simply take time to further report the results.”
posted by katra at 8:33 PM on February 3 [2 favorites]


or what Rhaomi said
posted by schroedinger at 8:34 PM on February 3


i think i’ve been unconsciously thinking of those guys as future low-information sanders voters

I mean half of them are 4chan guys, so...

(I think they do actually represent a group that could split to any of the outsider-y candidates, though, inclusive of Bernie)
posted by atoxyl at 8:34 PM on February 3


I believe them that there is no hack. I do not for a second believe them that the app didn't crash.
posted by Justinian at 8:35 PM on February 3 [6 favorites]




Kinda shitty of CNN to run Klobuchar uninterrupted, Biden uninterrupted, but then cut off the beginning of Warren's speech AND the end so they can deliver... no new news.
posted by Rhaomi at 8:40 PM on February 3 [22 favorites]


The app seems like a completely terrible idea, but I have no idea how reporting worked in the past. Anyway, my sense is that tonight was really epically bad for Biden, but maybe that just reflects the random people I'm hearing from.

I can't believe that the fucking app is going to end up being the story, because to me the story is that my caucus ran so vastly much more smoothly than things did in 2016. But we might just have had a particularly organized chair.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 8:42 PM on February 3 [3 favorites]


This is the data Bernie's precinct captains have been collecting through their own app.

If I was a game theorist, the fact that they have their own app, and therefore have their own totals, and have not leaked them, suggests that they may not have won. On the other hand, maybe they just have good team discipline.
posted by chortly at 8:45 PM on February 3 [1 favorite]


I have no idea how reporting worked in the past.

From that WSJ article I linked earlier:

Both Democrats and Republicans in Iowa used an app from Microsoft Corp in 2016. The company said it helped the parties report 95% of their precinct results in about four hours.
posted by mediareport at 8:45 PM on February 3


Making the caucuses even more of a clusterfuck? There’s an app for that!
posted by azpenguin at 8:46 PM on February 3 [2 favorites]


Biden is apparently saying that the app failure calls the whole result into question. LOL, you sore loser.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 8:46 PM on February 3 [18 favorites]


Iowa Democratic HQ staring at this on their screens panicking over how to cover it up.

What does this mean? What does yellow signify? And why are the numbers from Saturday? Help?
posted by Mothlight at 8:47 PM on February 3 [2 favorites]


Anyway, my sense is that tonight was really epically bad for Biden, but maybe that just reflects the random people I'm hearing from.

Guardian: "Joe Biden’s campaign has sent a fiery letter to the Iowa Democratic Party, saying the app and the back-up phone system meant to convey results have “failed.” [...] The candidate’s general counsel said the campaign looked forward to hearing “full explanations” on how the reporting got derailed.
“In the meantime,” the letter concludes, “we are on to New Hampshire, on the road to the most important election of our lifetimes.”
posted by katra at 8:48 PM on February 3 [1 favorite]


Have they tried rebooting the caucus, or checking that it's plugged in?

And don't worry. If all else fails, we can always downgrade to Caucus '16.
posted by FJT at 8:48 PM on February 3 [5 favorites]


Mothlight: "What does this mean? What does yellow signify? And why are the numbers from Saturday? Help?"

It's one of the better 2016 memes: every time there's a big election night, somebody photoshops a map where sadsack Jeb! Bush comes out of nowhere to win 100% of the vote.
posted by Rhaomi at 8:51 PM on February 3 [6 favorites]


Lol yup, there it is. A progressive winning means there was obviously some mistake, or goodness me, something fishy going on!

Enjoy this preview of November.
posted by FakeFreyja at 8:51 PM on February 3 [6 favorites]


The Iowa Democratic Party is saying that they have somewhere around 35% of the results in, but need to verify them. Surely at least some precincts are cross-checked by now. Why wouldn't data be coming out at this point, even if slowly?
posted by meinvt at 8:53 PM on February 3


In some ways, it's honestly kind of impressive that our election system is so stupid in so many variegated ways (and that our political system is so jam-packed full of audaciously bad actors) that every cycle can bring a totally new way for things to completely break down and lead to mass confusion and total disarray.
posted by Copronymus at 8:54 PM on February 3 [15 favorites]


If I was a game theorist, the fact that they have their own app, and therefore have their own totals, and have not leaked them, suggests that they may not have won. On the other hand, maybe they just have good team discipline.

I’m seeing leaked numbers on twitter from the sanders camp that has him way ahead of everyone else.
posted by rabbitrabbit at 8:55 PM on February 3 [1 favorite]


The thing is, this go round there are cards that record every attendee's choice, and we can double-check the app and make sure everything is right. So we might not know the results right away, but it's not like the results are illegitimate. But it's a good way to spin a humiliating defeat.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 8:55 PM on February 3 [5 favorites]


Frankly, accurate election results should take a long time to collect and verify. I mean, by "a long time" we're talking hours, not weeks.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 9:03 PM on February 3 [9 favorites]


This is a horrible night for the Democratic Party in a million different ways no matter who ends up “winning”.
posted by eagles123 at 9:05 PM on February 3 [1 favorite]


I’m seeing leaked numbers on twitter from the sanders camp that has him way ahead of everyone else.

For the final results? I didn't see anybody who seemed serious about it yet.
posted by atoxyl at 9:07 PM on February 3


Not sure how this is such a disaster for Ds. Final results have often gone into the next days and that was when they were tracking one set of numbers not three. Yes, it's been slow and TV people are upset they don't have numbers, but nobody will care about this in a month. Trump will have done a million terrible things and a tech issue won't matter
posted by chris24 at 9:11 PM on February 3 [12 favorites]


Lots of people posted their favorable precinct results of course.
posted by atoxyl at 9:12 PM on February 3


Trump will have done a million terrible things and yet the media will remain fixated on democratic party stumbles.
posted by Ahmad Khani at 9:13 PM on February 3 [9 favorites]


CNN relaying concerns from Warren aides that their campaign hotline was deluged with reports of precinct captains not following the rules and making mistakes in the caucus math...
posted by Rhaomi at 9:20 PM on February 3 [2 favorites]


It sounds like turnout was less than expected. Plus, the party doesn’t seem to be coalescing around a front runner. Instead, it looks like quite the opposite. On top of that, the delay looks bad because it’s unexpected. Counting votes into the night because of a close race is one thing; completely delaying any results except two percent of the vote is another. It just looks bad, and it will undoubtedly sow hard feelings. I hope I am wrong.
posted by eagles123 at 9:21 PM on February 3


Guardian: Iowa results may not come out tonight, Democratic source tells the Hill
posted by katra at 9:22 PM on February 3


Buttigieg: "Iowa, you have shocked the nation..."

you're right about that, bud

"...because by all indications, we will go on to New Hampshire victorious!"

wut.
posted by Rhaomi at 9:24 PM on February 3 [1 favorite]


The campaigns know the approximate numbers from reporting back from their own precinct captains.
posted by Chrysostom at 9:26 PM on February 3 [3 favorites]


I'm actually kinda fine with it being a bit of a clusterfuck cuz I don't think caucuses or Iowa are very representative nor should have much influence so if this minimizes that, then good.
posted by chris24 at 9:26 PM on February 3 [3 favorites]


okay wait I’m trying to figure out what’s going on: the official app or whatever crashed and so the official count is super slow garbage but also the sanders team has its own count? or is the sanders count an Internet nonsense myth? or is nothing real and truth itself a lie?

ps now i am drunk.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 9:27 PM on February 3 [12 favorites]


CNN relaying concerns from Warren aides that their campaign hotline was deluged with reports of precinct captains not following the rules and making mistakes in the caucus math...
Interesting. My sense is that a lot of people in my precinct thought that Warren got screwed, because she had a fair number more people than Bernie but ended up with the same number of delegates. But I think that caucus math is just weird, and it wasn't a mistake or a conspiracy.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 9:27 PM on February 3 [2 favorites]


Counting votes into the night because of a close race is one thing; completely delaying any results except two percent of the vote is another. It just looks bad, and it will undoubtedly sow hard feelings. I hope I am wrong.

Hard feelings by who?
posted by PMdixon at 9:29 PM on February 3


In call with campaigns, Iowa state party officials struggle to explain why results are delayed (WaPo)
In a call with the campaigns earlier this evening, the Iowa Democratic Party struggled to explain why Iowa caucus results have not been released. According to two sources with information about the call, the party would not say why it was not releasing any information, and struggled to explain what issues had caused the considerable delay.

According to sources, the party said that 35 percent of precincts had successfully reported their numbers to the state party. In earlier statements, state party officials said they were working to confirm precinct results. On the call with campaigns, they would not say whether it had verified even one precinct.

“It’s just a total mess and no timeline for when it becomes clearer,” a source affiliated with one campaign said.

On the call, when campaign aides pressed for a release time on the results, the IDP hung up.
posted by katra at 9:31 PM on February 3 [2 favorites]


but also the sanders team has its own count?

I've seen reports from Warren supporters that her team had their own app as well. Kind of makes sense that smart campaigns would develop a quick way to check in with their people at each precinct to verify the official count. I'm not any kind of app developer, but that doesn't seem too difficult. Or you could just use chat/Slack/whatever.
posted by mediareport at 9:32 PM on February 3 [1 favorite]




One potential positive out of this is that Democratic Party officials get so pissed at Iowa for fucking this up so obviously that they start stripping its privileges and make it have a normal election on Super Tuesday.
posted by Copronymus at 9:37 PM on February 3 [3 favorites]


Waiting for CNN to cut Pete's fake victory speech short for no reason like they did Warren's... waiting... waiting..........
posted by Rhaomi at 9:40 PM on February 3 [6 favorites]


Democratic voters - we pledge to vote for any Democrat who wins

Iowa - we don't know who won
posted by Joey Michaels at 9:41 PM on February 3 [19 favorites]


So, uh, what other state has a caucus and how do their results get reported and surely they wouldn't have hired the same vendor and oh no—

@nicoleperlroth: The app being used tonight was cobbled together in the past two months after a previous reporting scheme - which involved caucus goers calling their votes in over the phone- was scrapped for security reasons. The app was never vetted by DHS, never tested at scale, and NV is......slated to use a similar app for its caucus in a few weeks. Fun times.

@lhfang: Three different sources say a firm called "Shadow" developed the Iowa Dem caucus app. They haven't responded to comment, neither has Iowa Dem Party. The firm was paid by both Nevada & Iowa Democratic Party, disclosures show. Also by Mayor Pete's campaign. Nevada Dem federal account paid Shadow $58k in August, Iowa Dems state account paid Shadow $63,183 in two payments over Nov & Dec, suggesting app wasn't developed until just months ago? Both caucus states. Shadow is a spin-off from PACRONYM, a new Dem dark money/superPAC hybrid.

Yes, the app developer is literally named "Shadow" and worked for NV as well. And if you're wondering why I'm constantly skeptical of the 8 billion "we're going to win this time WITH TECHNOLOGY" firms that sprout up like weeds, this is why.

but also the sanders team has its own count?

Every (reasonably organized) campaign has their own count, because they have their own systems to get numbers from their own precinct captains and check them against the official results from the state party (and flag up any discrepancies to investigate them). There's no real mystery here, and all the campaigns should have a decent idea what the unofficial results are at this point.
posted by zachlipton at 9:42 PM on February 3 [16 favorites]


okay i’m pretty sure “nothing is real truth is a lie” is the answer to my question upthread
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 9:43 PM on February 3 [1 favorite]


Buttigieg is by far my least favorite candidate so that is how I know he is not bluffing and has actually won. Fuck me with a chainsaw.
posted by great_radio at 9:52 PM on February 3


Wait, $120k to develop this app over two months? I have no idea how complex this particular app is, but 2 months turn around for any piece of software is quite fast (and $120k is about 6-7 devs' worth of hours over that period). I'm not at all surprised it doesn't work.
posted by axiom at 9:53 PM on February 3 [5 favorites]


My best guess is that this is all user error due to inadequate training and poorly designed or non-intuitive user interface.
posted by JackFlash at 9:53 PM on February 3 [7 favorites]


So Buttigieg (I love that his name is in autocorrect) just declared victory. Biden and Warren are complaining and calling the manager. Sanders had a speech, but I haven’t heard much more from him. His supporters online are demoralized as far as I can tell.

From the votes that were counted, it looks like Sanders, Warren Buttigieg in that order ... which is close to the DMR polls? But only 2 percent of the votes were counted.

Clusterfuck.
posted by eagles123 at 9:53 PM on February 3


welp
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 9:55 PM on February 3


Ryan Cooper, National Correspondent for The Week: "a hearty thanks to Barack Obama for dumping Islamophobic oppo on Keith Ellison so disciplined organizational mastermind Tom Perez could run the DNC"
posted by Apocryphon at 9:58 PM on February 3 [7 favorites]


The DNC is not the Iowa Democratic Party
posted by zachlipton at 10:00 PM on February 3 [12 favorites]


okay time to get to sleep uh everyone just pretend i said the stuff about bourgeois electoral politics that one such as me generally says in this sort of situation
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 10:00 PM on February 3 [11 favorites]


Ryan Cooper is apparently very stupid.

The DNC does not organize or run the Iowa Caucus.
posted by Justinian at 10:00 PM on February 3 [10 favorites]




after a previous reporting scheme - which involved caucus goers calling their votes in over the phone- was scrapped for security reasons.

Again, per the WSJ last week: in 2016, Iowa caucus results for both parties were reported using a Microsoft-created app that Microsoft folks said let them report 95% of the precincts within 4 hours. I have no idea how that compared to the 2012 caucuses and before, which were reported by phone. Here's an MS comms guy on Twitter saying things went smoothly:

We had a great partnership with the Iowa political parties in 2016, but we are not part of the caucuses this year and have not been involved in building or supporting their app.

So, we have no idea why the 2016 app was scrapped in favor of this new app, and we don't know what "security reasons" surrounding the use of phones had arisen in 2012 or 2016 that would somehow be lessened by a new app downloaded to every precinct captain's personal cellphone.
posted by mediareport at 10:15 PM on February 3 [1 favorite]


Declaring yourself victorious in an absence of evidence is absolutely a douchey move, but if Buttigieg didn't either win or come close enough that he can pretend he it was a rounding error, he's out in the next few weeks anyway. He's going to eat shit no matter what in South Carolina, and quite possibly in Nevada and New Hampshire, too, so he'd be going into Super Tuesday in 4th place with no plausible path to victory. Being hounded about making up results tonight only accelerates that timeline slightly. Or maybe he did win, in which case everyone will forget about this by the end of the week.
posted by Copronymus at 10:18 PM on February 3 [1 favorite]


CEO of the company that owns Shadow, Tara McGowan: "MAYOR PETE IS RUNNING 😍😍😍"

Good lord, this is a mess
posted by lesser weasel at 10:18 PM on February 3 [13 favorites]


Tom Perez who led the DNC for the biggest midterm victory in modern American history? That "unorganized" Tom Perez?
posted by chris24 at 10:19 PM on February 3 [9 favorites]


Buttigieg . . I dunno. It all just seems very suspect. He declares victory despite there being no results. I'm seeing things that say his campaign has paid Shadow along with the Iowa and Nevada Dem parties and his campaign was responsible for suspending the poll this weekend . . . I mean I always joke that I don't like him because he reminds me of grade grubbing Tracy Flick, but if I remember correctly, Tracy Flick was a victim of electoral shenanigans... not uncomfortably close to them . . .
posted by flamk at 10:20 PM on February 3 [1 favorite]


At the very least, this is a chance to take the Iowa caucus’ inability to launch the primaries without shooting the entire party in the foot (because this was a solid chance for *whoever* to come out strong with positive momentum that now no-one will have), to push for starting the primaries in a more diverse state than Iowa.

If the polls in, say North Carolina (just a random state out of the hat) got the focus that Iowa has had for the last several months, maybe Harris, Booker, and Castro might still be in the race.

Or, as a friend pointed out, another option is to do groups of states. I’d love to have a rotating lottery system where there are ten primary days, with five states selected from various regions that actually represent the country (say, Northeast, Southeast, Midwest, Southwest, and mountain/pacific). Just as an example, have the first round be North Carolina, Michigan, Washington, Connecticut, and, day, New Mexico. This level of fuckup, this is an opportunity to do better.
posted by Ghidorah at 10:20 PM on February 3 [4 favorites]


"We gotta get a voting app for the caucuses, people"

"Ooh, ooh, I know this programming company, it's called Shifty"
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 10:21 PM on February 3 [15 favorites]


Lee Fang has the receipt for the Buttigeig campaign's $42,500 payments to Shadow in July. Fang just deleted a tweet stating "only one current presidential campaign, Pete Buttigieg, pays the technology company that builds the app to count the caucus votes," so maybe he found more.
posted by mediareport at 10:22 PM on February 3 [1 favorite]


The Sanders campaign just released its internal counts.

Sanders: 29.66%/298 delegates
Buttigieg: 24.59%/268 delegates
Warren: 21.24%/192 delegates
Biden: 12.37%/157 delegates
Klobuchar: 11.00%/114 delegates
posted by Copronymus at 10:23 PM on February 3 [4 favorites]


flamk: "his campaign was responsible for suspending the poll this weekend "

Ann Selzer was responsible for not releasing the poll this past weekend.
posted by Chrysostom at 10:25 PM on February 3 [1 favorite]


Campaigns playing the "let's just do it and be legends" card and dropping internal numbers now, which seems like a terrible idea. I can't imagine a better way to rile up conspiracies than releasing unofficial results, and these aren't even good results, thanks to factors like "represent the results of nearly 40% of precincts in Iowa" (Sanders) and "from the 77% of reported precincts, we're doing 8 points better than our projections" (Pete), which are giant clues that these numbers are less likely to be accurate than the pre-caucus polls, when they're not just chosen selectively.
posted by zachlipton at 10:26 PM on February 3 [5 favorites]


Oh, I guess that's only 40% of the precincts, so there's definitely some room for movement.
posted by Copronymus at 10:26 PM on February 3


My guess is it’s in response to Buttigieg declaring victory.
posted by eagles123 at 10:29 PM on February 3


well we have two victories so far, and I feel like Biden's complaint letter sort of amounts to a defeat...
posted by atoxyl at 10:32 PM on February 3


Ann Selzer was responsible for not releasing the poll this past weekend
Literally as I was typing that out, I knew someone would correct me by saying it was Ann Selzer. So, yes, it wasn't LITERALLY Buttigieg's campaign, but unless I'm totally crazy, I'm pretty sure it was Buttigieg's campaign, tipped by a supporter working on the polling, who raised concerns.
posted by flamk at 10:32 PM on February 3


The major campaigns should *at least* know their rough numbers anywhere they stayed viable. So I find this partial enumeration stuff highly self-serving. Don't pay any attention.
posted by Chrysostom at 10:33 PM on February 3 [4 favorites]


Biden's statement was basically "pay no attention to the fact that we fuckin cratered harder than the Hindenburg, the results are unreliable!"
posted by Justinian at 10:35 PM on February 3 [5 favorites]


I'm pretty sure it was Buttigieg's campaign, tipped by a supporter working on the polling, who raised concerns.


They did! And I think it's pretty reasonable to contact a pollster when you're hearing that your candidate isn't being listed as a choice.

The decision not to release was Selzer's. And notably one criticized by other pollsters.
posted by Chrysostom at 10:35 PM on February 3 [1 favorite]


From what I understand, a caller for the poll enlarged the font on their screen, which cut off the last name on the list, which was randomized for each call. A caller who wanted to vote for Buttigieg called and complained.
posted by eagles123 at 10:36 PM on February 3


honestly I am super okay with Biden's run collapsing instantly more or less no matter which results you look at

Sanders seemingly leading the pack is just the cherry on top
posted by DoctorFedora at 10:40 PM on February 3 [2 favorites]


dropping the 40% totals doesn't seem like a great move but I'm not sure I buy that Pete's statement is on much firmer ground
posted by atoxyl at 10:40 PM on February 3


Lol I'm not going to scream "conspiracy" but the fact that this has all the trappings of a conspiracy to such a cartoonish extent is straight up comical. Like maybe some shit just fucked up and it's embarrassing and shitty for all involved. But also the app company is called "Shadow" for chrissake, if that were in a movie about a rigged election you'd roll your eyes at it being too on the nose. Talk about meat for the fuckin wolves man!

I do feel seriously awful for the huge turnout of first time voters, first time volunteers, first time disillusioned folks who decided to for once get involved in the process. To them, this is what it all nets out to apparently - at best, just absurdly gross incompetence and no real answers
posted by windbox at 10:40 PM on February 3 [3 favorites]


this really is some Florida 2000 shit
posted by atoxyl at 10:41 PM on February 3 [11 favorites]


The decision not to release was Selzer's.

Was it? Or was it the DMR and CNNs? This isn't snark, I am unsure.
posted by Justinian at 10:41 PM on February 3


Yeah, Pete's 8% better than our projections so we win seems hooey
posted by chris24 at 10:42 PM on February 3 [1 favorite]


guys, you can't rig a process where the numbers are all public, which these apparently are. People know what the numbers are they just haven't been properly tallied yet.
posted by Justinian at 10:42 PM on February 3 [15 favorites]


that's assuming that there was a mechanism in place for properly counting the folks who left after their candidate was viable in the first round. If there was not, I withdraw that comment. But surely there was... surely...
posted by Justinian at 10:43 PM on February 3


This was all done in public with witnesses and written records, not just by IDP but the candidates. We will get real numbers, there's no conspiracy, just a fuck up. The old adage never attribute to malice what can be explained by incompetence. Especially with volunteers.
posted by chris24 at 10:44 PM on February 3 [21 favorites]


Yeah, I don’t understand dropping just 40%, but then again, 40 percent is a whole lot more than two percent ... and nothing, which is what the Buttigieg campaign was going on. From the same Twitter thread as the Sanders numbers, the Buttegeig campaign says they are “8 percent ahead of their projections” and were “viable in 83 precincts”. I have no basis for comparison to know how good or bad that might be for them.

As for Biden, I think him cratering means you are going to see a whole lot of Bloomberg.

I just have a bad feeling about going against Trump in November no matter who wins.
posted by eagles123 at 10:47 PM on February 3 [1 favorite]




Mouth-breathers on Twitter, to paraphrase: If Democrats can't handle a caucus, how can they handle healthcare reform. LOL!

Looking forward to this being the mainstream media's talking point from here to November.
posted by klanawa at 10:52 PM on February 3 [7 favorites]


Just shoot back that Trump almost started WW3 with Iran over fuck all?

I need to go to bed.
posted by eagles123 at 10:56 PM on February 3 [2 favorites]


posted by the man of twists and turns

This is all your fault!
posted by EmGeeJay at 10:57 PM on February 3


@brianneDMR:
Troy Price: We expect to have numbers to report later today. We want to emphasize this is a reporting issue. It’s not a hack or an intrusion. It’s why we have a paper trail. We are validating every piece of data against our paper trail.
(Price is the chair of the Iowa Democratic Party)
posted by Chrysostom at 11:12 PM on February 3 [4 favorites]


Looking forward to this being the mainstream media's talking point from here to November.

Yeah, that’s the disheartening thing for me. There are just so many obvious things (for each candidate) they could/will get hammered on. But screwing up this badly, this monumentally on something that should have been a simple “this state chose this person, and that’s it, that’s not just shitting the bed, it’s doing it in a really large dormitory full of grade school level jerks that will never, ever let you forget it. The amount of self-inflicted dumb on the behalf of the Democratic Party has always been unnerving at best.
posted by Ghidorah at 11:22 PM on February 3 [8 favorites]


Of course, the problem is the system itself. Those of us in other countries are looking at the US and thinking, WHAT. THE FUCK. ARE YOU DOING? I'm not sure Kim Jong-un could think up a more cunning way to fuck up something as simple as counting (or not counting, as it were) votes.
posted by klanawa at 11:33 PM on February 3 [5 favorites]


The Iowa debacle will be mostly forgotten a month from now. Even by twitter trolls and the lazy pundits. Definitely forgotten by the time of the convention.

Trump will do something evil and/or stupid. Leaks against him will continue. The unrelenting horserace will continue unrelentingly. Something in the world will blow up. The media will move on. By June or July, even the most pedantic person on Metafilter will think: "Iowa! I vaguely remember they had problems. But that was 123 years ago in Trump Time. History is dead. Or wishes it was."
posted by Teegeeack AV Club Secretary at 11:41 PM on February 3 [15 favorites]


The Iowa debacle will be mostly forgotten a month from now. Even by twitter trolls and the lazy pundits. Definitely forgotten by the time of the convention.

I really hope that’s the case. It just feels like anyone approaching the world with any sort of earnest intent gets crucified for any small mistake they’ve ever made, while those intent on personal gain at all costs, who regularly cross the bright lines marking acceptable behavior from not, criminal acts from decency, they just keep on going. Trump time only seems to absolve trumpishness. For all those outside the bubble, it feels like everything always counts forever.

But yes, the DNC could, theoretically pull their heads out of their butts and astound is with a series of incredible competent actions that make all of this fade from memory, just as the sun could rise in the north, and Trump could give a humane, humble, and gracious address tonight.
posted by Ghidorah at 12:41 AM on February 4 [5 favorites]


It's kind of amazing how Buttigieg's campaign sinks a poll right before the caucus, then the app his campaign secretly funded completely breaks, then he declares victory without any results released, and now his campaign is tweeting precinct result sheets with math that doesn't add up and without bothering to obfuscate the login PINs on those sheets, allowing anyone who cares to do so to log in and alter the digital results. There's a paper trail, and that's what's being recounted now, but this seems almost purposeful to cast as much doubt on the results as possible.
posted by kafziel at 12:48 AM on February 4 [8 favorites]


And apparently the founder/CEO of Acronym (which owns the Shadow, Inc. that developed the caucus app) gushed about Buttigieg's campaign launch and is married to one of his strategists. I was always skeptical of the conspiratorial thinking around the DNC in '16, but the Sanders people are going to have a field day with this one, and rightly so -- these big-money groups just feel so incestuous.
posted by Rhaomi at 1:00 AM on February 4 [9 favorites]


Those same facts are equally explained by: they complained because a supporter was polled and was understandably miffed the candidate's name wasn't mentioned; his campaign hired a company that provides some text messaging and data pipeline apps for campaigns; declaring victory seems useful; those are the precinct result sheets and any math that doesn't add up is part of why we have this problem; the state party printed the PINs on the sheets; "anyone who cares to do so" doesn't have a copy of the app.

This is all horrible enough without, well, purposefully trying to cast as much doubt on the results as possible. Hundreds of thousands of people, including volunteers representing the campaigns, were at the caucuses and heard the results announced for themselves, and those results were recorded on paper and signed by the the campaign reps. How does it help to make this into more of a conspiracy?

I hope the state party can release a full set of the caucus math worksheets along with results later today, because transparency is the only thing that has any hope of saving this.
posted by zachlipton at 1:11 AM on February 4 [11 favorites]


I like the precinct that aligned to 116 votes for Sanders, 82 for Warren, and 73 for Buttigieg - after a 111/68/47 split in the first alignment - and gave each of them 2 delegates.
posted by kafziel at 1:12 AM on February 4 [1 favorite]


Oh, or the one that rounded 3.2 up to 4, against the explicit instructions of the worksheet, when it meant Buttigieg got an extra delegate. That's Buttigieg's Iowa comms director tweeting that out, without blurring or obscuring the PIN. Lots of those on his timeline.
posted by kafziel at 1:16 AM on February 4 [5 favorites]


Wait, $120k to develop this app over two months? I have no idea how complex this particular app is, but 2 months turn around for any piece of software is quite fast (and $120k is about 6-7 devs' worth of hours over that period). I'm not at all surprised it doesn't work

I agree and for something so high profile, using it for the first time is a recipe for disaster. The app probably is fine btw - my guess is the infrastructure for it is where the problem lies.
posted by awfurby at 1:18 AM on February 4 [1 favorite]


What the ever loving fuck. NH better go off without a hitch or else I’m going to put on all the tinfoil.
posted by Burhanistan at 1:28 AM on February 4 [2 favorites]


I like the precinct that aligned to 116 votes for Sanders, 82 for Warren, and 73 for Buttigieg - after a 111/68/47 split in the first alignment - and gave each of them 2 delegates.

I shouldn't do math past 1am, but by my count (you can see the process on the worksheet here), the twitter thread shows 285 total voters and six delegates to assign at that precinct. Assuming the 116/82/73 split for the second alignment is accurate and they're accurately reporting the second alignment as it happened (and the campaign volunteers present could have objected if that didn't happen; the numbers look like they were all written on big poster-sized pieces of paper), that's (116 * 6) / 285 = 2.44; (82 * 6) / 285 = 1.72; (73 * 6) / 285 = 1.53. All of those round to 2 delegates each according to the rounding rules. Dumb? Sure, but not fraud.

Oh, or the one that rounded 3.2 up to 4, against the explicit instructions of the worksheet, when it meant Buttigieg got an extra delegate. That's Buttigieg's Iowa comms director tweeting that out, without blurring or obscuring the PIN. Lots of those on his timeline.

The rounding rules (see page 14) are more complicated than what's printed on the worksheet. If they followed the instructions on the worksheet there, that precinct would be Warren-2, Klobuchar-2, Buttigieg-3. But the precinct is supposed to have 8 delegates based on, ugh—a complicated formula involving past turnout I think. So they have to have a procedure to deal with the case where the rounding rules produce a result that doesn't match the number of delegates the precinct is supposed to be awarding.

So in that case, they had 7 out of 8 delegates assigned, and followed the rule: "An additional delegate will be awarded to the group with the highest decimal below 0.5 (the group with the decimal below 0.5 but closest to it)." It looks like that was Pete in this case, and so he ended up with 4 delegates there. Klobuchar already benefited from rounding up 1.7 to 2, and Warren was farther away from reaching another delegate than Buttigieg was.

The PIN situation is a total mess.

We can argue the whole system is really damn terrible, and there are just truckloads of evidence to support that argument right now, including the entire comment I'm writing here, but that's an argument for a whole different system, not a Pete Buttigieg conspiracy.
posted by zachlipton at 1:50 AM on February 4 [23 favorites]


Shadow, Inc ? Just when you think the writers couldn’t have gone any more crazy...
posted by azpenguin at 2:23 AM on February 4 [1 favorite]


I shouldn't do math past 1am, but by my count (you can see the process on the worksheet here), the twitter thread shows 285 total voters and six delegates to assign at that precinct. Assuming the 116/82/73 split for the second alignment is accurate and they're accurately reporting the second alignment as it happened (and the campaign volunteers present could have objected if that didn't happen; the numbers look like they were all written on big poster-sized pieces of paper), that's (116 * 6) / 285 = 2.44; (82 * 6) / 285 = 1.72; (73 * 6) / 285 = 1.53. All of those round to 2 delegates each according to the rounding rules. Dumb? Sure, but not fraud.

116+82+73=271, not 285.
posted by kafziel at 2:24 AM on February 4 [2 favorites]


285 total participants which led to 271 left after the second realignment (not everyone realigns to a viable candidate). As the worksheet indicates (that's an example of a worksheet for a different precinct to show the process), the denominator for delegate assignment is the "total number of eligible caucus attendees," not the number of attendees left when you're all done. So it's possible to change the results by showing up, voting for nobody, and walking out the door.

I hate everything about this system.
posted by zachlipton at 2:43 AM on February 4 [11 favorites]


286 total participants.

One way or another, the numbers don't work.
posted by kafziel at 2:46 AM on February 4


> "116+82+73=271, not 285."
> "So it's possible to change the results by showing up, voting for nobody, and walking out the door."

I will note, though, that even if it were based on 271, it would still have ended up being a 2/2/2 split -- that would have meant a split of 2.57, 1.82, 1.62. It would go 3/2/2, but since there are only 6 delegates, a delegate would be subtracted from "the preference group with the lowest decimal above 0.5 (the group with the decimal above 0.5 but closest to it)", although a group cannot lose its only delegate. That's 2.57, so a 2/2/2 split).

It also would have been a 2/2/2 split based on 286 participants.
posted by kyrademon at 2:49 AM on February 4 [8 favorites]


We can argue the whole system is really damn terrible, and there are just truckloads of evidence to support that argument right now

Earlier in the thread we were told that arguing the system is terrible was a way to a deprecate Sanders' victory. Now apparently it turns out the system really is terrible and the system being terrible is a way to prevent a Sanders victory. I'm starting to think... well, you know.
posted by Justinian at 2:50 AM on February 4 [21 favorites]


Now apparently it turns out the system really is terrible and the system being terrible is a way to prevent a Sanders victory. I'm starting to think... well, you know.

Don't caucuses tend to favour Sanders over straight primaries?
posted by PenDevil at 2:59 AM on February 4 [3 favorites]


yes, yes they do. The Sanders camp were the folks who pushed hard to maintain the caucus states after the 2016 primary. Most folks wanted to get rid of them.
posted by Justinian at 3:02 AM on February 4 [6 favorites]


Good morning. What the fuck.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 3:04 AM on February 4 [23 favorites]


The funny thing is that I think the best guess is still that Bernie won this thing, but it's not stopping his supporters from going into conspiracy theory overdrive. It's bizarre.

And yes, caucuses are terrible. They were terrible yesterday when the Bernie people loved them.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 3:05 AM on February 4 [14 favorites]


Best guess I've seen is that Sanders probably won at least one of the three reported metrics but that Buttigieg may well have won the state-delegate-equivalents (SDEs). If you think that sounds stupid and made up and ridiculous, well, you would be right.

Also, I am having a really hard time not just spamming "THE DNC DOES NOT RUN THE IOWA CAUCUS" in response to every blowhard on twitter / reddit / wherever talking about how the DNC has rigged and/or incompetently screwed the pooch in the caucus. Just stahp, people, it makes you look silly.
posted by Justinian at 3:27 AM on February 4 [4 favorites]


Wow, did not expect to wake up to...whatever the hell all this is. The only reliable rule for following US politics is to expect the dumbest fucking result possible.
posted by GalaxieFiveHundred at 3:27 AM on February 4 [6 favorites]


Complaining about the DNC screwing up the Iowa Caucus is akin to congratulating the state of Kansas for its Super Bowl victory. Don't be like Trump, online people.
posted by Justinian at 3:29 AM on February 4 [11 favorites]


Damn. Now they're saying Tuesday at the earliest. **TUESDAY**
posted by sotonohito at 3:39 AM on February 4


I will gladly stipulate that it looks like someone in Story County Precinct 1-1 miscounted the first alignment supporters of one of the candidates, likely a nonviable candidate, by a single person, which I suspect happens fairly frequently in a process that involves hand counting the number of handwritten cards held by people who assemble in corners of gymnasiums and community centers. That particular vote doesn't appear to be material here no matter how you want to look at it, even ignoring rounding, let alone the myriad of factors that have enormous impact on turnout (Iowa's lifetime felony disenfranchisement, accessibility, transit, childcare, and so on).

My hunch is that kind of thing is a big part of the reason all of this has happened. Take a look at an older version of the caucus worksheet (I think that's from 2012, which wasn't exactly much of a race). The first round wasn't reported at all, and many of the potential types of errors are invisible. If someone didn't catch it in the room during the caucus (and campaigns have volunteers who do that), nobody ever knew. But the new form this year, created to allow transparency and the reporting of all the different types of results we were supposed to get, goes into enough detail to reveal stuff like "someone's counting was off by 1." The caucuses have always been error-prone, and the good news/bad news situation about collecting more data is that you'll probably catch more errors. So if now you know that the first alignment total doesn't exactly match the eligible attendee total, when that was the kind of thing nobody reported before, it's not clear to me that the party was prepared to deal with that. Primary states have always known a precinct can't report more votes than ballots cast, even if they're just off by one, which is all of a sudden the kind of problem Iowa has now that they're reporting first alignment numbers this year.

My point here is not to play gotcha, but that there are thousands of people upset on twitter that blatant error, if not outright fraud, has occurred in results that seem normal, largely because this system is arcane at best and can easily produce counterintuitive outcomes at the precinct level, and that turns what's already a really really bad moment for our democracy into an increasingly scary one.
posted by zachlipton at 3:41 AM on February 4 [13 favorites]


The funny thing is that I think the best guess is still that Bernie won this thing, but it's not stopping his supporters from going into conspiracy theory overdrive. It's bizarre.


Or, they are just expecting the media from the victory, and being denied the earned media is a separate issue from the actual Iowa process / result. The "Iowa bounce" is its own thing in the 538 model, so I guess no one gets an Iowa bounce? Buttgieg took the gamble on being wrong , just to get that earned media. Usually it s the Sanders people who are that media savvy.

And it s hard to argue with earned media, since it basically installed the current reality tv situation we have.

The upside to this being that Iowa loses its spot next time? I hope? So, it s fair to rib the DNC a bit, to push them to change things.
posted by eustatic at 3:42 AM on February 4 [4 favorites]


If Iowa loses its privileged spot, that would be great for future elections.

In the grand scheme of things, though, I am personally happy to wait 24 hours to get an accurate vote count.

I only wish that were the expectation to begin with. So we could have our vote day, then go to bed like reasonable people, and then tune in to the news the following afternoon to get the official results.

You know, like civilized people who actually had some control over our instant-gratification impulses.
posted by darkstar at 3:57 AM on February 4 [10 favorites]


This feels like such a bad omen for a process where we need everything to go right over the next ten months. >__<
posted by sallybrown at 3:57 AM on February 4 [9 favorites]


If Iowa loses its privileged spot, that would be great for future elections.

Careful what you wish for. The whole point of the primary system is to identify the candidate who is most electable in a national election. Yes, that person must play to the party faithful, but the goal is to come out of it with someone with wider appeal.

Moving the primary to a tried and true blue state may simply reinforce their popularity within the party, not necessarily the nation.
posted by tgrundke at 4:09 AM on February 4


Paper ballots, hand counted and auditable, are the way this should be done, with a realistic prediction of how long it will take to tally them. Better to have a longer tally time than risk a....well, let's hope it's a fuck up.

And you know who really ought to be worried? Not Sanders so much as mainstream Democrats. They need the youth vote and the left vote to win in November. As long as there's a fair, transparent, auditable process, most people will pull together around the Democratic candidate even if it's not their preferred person. If there's inexplicable, unauditable skullduggery, people will assume the worst and while not all of them will stay home, some will...and if something goes wrong in another state where Sanders seems likely to win, then more will, and more.

I have to say, this is not inspiring me with confidence. If they fix things and have their data widely available and it's broadly in line with such other data as we have, fine, it was an unfortunate mistake, I myself have made unfortunate mistakes with numbers and computers. But I'm not feeling at all good about it.

Such feelings often get framed as "ooh, you're just paranoid that people don't like Bernie" and no, I'm not paranoid that people don't like Bernie. I'm worried that the upper reaches of the Democratic party - not mefites, but the people who pal around with the GOP socially and have lots of money - would rather ratfuck their own party than elect a social democrat because of their own material interests. The social democrat need not be Bernie; if she were a forty-five year old Latina from New Mexico with an Ivy League degree and the dulcet tones of Elizabeth Warren, I don't think that this would somehow win over very wealthy people into voting against their class interests.
posted by Frowner at 4:12 AM on February 4 [41 favorites]


Caucus story
Sam Seder at the Majority Report (YouTube video 3hr58min but clipped to story at 3hr20min) was following the proceedings last night and getting call back from Iowa.

A precinct captain named Shaun called in and said that at his precinct Bernie wasn't viable so they went to Warren. The Klobuchar, Buttigieg and Biden people realigned to Buttigieg. But then everyone left. So Shaun got elected to be one of the two delegates and isn't sure which candidate he is supposed to represent so will likely try to support Bernie. Then he suggested the U.N might need to get involved. Both funny and disturbing.
posted by phoque at 4:13 AM on February 4 [6 favorites]


it's not stopping his supporters from going into conspiracy theory overdrive. It's bizarre.

So bizarre that citizens don't trust a mysterious app called Shadow that was supposed to deliver the vote totals yet mysteriously broke! Absolutely bizarre! Why doesn't everyone just trust Shadow. Why can't they accept that Shadow has our best interests in mind!
posted by Greg Nog at 4:16 AM on February 4 [46 favorites]


Swamp.io
posted by Potomac Avenue at 4:17 AM on February 4 [1 favorite]


I mean, the app is just the reporting mechanism. Counts and computations were also written down on paper, and everyone wrote down their preferences on cards, which were collected and saved. But yes, definitely, there is a shadowy Shadow conspiracy. That is definitely the best explanation for what’s going on.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 4:21 AM on February 4 [9 favorites]


Maybe another silver lining of this would be a bigger step back from buying into Silicon Valley-esque hype about tech that takes the place of reliable processes that didn’t need to be changed. With this Shadow stuff, I would have thought the national Dem Party would have regulated these tools more and not left it up to the state orgs to select (or get conned by) vendors.
posted by sallybrown at 4:22 AM on February 4 [7 favorites]


And I mean, we probably made some mistakes, because you try hand-counting 850 people packed in a junior high school gym. Again: not a conspiracy. Just an antiquated system that was designed for small towns with small populations where everyone knew each other, not for cities and suburbs.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 4:30 AM on February 4 [4 favorites]


To elaborate, I don’t think Shadow is a con in the sense of it not functioning in good conditions, or being some devious Mayor Pete conspiracy. More that a bunch of well-connected white guys in nice blazers fed the Iowa Dems and who knows who else some story about how Shadow is going to make the caucus run like silk, while name dropping Obama alums, and how the old ways of reporting just aren’t good enough now that we have these perfect tech tools. Lots of beautiful fancy charts in the pitch presentation and no apparent thought to precincts that happen in old middle school gyms with shitty wireless connections.
posted by sallybrown at 4:31 AM on February 4 [26 favorites]


The end result is that we're getting traceable paper votes, from a process where precinct totals can also be checked by the campaigns because there were no secret ballots, so yeah, I'm going with Hanlon's Razor.

Also, this means the first clear result of the primaries will be New Hampshire, where Sanders is all but guaranteed to stomp everyone.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 4:31 AM on February 4 [3 favorites]


Max Blumenthal:
The same corporate Democratic hacks who've been warning us for three years that Russia aims to undermine confidence in our elections have done just that. They exploited Russiagate to rustle up money for the scammy digital "voter protection" tech that wrecked #IowaCaucuses.
1:28 AM · Feb 4, 2020

Matt Karp:
It's too bad Bernie doesn't get a clear "win" tonight. But the story here may be even better for him: Biden demands a recount, Pete claims victory at 0% reporting, chaos everywhere.

The institutional Dem Party is a mess. Only someone from the outside can get the job done in 2020
1:01 AM · Feb 4, 2020

Nikola:
So let's recap.

First, Pete Buttigieg stops Iowa polls from being published.
Then, with 111 votes for Bernie and 47 for Pete, they both receive 2 delegates at a caucus.
Now, he funded the app that was supposed to track the caucus but ended up crashing, delaying the results.
12:32 AM · Feb 4, 2020
posted by One Second Before Awakening at 4:32 AM on February 4 [2 favorites]


First, Pete Buttigieg stops Iowa polls from being published.
Then, with 111 votes for Bernie and 47 for Pete, they both receive 2 delegates at a caucus.


I agree Pete sucks but I don't think he magically made stupid convoluted caucus delegate math work in his favor
posted by windbox at 4:37 AM on February 4 [13 favorites]


...he's still obviously a CIA asset tho
posted by windbox at 4:47 AM on February 4 [4 favorites]


Caucus decision story two, both Warren and Sanders were viable. The Yang, Pete, Amy and Tom people pulled a name out of a hat to decide their support. (Can be found in the clip posted above, it was literally the next call).
posted by phoque at 4:48 AM on February 4


I mean, we probably made some mistakes, because you try hand-counting 850 people packed in a junior high school gym.

I know this is one of metafilter's go-to facile lines in defense of bad art, but "well i'd like to see YOU make a better election" is honestly a take I was not expecting about politics!
posted by Greg Nog at 4:48 AM on February 4 [15 favorites]


The delegate math isn't just a problem with the caucus system; it's a problem with all the primaries. Someone who gets 111 votes should get 111 "points" and someone who gets 47 votes should get 47 -- although, sure, throw in a cutoff and IRV if you want.

But instead in every primary they elect a smaller number of delegates who have to be calculated according to vote percentages in a throwback to the horse-and-buggy days that's as stupid as the Electoral College. But at least the Electoral College is baked into the Constitution and incredibly difficult to change. The Democratic Party could make a more sensible system with a wave of their hands at any time.

Have a convention if you want, but make the delegates at the convention ceremonial positions representing some number of votes. Why is this hard?
posted by kyrademon at 4:49 AM on February 4 [6 favorites]


(And I can think of several ways you could do that and still have a brokered convention if you needed one.)
posted by kyrademon at 4:52 AM on February 4 [1 favorite]


The Democratic Party needs international election observers.
posted by One Second Before Awakening at 4:53 AM on February 4 [5 favorites]


Federal Election Commission site shows that the Gillibrand and Biden campaigns also paid money to Shadow Inc last summer.
posted by mediareport at 4:58 AM on February 4 [1 favorite]


Every single campaign that is serious should have been maintaining their own tally. I say this because it is trivial to do so: you have the volunteer for your campaign at each caucus site text the numbers back to homebase. Given this, how exactly would any kind of large scale conspiracy to publish false results to screw Bernie/hype Buttigieg/mess up 538 models (?) / promote "Democrats in disarray" stories/etc be able to be carried out without all but one of the campaigns screaming about it?
posted by PMdixon at 4:59 AM on February 4 [3 favorites]


I honestly want to know how the shadowy Shadow conspiracy is supposed to work. Because I was a counter at my caucus tonight, and here's how it worked.

1. As they entered the precinct, all registered voters signed in. New voters registered and then signed in.

2. Once the caucus started, every participant was handed a card. The cards were numbered, so we knew how many we handed out. We could cross-tabulate this number with the number of people who signed in. We told people that they could not leave without returning their cards. (We had to station someone at the door to catch people who left early and make sure that they marked their cards to say that they weren't caucusing for anyone.)

3. Everyone got int their preference groups. All of the viable campaigns sent precinct captains to organize this process. The precinct captains counted how many people were in their group. Everyone wrote down their first choice on the front of their card.

2. A counter went and counted the group. If the group was viable, the counter collected their cards.

3. The caucus chair told each precinct captain the count for their group. If there was a discrepancy between the official count and the precinct captain's count, they resolved it, either by recounting or by counting cards (or both). Once the precinct captain agreed with the count, we moved on.

4. The first counts got recorded on a form. Also, at that point anyone in a viable group could go home.

5. Realignment! Everyone who had been in a non-viable group moved to a viable group and wrote down their second choice on the back of their card. Precinct captains counted these people. The counter counted them. We resolved any discrepancies before moving on. Everything got recorded on the form.

6. Math! Someone did the complicated math to figure out how many delegates everyone got. Each campaign sent someone to observe and to do their own calculations if they wanted to. Delegate total got announced and recorded on the form.

7. Reporting. This invovled the app and was a clusterfuck. I finished cleaning up and putting away all the tables and chairs before it was done, and I went home. For all I know, the caucus chair and secretary are still trying to report. But they've got the form and the cards and the sign-in sheets, which all of the campaigns, including Bernie's, had a chance to observe and dispute all along the way, and which they can still check. So I don't understand how this conspiracy was supposed to work, even if Mayo Pete has his nefarious hands all over the app.

For what it's worth, I talked with the precinct captain for Bernie in my precinct tonight, and we were both like "this is a dumb way to do this. We should just have a primary." Because it is a dumb way to do it, and we should just have a primary. But you know, I have been saying this for four years, and Bernie stans have told me I was just being a neo-liberal shill, because they thought this dumb way of doing things was good for Bernie.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 5:01 AM on February 4 [54 favorites]


I think this is really more a story of the DNC's incompetent grifting, corruption, incestuous contracting, and neoliberal fantasia about improving civics through the magic of apps.
posted by One Second Before Awakening at 5:02 AM on February 4 [3 favorites]


Broke: Telling coal miners to learn to code

Woke: Telling digital execs who insist they've designed a better way to run elections to learn to code
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 5:04 AM on February 4 [16 favorites]


Jesus Christ. The app failure is not a big deal in the grand scheme of things. It delayed the reporting, and that's all. If there was a major failure, then it was elsewhere. People are fixating on the app because they want instant results and because fixating on apps is a thing we do now.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 5:05 AM on February 4 [19 favorites]


Like, folks know that knowing the results 30 seconds after all the precincts close is not actually a key principle of democracy right?
posted by PMdixon at 5:07 AM on February 4 [20 favorites]


Weren't we all calling for intervention when the Bolivia election results were delayed?

*using "we" very broadly
posted by Chaffinch at 5:09 AM on February 4


Unsurprisingly, CNN has declared that the real winner of the Iowa Democratic caucus is Trump.
posted by tivalasvegas at 5:10 AM on February 4


On the plus side, we have 49 more states to hear from, and at _least_ 20 of them, maybe 25-ish might run smoothly.
posted by delfin at 5:11 AM on February 4 [2 favorites]


Weren't we all calling for intervention when the Bolivia election results were delayed?
Yes, we definitely invade countries if they don't have election results 12 hours after the polls open.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 5:17 AM on February 4 [5 favorites]


Weren't we all calling for intervention when the Bolivia election results were delayed?

Is mayor Pete the mayor of Iowa?
posted by PMdixon at 5:18 AM on February 4


Yes, we definitely invade countries if they don't have election results 12 hours after the polls open.

And those can have hundreds of thousands, even millions of ballots to certify. Which is nothing compared to the insurmountable problem of tabulating *checks notes* scattered groups of a couple of hundred people who are hand-counted at each site
posted by delfin at 5:22 AM on February 4 [2 favorites]


Greg Shill (U of Iowa):
Folks, it would be exceptionally difficult to rig the #IowaCaucuses results. You literally write your name, address, and candidate on a card and sign it, and they keep it until the Democratic convention. It’s going to be okay.
posted by chris24 at 5:22 AM on February 4 [23 favorites]


Like, folks know that knowing the results 30 seconds after all the precincts close is not actually a key principle of democracy right?

Ireland doesn't even start counting until 9 am the morning after voting day, and it can take several days to complete some constituencies. (Hand-counting PR-STV ballots can be complicated.) There was a brief foray into using electronic voting (I got to use one!), but it was generally decided that secure voting was more important than instant results.
posted by scorbet at 5:24 AM on February 4 [9 favorites]


We're gonna wait weeks for CA, so one day for Iowa isn't so bad.
posted by chris24 at 5:30 AM on February 4 [2 favorites]


Christ, what a casserole.


they complained because a [supposed] supporter was polled and was [allegedly] understandably miffed the candidate's name [maybe] wasn't mentioned;

Unless I missed something, there is no recording of the polling call, and no proof that the candidate's name was omitted from it. If I'm wrong, well OK. If I'm not wrong, pulling the whole poll on the basis of one partisan's complaint seems like an extreme reaction.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 5:37 AM on February 4 [3 favorites]


I don't know much about caucusing, Iowa, or the sausage-making details of yesterday's event, but I did remember that in many past election years there is always some problem with declaring some kind of result, and that the result is often not revealed until later the next day (at the earliest.) It feels to me like many candidates' fans are hyping the apparent delay in reporting.
posted by Harry Caul at 5:42 AM on February 4 [1 favorite]


I can’t help but think if whoever was the decision-maker on hiring this app had just spent a few minutes asking a few typical caucus volunteers how they’d want to report results, they would have just spent a fraction of the money instead on hiring people to answer phones on caucus night and entering results in an Excel spreadsheet.
posted by sallybrown at 5:43 AM on February 4 [8 favorites]


Before the Iowa reporting snafu, y'all did a lot to make me feel better about the world and better about being on this site. I'm a Democrat who's committed to voting any candidate who wins the nomination and against Trump. I've been feeling like I'm part of a small, despised minority of people that participate in US political threads.

The thread started off with the usual tirades about how terrible and diabolically evil various Democratic candidates are. But then there was a lot of push-back against that. And freecellwizard mentioned Iowans they'd heard interviewed saying "if Warren or Sanders was the nominee they might vote for Trump." A lot you condemned that attitude. That meant a lot to me – I guess I'm not in such teeny minority on MetaFilter after all.
posted by nangar at 5:43 AM on February 4 [8 favorites]


People were anticipating issues in Bolivia for months because Evo Morales was clearly pushing himself for running a third (really his fourth), which was only allowed in the first place because the supreme court overturned the will of the people. I don't think there are any similarities between that and this caucus, except maybe people were anticipating issues with the caucus because caucuses are confusing.
posted by chernoffhoeffding at 5:43 AM on February 4 [1 favorite]


look if you don't think the web of connections between pete and the shadow app is, at the very least, a little bit fucking weird, if not outright suspicious, that's fine, but please don't insinuate we're all paranoid crazy people for giving that whole thing a little bit of side eye. the app was developed by people who have publicly supported his campaign, and he has financially supported their company. whether or not there's some conspiracy there doesn't really matter because the stench of impropriety is all over it - we should not be allowing this sort of thing to happen and it should be disqualifying for pete that it DID happen, regardless of whether or not it actually affected the election at all. it's a perfect example of the kind of backroom dealing and glad-handing that has made people deeply, deeply suspicious of the democratic party.
posted by JimBennett at 5:53 AM on February 4 [22 favorites]


> Both Democrats and Republicans in Iowa used an app from Microsoft Corp. in 2016. The company said it helped the parties report 95% of their precinct results in about four hours.

and also:

> Wait, $120k to develop this app over two months? I have no idea how complex this particular app is, but 2 months turn around for any piece of software is quite fast (and $120k is about 6-7 devs' worth of hours over that period). I'm not at all surprised it doesn't work.

okay so if you look at how cheap this trashy app was you'll start to do the math on how minuscule the kickbacks must have been and then you'll get this extra layer of anger w/r/t how much damage a few twits caused while scrambling after what is (in the broader scheme of things) basically pocket change.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 5:55 AM on February 4 [9 favorites]


I know doing so won't lessen the general view that delegate math is weird and inscrutable, but is there a good reason why they don't use Huntington-Hill, which is a pretty mainstream apportionment technique, instead of what sounds like a really bewildering variant of Vinton's method?
posted by jackbishop at 5:55 AM on February 4 [1 favorite]


how much damage a few individual twits caused

People keep saying things like this, and I legitimately don't understand what meaningful damage is supposed to have been caused besides to media outlets' projected viewership numbers and I don't think anyone here cares about that. Can you please ELI5 what damage to whom you think has been caused?
posted by PMdixon at 5:58 AM on February 4 [3 favorites]


I just want to thank ArbitraryAndCapricious for taking the time to share their first hand experience here.
posted by anastasiav at 5:58 AM on February 4 [10 favorites]


> Can you please ELI5 what damage to whom you think has been caused?

you know what is super fun what's super fun is that media coverage that would have been about the democratic party candidates is instead about how lol the iowa democratic party can't do a caucus right lololol the iowa democratic party has one job lololol dems suck lolol.

and like yes the national news media is blisteringly deliberately stupid and kind of fascist-leaning on the whole and will go with a "lololol dems in disarray" storyline without provocation but also: good lord don't feed those beasts red meat for no reason.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 6:01 AM on February 4 [23 favorites]


The predictable fuck-ups and the disregard for propriety are bad here too.

Like, if you asked literally any US mefite with any interest in elections, we would all say that this is a critically important election season, we need back-up plans for our back-up plans, the appearance of chaos would be very bad and because this is a very contentious process, it must be absolutely above reproach. Anyone would say, "gee, no, an app underwritten by few of the candidates is a bad idea because it gives an appearance of impropriety, let's do this another way".

At this point, even if everything resolves in a transparent, acceptable way, there's been one huge mess among the Democrats. This is, like, taking a big chunk out of the party's resilience and reputation. Another will be a disaster - and yet, another could happen, right? The geniuses who thought that this app was a brilliant, well-named idea will probably fuck something else up down the road.

It gives you a lot of pause because it feels like the people at the top do not actually value democracy and have terrible political instincts.
posted by Frowner at 6:01 AM on February 4 [81 favorites]


Frowner 4 President
posted by Potomac Avenue at 6:06 AM on February 4 [18 favorites]


Another will be a disaster - and yet, another could happen, right? The geniuses who thought that this app was a brilliant, well-named idea will probably fuck something else up down the road.

The app is apparently going to be used in Nevada as well.
posted by chappell, ambrose at 6:11 AM on February 4 [2 favorites]


OK so is the concern that in November people will
be making decisions informed by their impressions of the logistics of the Iowa caucus?
posted by PMdixon at 6:11 AM on February 4 [2 favorites]


Nate Silver, FiveThirtyEight:
Maybe there will eventually be a decent-sized Iowa bounce despite all of this. But there’s a good chance that the candidates who did well in Iowa get screwed, and the candidates who did poorly there get a mulligan. To repeat: There’s very little importance in a mathematical sense to who wins 41 delegates. Iowa is all about the media narrative it produces and all about momentum, and that momentum, whoever wins, is likely to have been blunted.

Who might this help?
I hate the implications and I hope this is all just a random fuck-up.
posted by hat_eater at 6:12 AM on February 4 [4 favorites]


Folks, in 2012 it took Rs over two weeks to declare a winner in Iowa after they initially named the wrong winner election night.

We will survive. Hopefully caucuses and Iowa’s first in the nation status won’t.
posted by chris24 at 6:12 AM on February 4 [20 favorites]


Iowa journalist Lyz Lenz was mentioned early in this thread; here's her now-prescient January 28 look at the confusing, at times absurd changes made to this year's caucus. She correctly predicted a mess:

The Iowa Caucuses Are Going to Be a F*cking Nightmare.

One example:

2. There is also a new viability threshold, and that threshold is 15%. If you gather into a corner for a candidate and the group has 15% of attendees at your meeting site, you no longer get to move. This is a huge change from the previous years when an individual or group could move during alignment. This is also going to be a problem because many seasoned caucusgoers like to align as “undecided” before switching to their second choice. If this happens, “undecided” (who is polling at 45%) could win delegates if people align “undecided” and that group is viable. A friend of mine is so mad about this rule that she’s considering realigning even if her first group is viable.

Lenz knows a lot more than I do, but I did raise an eyebrow at her quick characterization of the Sanders campaign's 2016 caucus criticisms as a "giant baby tantrum." There were very legit criticisms of that process made by many non-Sanders folks (here's the Des Moines Register, e.g., on inconsistent counts and the need for a complete audit). I've seen more than one conservative Dem this morning laying much, if not all, of their blame for last night at the feet of Sanders' 2016 complaints, which seems very odd. So I'm curious to learn from folks on the ground in Iowa how many of the confusing changes Lyz Lenz discusses in her piece were driven by Sanders supporters. I'm also not sure that doing an official first count (which I'm guessing *was* driven by Sanders folks?) was such a horrible idea, but am happy to defer to folks who've been following this more closely.

(And yeah, if anyone wants a look at why the Sanders campaign is so hypocritically in favor of inherently un-democratic caucuses, here are a couple of links from 2016 that go into detail. The 2nd chart in the Vox link is so, so damning about how caucuses reduce turnout.)
posted by mediareport at 6:12 AM on February 4 [5 favorites]


if anyone wants a look at why the Sanders campaign is so hypocritically in favor of inherently un-democratic caucuses

Is "because they believe they benefit from them" too boring an answer?
posted by PMdixon at 6:15 AM on February 4 [8 favorites]


Aside from the counting/reporting disaster - which is a disaster no matter how you spin it - one take away for me from all the polling and last night is that Iowa really seems to be slipping away from the Democrats. It seems like overall primary turnout was flat with 2016 at best, which is bad if you are relying on new voters to win the general like Sanders. None of the candidates were beating Trump in head to head polls.

It seems like so long ago Obama won the state.
posted by eagles123 at 6:15 AM on February 4 [1 favorite]


The thing is I can't say CNN and the other legacy media are wrong to be going all lulz the Dems can't even run a primary. Because this whole thing is preposterous, arcane, archaic, blatantly and horrifyingly anti-democratic and exclusionary, has muddled absurd results, AND there is the stench of corruption over it even if it turns out there is no actual corruption.

Add to that the righteous anger at lilly white corn subsidy addicted Iowa getting to pick our nominee for the rest of us lesser people and you've got a perfect environment for everyone to come away with the feeling both that their candidate was cheated and that the Democrats can't find their ass with both hands and a bloody map.

And no, I dont think there is anything privileged or is evil millinials demanding impossible things in expecting results that are both quick and accurate. This isn't rocket surgery and if it wasnt for our rural overlords clinging to an inherently bad and unfair system that was dumb even back in the bad old days we'd have near instant reporting and accurate results instead of this godawful mess.

Especially in today's environment where people are justifiably concerned about the Democratic establishment cheating (hi changing the rules so Bloomberg can be part of the debates) having this sort of shitshow is so bad I can't think of a way to make it worse that doesn't involve the Democrats just totally abandoning the process and annointing Biden in a literal back room filled with cigar smoke.

CNN isn't wrong. The Dems are in disarray, they are demonstrating utter incompetence, and in an environment where we need to be perfectly clean they've managed to come across as corrupt.
posted by sotonohito at 6:17 AM on February 4 [13 favorites]


Trump won Iowa by 10 points. We are crushing him if it’s close. So no, we don’t need Iowa. And yes, it’s changed, but states do. Virginia is now blue, etc., so it works both ways.
posted by chris24 at 6:18 AM on February 4 [4 favorites]


Folks, in 2012 it took Rs over two weeks to declare a winner in Iowa after they initially named the wrong winner election night.
Ok, thanks! My memory has this as well.
posted by Harry Caul at 6:21 AM on February 4 [4 favorites]


Yeah, it seems like the future of the party is in Georgia and Texas. We're probably a few elections early for that though.
posted by eagles123 at 6:22 AM on February 4 [4 favorites]


Folks, in 2012 it took Rs 2 weeks to declare a winner in Iowa after they initially named the wrong winner election night.

Which makes Iowa 3 for 3 in screwing up the last 3 presidential caucuses. They need to stop going first.

Is "because they believe they benefit from them" too boring an answer?

I posted those articles because they go into *why* the Sanders campaign believes they benefit from them. There's good info there.
posted by mediareport at 6:24 AM on February 4 [1 favorite]


> they complained because a [supposed] supporter was polled and was [allegedly] understandably miffed the candidate's name [maybe] wasn't mentioned

Selzer, the company who conducted the poll, looked into the complaint and found out that one of the call center employees had enlarged the font size on their computer which would have lopped off the name of the last candidate off the list. Since the pollster looked into it and confirmed that this happened, we can drop the "supposed", "allegedly" stuff.
posted by nangar at 6:26 AM on February 4 [4 favorites]


I posted those articles because they go into *why* the Sanders campaign believes they benefit from them

Can you help me find what you're talking about? I see plenty about why caucuses are bad, I don't even see a statement about how much more likely a Sanders voter is to be able to attend a caucus than one for Clinton (in 2016).
posted by PMdixon at 6:28 AM on February 4


> OK so is the concern that in November people will be making decisions informed by their impressions of the logistics of the Iowa caucus?

the concern is that large-scale public incompetence produced as a result of a set of intersecting petty grifts and just general fuck-aroundery is both a bad look and also a bad thing. this is not what a party genuinely interested in picking up every single vote does.

and you know what, you're like "scoff! how could this influence a vote nine months from now!" but i point to how close the 2016 general election vote was in the decisive states. if one person out of 100,000 goes to the polls thinking "hey remember how iowa couldn't run a caucus right?", that might actually matter.

and also more generally speaking, what's the old maxim? "take care of the pennies and the pounds will take care of themselves?" this is a pretty nasty indicator that no one is taking care of the pennies.

like sheesh it's super cool, totally okay if the party can't report results election night. get that out in the press early, don't give people the expectation they'll have instant results, give a reason why we won't get instant results. but get that storyline out early. like, three weeks ago early. don't just cross your fingers and hope the janky grift-derived vote reporting app works on its first test then go all "shruggie!" when it doesn't.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 6:29 AM on February 4 [26 favorites]


We have mobile games with 3d physics engines that track the complex actions of millions of players in real time and we can't build an app that tracks and tally preferences and final votes for 250k people in 1600 locations?
posted by jasondigitized at 6:29 AM on February 4 [5 favorites]


People, we don’t need to reflexively defend every single fuckup the Democratic Party makes. This isn’t dailykos.
posted by One Second Before Awakening at 6:31 AM on February 4 [21 favorites]


"It gives you a lot of pause because it feels like the people at the top do not actually value democracy and have terrible political instincts"

This seems like a pretty accurate summation of the careers of Pete Buttigieg, Hillary Clinton, and various other "mainstream" Dems.
posted by kevinbelt at 6:31 AM on February 4 [8 favorites]


if one person out of 100,000 goes to the polls thinking "hey remember how iowa couldn't run a caucus right?", that might actually matter.

OK. And promulgating conspiracy theories doesn't also carry this risk arguably much more strongly?
posted by PMdixon at 6:31 AM on February 4 [8 favorites]


i haven't seen anyone "promulgating conspiracy theories" this morning, that was all happening last night when things were a lot murkier. what i have seen is people pointing out the sort of genuine fuckups and strange backdoor connections that have defined the modern democratic party.
posted by JimBennett at 6:33 AM on February 4 [10 favorites]


> We have mobile games with 3d physics engines that track the complex actions of millions of players in real time and we can't build an app that tracks and tally preferences and winners for 250k people in 1600 locations?

writing a platform to coördinate that sort of thing is actually pretty difficult, especially when you can't assume that the users know how to, like, computer. which is why you should spend more than two dumb months developing it. ughhhh. this situation's combination of features:
  • tech optimist snake oil sold by and to people who don't actually know what makes tech hard
  • low-level grift by political professionals
  • the sheer existence of pete buttigieg
is carefully calibrated to drive me all the way up the wall. i think i've got to de-Internet for the day...
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 6:35 AM on February 4 [9 favorites]


People, we don’t need to reflexively defend every single fuckup the Democratic Party makes. This isn’t dailykos.

I'm personally just really sick of people who tend to shout CONSPIRACY!! at the top of their lungs every time something gets fucked up or just simply doesn't go their candidates way.

@JimBennett Twitter is full of conspiracy theories this morning, including #MayorCheat and #BernieWasRobbed (robbed of what? nobody has results). Some of this is likely troll farms, but it is certainly making it a lot harder for people using actual facts and rational thought to make themselves heard.
posted by anastasiav at 6:36 AM on February 4 [11 favorites]


While I understand the urge to think bad conspiratorial thoughts when something like this happens, there are completely rational innocuous explanations that depend not on crazy theories and skullduggery, but the very human qualities of incompetence, unfamiliarity and imperfection. And jumping to conclusions and spreading rumors does nothing but damage democracy when the other party is intentionally trying to wreck it. Trump, Uday and Qusay have been doing nothing but pushing the rigged line to divide us and undermine faith in elections. And the people who aren’t pushing it are saying things like this:
Erick Erickson: I don’t think Iowa sabotaged the caucus to hurt Bernie Sanders. But I really hope a lot of Bernie Sanders supporters think that.
And I despise Pete, but I don’t get the blame on him. He paid a developer for a program just like many other of the candidates and other D politicians had. Should the CEO have publicly expressed his political opinion? Probably not helpful when he has multiple candidates as clients, but with a known and public paper trail, I doubt nefarious.

And of course the media is pushing the Dems in Disarray agenda. They’re pissed they lost their big news event last night. And a rift in the party gives them something to cover. Like with the R agenda, we can push back and resist the media agenda.
posted by chris24 at 6:36 AM on February 4 [9 favorites]


not politics related, but I keep laughing that at the end of a contentious political news thread, I keep seeing:
« Older “I miss Maroon 5,” said literally nobody
like a small Hans Moleman voice from the corner of the room
posted by Greg Nog at 6:36 AM on February 4 [38 favorites]


going to disengage here because the things some people would consider "completely rational innocuous explanations" are, to me, "inexcusable fuck ups"
posted by JimBennett at 6:38 AM on February 4 [9 favorites]


The Challenger explosion had an innocuous explanation, didn’t make it not a fuckup. But whatever.
posted by chris24 at 6:39 AM on February 4 [20 favorites]


OK so is the concern that in November people will be making decisions informed by their impressions of the logistics of the Iowa caucus?

When there is an appearance of impropriety, you have to spend a lot of time explaining what actually happened. That explanation may or may not be convincing to your hearers. Instead of talking up your party or your candidate or doing voter turnout, you need to spend time explaining why X is actually not corrupt. If X is merely a very bad idea, you also need to say, "well, it's not actually corrupt, it's just dumb, be sure to vote in November".

The appearance of impropriety wastes time and energy and makes it harder to promote your candidate.

The Democrats are already at a big disadvantage because a lot of people feel that hey, the Democrats aren't doing much to help the average person and are doing a lot to help the average billionaire. "You're already a bit skeptical of us, but here is why this extremely dodgy looking thing was a mistake and not a sign of actual dishonesty" is not the way to turn people out at the polls.

~~
I add that 2016 was a perfect storm of failures. The lesson I think people should take from it is that everyone needs to tighten up their game. "But [this other group of people] fucked things up, so it doesn't matter that I did a half-assed job" is not good enough. If one of the big bad things of 2016 hadn't happened - even one - Trump probably wouldn't have won. "It isn't very important that this got screwed up" is absolutely unacceptable in 2020.
posted by Frowner at 6:39 AM on February 4 [41 favorites]


and like okay anything that keeps buttigieg alive without actually driving a stake all the way through the heart of the biden campaign is ultimately a good thing in "what helps my favored candidates" terms. biden's still going to do pretty well on super tuesday no matter what, so the best situation for the decent people — warren and sanders — is that we have for now a gradually waxing buttigieg and a gradually waning biden. (thereby ensuring that neither of them becomes properly gibbous).

but also bracketing off "favored candidates" altogether, as we should: this fuckup should be taken seriously and pretending it is not a fuckup is the opposite of taking it seriously.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 6:41 AM on February 4 [7 favorites]


2016 was a perfect storm of failures.
2020 already looking around for someone to hold it's beer
posted by chuntered inelegantly from a sedentary position at 6:43 AM on February 4 [8 favorites]


I'm the most likely person to call Quiz Show on this whole thing, and even I'm not there yet.

However, I do think people acting befuddled about how this shitshow could hurt anyone are being intentionally obtuse. Let's say one person absolutely dominated in Iowa yesterday. The new today could have been "PERSON sweeps Iowa, expected frontrunner got stomped", giving X person a lot of momentum. Maybe people start reevaluating how electable the supposed obvious choice actually is. Instead, it is "Who Knows What Happened Yesterday? Let's Announce It Two Weeks from Now When No One Is Paying Attention."

No it's not a conspiracy theory. But let's not pretend that this didn't help certain people and hurt others, and those people are exactly who you would expect.
posted by FakeFreyja at 6:44 AM on February 4 [40 favorites]


If there’s anything that is going to unite all the delegates at the democratic national convention, it’ll be that they’re tired of giving special preference to Iowa and New Hampshire every 4 years. On the 538 pod, Galen Druke (who had a short pod series on primary history) said “Failure breeds change.”
posted by Huffy Puffy at 6:46 AM on February 4 [4 favorites]


People, we don’t need to reflexively defend every single fuckup the Democratic Party makes.

I'm not defending any fuckups. The app was dumb and unnecessary and at the very least a bunch of election volunteers had a really shitty night because of it and given the way things go these days I'm sure someone's going to get death threats. There's a lot of room between that and claiming that somehow this means Buttegieg has stolen it and that this hands the election to Trump. To the first, it's both trivial for campaigns to do an accurate tracking themselves. To the second: Most people don't start paying attention to the presidential campaigns until after the conventions, as I have generally understood it. We are unrepresentative in our level of engagement with the process. Most people do not think about politics, parties, and elections the way people in this thread do.

Of course the app was dumb. It would have been dumb even if it had worked seemlessly because it's blatantly the brain child of someone who doesn't know how to reason about what to use software for, which to me says it's a boomer's brainchild: this millennial would never have suggested a fucking app. But to go from there to the idea that the results are being rigged, as multiple people in this thread have asserted, is profoundly unnecessary and unhelpful.
posted by PMdixon at 6:47 AM on February 4 [4 favorites]


Nate Silver, who is very good a this sort of thing: Iowa might have screwed up the whole nomination process

Who won so far? Biden. He has the most to gain from this.
posted by chuntered inelegantly from a sedentary position at 6:48 AM on February 4 [2 favorites]


On the 538 pod, Galen Druke (who had a short pod series on primary history) said “Failure breeds change.”

Tell that to the Democratic Party
posted by Rust Moranis at 6:48 AM on February 4 [4 favorites]


Let's say one person absolutely dominated in Iowa yesterday.

From all indications, that's exactly what did not happen.
posted by Chrysostom at 6:51 AM on February 4 [7 favorites]


Literally the first episode was about how we even have primaries to actually vote for president because of the 1968 convention.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 6:51 AM on February 4 [1 favorite]


Statement from Iowa Democratic Party chair Troy Price this morning:

[intro paragraph: we had a hard job]

We have every indication that our systems were secure and there was not a cyber security intrusion. In preparation for the caucuses, our systems were tested by independent cybersecurity consultants.

As precinct caucus results started coming in, the IDP ran them through an accuracy and quality check. It became clear that there were inconsistencies with the reports. The underlying cause of these inconsistencies was not immediately clear, and required investigation, which took time.

As this investigation unfolded, IDP staff activated pre-planned backup measures and entered data manually. This took longer than expected.

As part of our investigation, we determined with certainty that the underlying data collected via the app was sound. While the app was recording data accurately, it was reporting out only partial data. We have determined that this was due to a coding issue in the reporting system. This issue was identified and fixed. The application’s reporting issue did not impact the ability of precinct chairs to report data accurately.

Because of the required paper documentation, we have been able to verify that the data recorded in the app and used to calculate State Delegate Equivalents is valid and accurate. Precinct level results are still being reported to the IDP. While our plan is to release results as soon as possible today, our ultimate goal is to ensure that the integrity and accuracy of the process continues to be upheld.

posted by mediareport at 6:52 AM on February 4 [11 favorites]


Democrats: Bernie should not be allowed to run because he’s not Loyal to The Party
Also Democrats: We burnted down the house again but dont worry we gave Mitch Mcconnell the keys to our car in exchange.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 6:53 AM on February 4 [22 favorites]


is carefully calibrated to drive me all the way up the wall. i think i've got to de-Internet for the day

same, but append "reflexive defense of incompetence because it has (d) after its name" to your list
posted by entropicamericana at 6:53 AM on February 4 [3 favorites]


Iowa might have screwed up the whole nomination process

It didn’t screw it up, it changed it. And arguably for the better since Iowa and a caucus should never have had so much influence anyway.
posted by chris24 at 6:54 AM on February 4 [9 favorites]


However, I do think people acting befuddled about how this shitshow could hurt anyone are being intentionally obtuse. Let's say one person absolutely dominated in Iowa yesterday. The new today could have been "PERSON sweeps Iowa, expected frontrunner got stomped", giving X person a lot of momentum.

i mean, that's true, but that's just accepting that 91% White Iowa's cemented status as "first in the nation" is the valid and correct way to do things, which there's been a lot of debate about, for years. Some candidate getting to tout their result in another state before the Iowa results are announced is not an inherently negative thing.
posted by Roommate at 6:54 AM on February 4 [8 favorites]


Brian Klaas (WaPo):
The US is 61% white. In Iowa, it’s 86%. It’s 91% in New Hampshire.

1 in 5 Americans is Hispanic/Latino. In Iowa, it’s 1 in 16. It’s 1 in 27 in NH.

1 in 7 Americans is Black. In Iowa, it’s 1 in 26. And 1 in 62 in NH.

The primary/caucus system should be reformed for 2024.
posted by chris24 at 6:58 AM on February 4 [23 favorites]


"I am not a member of any organized political party. I am a Democrat."

— Will Rogers
posted by kirkaracha at 6:59 AM on February 4 [4 favorites]


A CNN reporter listened in on the conference call between the campaigns and party heads this morning:

When Price was pressed by the Warren campaign about what percentage of info the party currently has, Price said he would “get back to you on that info” because “we are still gathering information as we are speaking.” (3/5)

The most direct criticism came from Jeff Weaver, senior adviser to Bernie Sanders’ campaign. When Price responded to his concern saying there were "reporting issues," Weaver called the response "bogus" and suggested "the whole process has been a fraud for 100 years.” (4/5)

posted by mediareport at 7:00 AM on February 4 [1 favorite]


I mean, Iowa has 6 electoral college votes, and is in Central Time. So not a deciding amount or first over the bar for any party in any election.
posted by Harry Caul at 7:01 AM on February 4


The Financial Times with some more information on Acronym and Shadow. Multiple alums from Facebook, Kiva, and the Clinton 2016 campaign:
The Iowa Democratic party spent a total of $63,183 with Shadow in November and December last year, according to state campaign expenditure reports. . . . Acronym was founded in March 2017 by Tara McGowan, a former journalist turned digital marketer in the Democrats’ 2016 presidential campaign. Its board members include David Plouffe, head of President Obama’s 2008 election campaign and a former Uber executive who now works at the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative. . . .

The Washington-based organisation has recruited several Facebook engineers and also won the backing of the social network’s former head of product Chris Cox. . . . Shadow is led by chief executive Gerard Niemira, who previously led technology and operations at Acronym, according to his LinkedIn profile. Before that, he had worked on Mrs Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign, building digital tools for supporters and field organisers. He joined the Clinton campaign after several years at Kiva.org, a non-profit that facilitates peer-to-peer loans to people in developing countries. Mr Niemira co-founded Groundbase in December 2016 with another alumnus of Kiva and the Clinton campaign, Krista Davis, who is now Shadow’s chief technology officer.
posted by sallybrown at 7:01 AM on February 4 [4 favorites]


god I hate apps*

*I make apps for a living
posted by gwint at 7:01 AM on February 4 [36 favorites]


Running an election event of any kind seems inherently complicated. Running them Iowa-caucus-fashion compounds the complications tremendously.

A public event like this really needs professionals to make it work - confident on-site organizers with top-shelf public speaking skills who acquired total mastery of the process through uniform training, handouts/table tents with easily-read instructions for what to do, the same instructions projected onto a big screen, countdown timers clearly visible.

I write this from Waterloo, Iowa, where my site last night had none of these things. Poor acoustics in the school cafeteria. Seniors struggling to navigate stairs. Lots of first-time caucus-goers who were confused, just as many long-time caucusers who were also confused. At one point there was a coin-flip? No idea why.

One older man at my table filled out his card incorrectly, so the site organizer tracked him down to say his vote wouldn't count, but then refused to give him a new one until our precinct captain got testy with him. Our group had exactly *one* person to spare for viability, so it felt like it was all hinging on her advocacy. It was nuts.

One thing I'm sick of is seeing fb friends in fading, homogeneous sub-hamlets crowing about how it all worked fine except for the app crashing. Also my frenemy who lives for DRAMA! loving the scrum of the caucus and saying that poor turnout among minorities, second-shifters, single moms etc was a problem of them "not caring enough to make the effort."

If anything, the experience of this fiasco getting worse and worse every time has convinced me that I needed to be active in the local party. I spent the time between viability counts asking everyone I could find, there has to be a better way, right? And they all said yes.
posted by Caxton1476 at 7:03 AM on February 4 [44 favorites]


Let's say I was a betting person... Where could I go to put money on no results at all (from IA, NH, or NV) being released until the after the SC primary?
posted by FakeFreyja at 7:03 AM on February 4 [1 favorite]


Apps are no excuse for poor design and execution of business processes.
posted by ZeusHumms at 7:04 AM on February 4 [3 favorites]


Apps are no excuse for poor design and execution of business processes.

Apps are poor design and execution of business processes.
posted by PMdixon at 7:05 AM on February 4 [13 favorites]


Nate Silver, from Iowa Might Have Screwed Up The Whole Nomination Process:
Maybe there will eventually be a decent-sized Iowa bounce despite all of this. But there’s a good chance that the candidates who did well in Iowa get screwed, and the candidates who did poorly there get a mulligan. To repeat: There’s very little importance in a mathematical sense to who wins 41 delegates. Iowa is all about the media narrative it produces and all about momentum, and that momentum, whoever wins, is likely to have been blunted.
(h/t chuntered inelegantly from a sedentary position )
posted by ZeusHumms at 7:08 AM on February 4 [1 favorite]


More seriously, there is nothing wrong with using apps (or more generally, computer programs) to help with crucial infrastructure-- that is of course done all the time. It's just that the bar is much higher in those instances and therefore the development process must be treated completely differently than your average tech startup.

With that said, using an app for voting is the worst idea ever and should die in a fire. Paper ballots, hand counted, records saved. Anything else is garbage.
posted by gwint at 7:09 AM on February 4 [11 favorites]


I'm not defending the fuckup. I've been predicting it would be a fuckup since the last fuckup four years ago. I'm saying that it wasn't a conspiracy, that the conspiracy theories make literally no sense, and that you have to be either ignorant or acting in bad faith to claim it was a conspiracy. And I understand that it is a point of faith for the left in the US that you have no personal responsibility for anything, that you can just spew whatever the fuck you feel like without paying any attention to the truth, and if it hurts someone you can blame the DNC or Hillary Clinton or whatever. But although this was inarguably a fuckup, the appearance of impropriety is coming from people, including people right here in this very discussion, who are spewing ignorant conspiracy theories without making an effort to figure out whether they make any sense. And you need to take some responsibility for your behavior, because the stakes are too fucking high, and we cannot afford to mess up this time. All of us, wherever we stand on the non-Trump political spectrum, need to take some responsibility for not spreading crap that is going to spread division and hurt the eventually nominee. (And keep in mind that the eventual nominee may well be Bernie Sanders, and if so then we are all going to have to work together to elect Bernie Sanders, and people who aren't fans of him are also going to have to resist the urge to spew dumb things on social media.)

The solution to this is for Iowa to have a primary. That will mean that Iowa won't go first, and that's also a solution to some problems. Maybe the Bernie people will be ok with that now that Bernie seems to be making some inroads outside of lily white states like Iowa and New Hampshire. Because seriously, you guys: this is a stupid system. You need to trust those of us who live here when we tell you it's a stupid system.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 7:12 AM on February 4 [41 favorites]


Relevant, from Dictionary.com:
blamestorming [ bleym-stawr-ming ]

noun
a discussion or meeting for the purpose of assigning blame.
posted by ZeusHumms at 7:13 AM on February 4


Let's say I was a betting person... Where could I go to put money on no results at all (from IA, NH, or NV) being released until the after the SC primary?

I will take that bet right now, but not for money. If that happens, I will agree that there is a conspiracy against Sanders. If that doesn't happen, you have to stop arguing there is a conspiracy against Sanders. *spits in and and sticks it out*
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 7:14 AM on February 4 [4 favorites]


> "bfd, everybody knows all iowans are hot"

However, they can be cold as their falling thermometers in December if you ask about their weather in July.
posted by kyrademon at 7:16 AM on February 4 [4 favorites]


We're gonna wait weeks for CA, so one day for Iowa isn't so bad.

CA is a Super Tuesday state this year though.
posted by ZeusHumms at 7:16 AM on February 4


Yeah, SC is 25 days from now.
posted by Chrysostom at 7:16 AM on February 4 [1 favorite]


There is not a conspiracy against Sanders. The Iowa Democratic party is way too clunky to make a conspiracy happen. So is the DNC.
posted by all about eevee at 7:17 AM on February 4 [6 favorites]


I will take that bet right now, but not for money. If that happens, I will agree that there is a conspiracy against Sanders. If that doesn't happen, you have to stop arguing there is a conspiracy against Sanders. *spits in and and sticks it out*

I will also take that bet on those terms.
posted by PMdixon at 7:18 AM on February 4


The Challenger explosion had an innocuous explanation

The ultimate finding of the Rogers Commission was that at least two of NASA's contractors had known about the "innocuous" problem for roughly a decade and had broken multiple rules and regulations in not reporting it correctly (or really at all), combined with a number of problems at NASA around ignoring safety measures related to launch protocol. Maybe not the best analogy here.
posted by Glegrinof the Pig-Man at 7:19 AM on February 4 [26 favorites]


The Iowa Democratic party is way too clunky to make a conspiracy happen. So is the DNC.

As national current events tell us, extreme stupidity and incompetence make conspiracies impossible.
posted by Rust Moranis at 7:21 AM on February 4 [5 favorites]


Should the CEO have publicly expressed his political opinion? Probably not helpful when he has multiple candidates as clients

The CEO of Acronym is a woman, Tara McGowan. Here is something of a puff piece about her from September, with interesting detail about Acronym's odd structure, her strategies, and her history that paints McGowan as a new, disruptive major player:

Its staff has grown from five to 38 and it has quickly become one of the go-to digital organizing forces for everyone from Planned Parenthood and Emily’s List to Everytown for Gun Safety and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. And her organization’s weekly newsletter, For What It’s Worth, is becoming a must-read thanks to its smart (and illustration-heavy) look at how the 2020 campaigns are spending money online...

While the Democratic presidential candidates duke it out in the primaries, McGowan is focusing Acronym’s efforts on registering voters in Florida, Georgia, Texas and Arizona and also investing in state legislative seats in Virginia, Minnesota, North Carolina, Ohio, Wisconsin and beyond...


Her model is seen by some as a threat to traditional consultants:

While the numbers are impressive, what could upend Washington politics entirely is the structure of her organization. Unlike most digital strategists, her operation is what the IRS classifies as a 501(c)(4) nonprofit — meaning a majority of its funds must be used to promote “social welfare.” And yet, Acronym has a web of for-profit companies beneath it: a campaign consulting firm (Lockwood Strategy), a political tech company with a peer-to-peer texting product (Shadow) and a media company investing in local left-leaning outlets (FWIW Media). In the works is an apparel arm (Rogue Swag) that would be the first major liberal answer to conservative companies that skirt campaign finance laws by selling politically branded clothing over Facebook and elsewhere — spreading political messaging without having to report the spending.

It means the nonprofit Acronym is able to raise money, invest in for-profit companies to advance progressive aims and then return any profits back into its mission. “People don’t understand why I am creating a model that I can’t get very rich off of. Because I don’t own the companies; the (c)(4) does,” she says. And that’s a huge threat to political consultants’ bank accounts...

Privately, Washington consultants gripe that her nonprofit umbrella model is duplicitous because she could still be paying herself exorbitant amounts through the private companies beneath it.
“It’s not a surprise that others on the left are uncomfortable about the disruption,” says Eric Wilson, a Republican political strategist who blogs about digital tactics at LearnTestOptimize.com. An Acronym spokesman declined to reveal McGowan’s salary but confirmed she does not own any equity in the for-profit companies.

McGowan has also advocated for building in-house digital teams at her previous stops, another blow to consultants that could foster distrust. “As Tara has demonstrated at Priorities USA — much to my dismay — you get the better results and more efficiency bringing your buying in-house,” Wilson says. “She’s also exposing many of the less effective advertising tactics on the left.” Chaudhary agrees: “We have to evolve or die. … [She] is asking the right questions and forcing the Democratic Industrial Complex to change.”

posted by mediareport at 7:21 AM on February 4 [4 favorites]


But let's not pretend that this didn't help certain people and hurt others, and those people are exactly who you would expect.

It lessened the damage to Biden, but I think the centrist vs left damage otherwise is a wash or possibly more harmful to the centrists.

1) Bernie was anticipated to win and if he does, it’s not looking like it’ll be a big win. So he’d have just met expectations. Yes, a plus but not a huge surprise. And if it’s basically a tie with Pete or a loss, then he would’ve come away a neutral or even an overall negative impact.

2) Pete was not anticipated to win and overachieved even if he doesn’t win. Even a close second would’ve been huge for him so I think he clearly suffered the most.

3) The results between the top three - Bernie, Pete and Liz - are close and no one had a huge number - all in the 20s - so the victory bump with close results and a large field was always gonna be muted.

4) By the field not winnowing and Klobuchar staying in, it arguably helps Sanders by keeping multiple centrists in the race to split votes and steal from Biden. So yes Biden is helped by the clusterfuck drowning out his abysmal showing, but Klo staying in is arguably more damaging long term. And this also helps technocrat Bloomberg whose supposed effectiveness suddenly looks attractive to some, which also hurts Biden. As does the hate for the DNC/establishment which Biden is an avatar for.
posted by chris24 at 7:23 AM on February 4 [10 favorites]


Nate Silver, from Iowa Might Have Screwed Up The Whole Nomination Process:

Even taking his modeling as inspired by actual precognition, if you scroll down to the chart giving the comparison of pre-caucus and without the caucus at all, I have a hard time calling those differences dramatic. It changed the rank ordering of exactly 0 rows in that table.
posted by PMdixon at 7:26 AM on February 4 [4 favorites]


Naomi Klein has a great, sober take on this from a leftist perspective:

1. Bernie is the national frontrunner and there is no reason for this debacle to slow him down.

2. Our campaign expands when it focusses on the issues that matter most to people and harnesses the loving power of #NotMeUs.

3. Yes, what happened was unfair to Bernie but it was unfair to other candidates who had a good night as well. Nobody likes a victim so DO NOT let that become the mood of this campaign.

4. Also: don’t say the DNC "flushed people's work in Iowa down the toilet" (con't)

If we honestly believe we are building a movement, not just an electoral campaign, then the relationships we forge, and the political education we do along the way, is never wasted. It’s all part of building power, which we badly need no matter what happens. Nothing is wasted.

5. The person last night helped most is named Michael Bloomberg. He will use this debacle to feed his narrative that his obscene wealth proves he is more competent than government, the same insidious pitch Trump made. His plan is to buy the nomination at a brokered convention...

6. We need to be laser focussed on stopping him the only way possible: an overwhelming number of delegates, as well as good relationships with other campaigns who understand that threat...

7. The organizers and volunteers in Iowa who worked their asses off for months have a right to feel angry, heart-broken and demoralized today. So let’s take good care of each other, it’s what movements do. And it's going to be a long fight.

8. And when I say the other campaigns that understand the Bloomberg threat, I obviously know that most campaigns will be more than happy to be bought and play along. That's why we need alliances with whoever isn't open to that.

9. Finally: we need to fight for every delegate we rightfully won late night. And I have no doubt the campaign will do that.

posted by One Second Before Awakening at 7:28 AM on February 4 [41 favorites]


I haven't had time to read all the replies here, but with my software hat on, let me address a few points about how you would design an app like the one provided by Shadow. Given the time available, ~3 years, it is borderline criminal to not have a secure, functioning, highly available app for something like this.

User Interface
Any competent UI/UX person or team could easily knock out a clean, streamlined,and intuitive interface for this type of app. And they could easily do it in 3 months, let alone 3 years. No wheels need to be reinvented, there are plenty of really great frameworks out there that would solve the vast majority of the setup time, leaving the designers plenty of room to focus on usability.

-Encryption in Transit goes here, via standard HTTPS-

The API and Data Storage
Developing a layer to interface between the UI and the backend datastore would be really, really simple in this case. Since it's a single-purpose, closed-use (ie, no external/mixed callers), you could go the easiest route and surface just a few functional routes for the various actions the UI is performing.

-Encryption at Rest goes here, using AES-256 or whatever in your database(s), object storage, etc-

Infrastructure
Using either AWS or Azure, you could trivially spin up a highly available, scalable infrastructure that would easily handle the needs of the app. Even the fallback, call-in scenario could have been handled with something like AWS Connect. This layer would also be where the application authentication stuff would sit, and this is a trivial problem to solve at this point with easy and robust out-of-the-box solutions. Additionally, all the API/storage layer traffic would be within an internal network behind a firewall. Any databases used would not be directly accessible at all.

With proper encryption, signing, hashing, etc you could even get the entire result set off-loaded to something like AWS Snowball so the election officials could have a "physical" copy of the electronic data. You might be able to rig up something clever with cloud printing through the app, too, for an actual physical copy, though that would require more work that probably everything else combined.

---

Anyway, I don't know what sort of folks Shadow hires to architect their software, but I suspect they may need to improve their hiring standards. If the app really did fail in as many ways as described in the reports I've seen, it's reflective of truly mind-boggling incompetence.

I can't stress enough how... un-novel this whole concept is at this point. AWS has a whole thing just for State and Local elections. Azure has something similar. So does Google Cloud. Point being, Shadow seems to have really, really dropped the ball here if even half of what we're hearing is true. Given the results, or lack thereof, so far, it seems likely they dropped several balls along the way.

It's kind of infuriating.

Disclaimer: I don't work for AWS, but it's the cloud provider I'm most familiar with, so I used their products in most of my examples.
posted by Godspeed.You!Black.Emperor.Penguin at 7:34 AM on February 4 [15 favorites]


I think if you ranked in order of importance what you'd want in a technology for counting votes, it might look like:

1. Accuracy
2. Transparency
3. Accessibility
4. Speed in reporting

And if then you were reviewing what technology to use, a low tech solution over a high tech one would seem obvious.
posted by gwint at 7:41 AM on February 4 [10 favorites]


ArbitraryAndCapricious I don't really think the appearance of impropriety comes from evil leftists with no concern for truth. It comes from the fact that Shadow was paid for by a candidate who, though we don't have official results yet, has declared himself to be the winner.

That isnt a good look. That's why we call it APPEARANCE of impropriety. Probably Buttigig didn't cheat. But thats the point, it should never have been a question at all. He should have kept his money out of the counting. The wiff of conspiracy here is not due to the left being bad, it is 100% due to centrists acting in a way that gives tge appearance of impropriety.

Plus the fact that calling it an honest fuck up when everyone has known for decades that the caucus system is a wretched mistake isn't really proper. Many decades ago when the caucus system was first shown to be utterly miserable and without any benefits at all it was an honest fuck up. Today? After literally dozens of examples of Iowa's system being a total and abject failure? That isn't an honest fuck up anymore. It's malicious.
posted by sotonohito at 7:41 AM on February 4 [14 favorites]


Bernie is the one who pushed for these rules and the continuation of caucuses. It’s incredibly disingenuous to act like this is purely a malicious act by Democrats.
posted by chris24 at 7:43 AM on February 4 [12 favorites]


In this very thread there is someone who said that saying caucuses were undemocratic was a scheme to de legitimize Bernie.
posted by PMdixon at 7:46 AM on February 4 [8 favorites]


I also don’t get this Pete might’ve cheated stuff. He was buying services from a vendor providing election services to candidates. As other candidates did.

And I despise Pete.
posted by chris24 at 7:47 AM on February 4 [7 favorites]


There is no way for Shadow to have changed the results, so the fact that Buttigieg (and a lot of other candidates) have hired Shadow is not relevant. Every time you repeat that "suspicious fact," you make it more likely that Trump wins. Every time you say that Buttigieg "probably" didn't cheat, you suggest that there's a chance that he did, even though nobody can explain to me how this conspiracy is even possible. It's irresponsible, and I think you should stop.
Plus the fact that calling it an honest fuck up when everyone has known for decades that the caucus system is a wretched mistake isn't really proper.
Oh dearie me, I would certainly not want to be accused of being improper. But I've spent four years saying the caucuses were a travesty and being called all sorts of names by Bernie people who defended a classist, sexist, ableist system because they thought it their candidate benefited from it. So you're going to have to spare me if I don't give a flying fuck whether you think that I'm proper.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 7:49 AM on February 4 [20 favorites]


I don't think Pete cheated, but it was sleazy as heck to claim victory in absence of counts. Especially when he didn't come close to winning by anyone's reckoning.
posted by FakeFreyja at 7:49 AM on February 4 [8 favorites]


I think the electronic woes got everyone's attention because everyone expected instant results. But it sounds like (unless I missed something) despite them, the votes can still be faithfully counted.

Less democratic, I think, are the non-uniformities that were baked into how groups of votes translated into delegates*. These non-uniformities would exist even in a paper system, Shadow or not. Going from the (incomplete) Bernie numbers posted upthread, Warren lost 29 delegates compared to a purely proportional allocation, and Bernie lost 10. Buttigieg gained 10 and Biden gained 28. Klobuchar, ever the centrist, picked up everyone else's rounding errors and gained 0.5.

*These non-uniformities are the result of voting system vagaries that I don't have time to get into but it boils down to trying to hammer an IRV-shaped peg into a "precinct summability" hole. Were it not for the electronic woes, a precinct-summable system would be able to provide (projected) results *faster* than a centrally-tabulated IRV system.
posted by Jpfed at 7:50 AM on February 4 [2 favorites]


> And if then you were reviewing what technology to use, a low tech solution over a high tech one would seem obvious.

In the past, 100% agree. I think we're at a stage now where it's realistic to have a hybrid approach. Something that leverages technology while also providing physical outputs and allowing for auditing.

The problem is we keep allowing biased or potentially biased entities to handle it and we don't seem to examine why their efforts seem to be consistently bad. Setting aside corruption, they are just incompetent as well. Think Diebold. They make very secure ATMs and similar devices but totally fubar'd their voting solution. We need to look at what technology can do, not just how it's been used by potentially bad-faith actors in the past.

Frankly, voting should be on par with national defense and should be funded and treated with the same level of security in mind. As long as you kept the software FOSS, but with fine-grained auditing, testing, etc, it's not actually a difficult problem to solve with regards to the complexity of the data IO. We're not modeling proteins or black hole mergers here.
posted by Godspeed.You!Black.Emperor.Penguin at 7:52 AM on February 4


I don't think Pete cheated, but it was sleazy as heck to claim victory in absence of counts. Especially when he didn't come close to winning by anyone's reckoning.

On CNN this morning he claimed a victory on momentum. The victory of having the most momentum. I think this is a sign that he's confident he's in 2nd or 3rd and totally trounced Biden.

So in the end, seeing Biden lose, even to the smug faced gnawing and roiling pit of ambition known as Buttigieg, is a net positive here.
posted by dis_integration at 7:55 AM on February 4 [4 favorites]


I don't think Pete cheated, but it was sleazy as heck to claim victory in absence of counts.

You know what I think is sleazy? Making arguments couched in personal ignorance that people are dealing in bad faith.
posted by PMdixon at 7:56 AM on February 4 [5 favorites]


Especially when he didn't come close to winning by anyone's reckoning.

it’s actually probably going to be pretty close.

Dave Wasserman
Based on Sanders/Buttigieg memos, there’s virtually no question Sanders won the most caucus support in terms of *initial* preference.

The race for final preference seems closer but leans Sanders; the race for most SDEs closer yet.

—-

Nate Cohn
I'm inclined to agree. But if Buttigieg is closer on first alignment, it could easily be from outlying, rural, older precincts where the campaigns would be less likely to have data
posted by chris24 at 7:56 AM on February 4


Fixing bread prices is pretty sleazy.
posted by Yowser at 7:57 AM on February 4 [7 favorites]


> There is no way for Shadow to have changed the results

I'd like to point out that this is not the only way to cheat in an election. With the disclaimer that I have no personal knowledge of or insight to Mayor Buttigieg's motivations, possible involvement, etc. Occam's Razor would suggest he has no involvement and I'm fine with that until evidence exists to the contrary.

The biggest takeaway is that whoever won, they lost a pretty big media spotlight and victory speech opportunity. Corollary to that, the candidates who didn't do as well they wanted can point to the clusterfuck and insist on their continuing viability. This is a pretty awful result no matter who you support.
posted by Godspeed.You!Black.Emperor.Penguin at 7:57 AM on February 4 [11 favorites]


Strangely, the only attacks against the integrity of the election itself from an official campaign source are from the Biden campaign. The Sanders people just seem to want the results released. The rest are either trying to declare victory or spin the results in the most advantageous way for them - which is understandable.

Really, last night hurt Warren the worst, because she put the most resources into Iowa and needed to bounce of a victory to plausibly move polls elsewhere. We’ll see if Buttigieg actually won or not; if he did, then he doesn’t get the positive press he needs to maybe make him viable outside Iowa and New Hampshire. If he didn’t, he’s probably dead man walking anyway in campaign terms.

If Biden really did as bad as he appears, not releasing the results mitigates that damage to his campaign. If Sanders really won, he’s hurt by not having to positive press of a victory.

My bet: Its coming down to Sanders, Biden, and probably Bloomberg. And we’re definitely getting a brokered (not sure if that’s the right term) convention. I think that might have happened regardless of what happened in Iowa though.
posted by eagles123 at 7:58 AM on February 4 [3 favorites]



On CNN this morning he claimed a victory on momentum.



This is not what he said yesterday.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 7:59 AM on February 4 [2 favorites]


People are always claiming victory in Iowa based on beating expectations. Rubio came in third in 2016 and basically claimed victory. Klobuchar came out first and gave a de facto victory speech and she’ll be fifth. It’s politics, though i agree he’s sleazy.
posted by chris24 at 7:59 AM on February 4 [2 favorites]


Damn. Now they're saying Tuesday at the earliest. **TUESDAY**

Wow, a whole extra day. I swear if people didn't feel like information should travel at the speed of Twitter, this wouldn't be such a big deal.
posted by schoolgirl report at 8:01 AM on February 4 [11 favorites]


It seems to me that this situation is leading all the campaigns to be the most The Thing That They Are. So at least that's instructive?

Anyway, in my day we waited for paper ballots to be hand-tabulated and we liked it.
posted by soren_lorensen at 8:03 AM on February 4 [7 favorites]


Oh cool so some #resistance liberals on twitter are blaming Russian bots for the backlash against Buttigieg. The mind boggles.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 8:03 AM on February 4 [5 favorites]


Man, where's Harper Reed when you need him?
posted by JoeZydeco at 8:03 AM on February 4


People, just wait until 2020 comes down to AZ and the mail-in ballots and Trump’s lead and victory diminishes every day as they count more votes that trend D.
posted by chris24 at 8:03 AM on February 4 [3 favorites]


I claim victory over this thread based on character count.
posted by eagles123 at 8:05 AM on February 4 [5 favorites]


I despise Pete, but I don’t get the blame on him. He paid a developer for a program just like many other of the candidates and other D politicians had.

The problem, not with Pete but in general, is that it shouldn't be possible for me to send money to someone who is also going to be involved in determining the results of an election that I'm running in. I shouldn't be able to give them my business and they shouldn't be able to accept it. The local Iowa Democratic party was responsible for preventing it, the DNC was responsible for making sure they prevented it, and when it comes to general elections the FEC and the state election commissions are responsible for preventing it.

Whether it's this small-scale bullshit, or national elections run on closed-source, unauditable electronic voting machines made by corporations with who knows what financial entanglements - it needs to be prevented. A huge amount of attention and effort needs to be put into preventing it.

I'm not that old, so I've only been waiting for that attention and effort to materialize since Diebold.
posted by trig at 8:05 AM on February 4 [24 favorites]


> People, just wait until 2020 comes down to AZ

Oh lord, please don't rely on my state. Yeah, my neighbor has a Yang sign but don't expect AZ to turn purple quite yet. Though, you can count on 4 mail-in ballots for the Democratic candidate from my house.
posted by Godspeed.You!Black.Emperor.Penguin at 8:09 AM on February 4 [3 favorites]


FWIW, no, it probably shouldn't be called a brokered convention, because the party bosses who could deliver delegates in bargains - the literal "brokers" - don't really exist anymore. If it has multiple realistic candidates fighting it out in Milwaukee, it would be a contested convention.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:10 AM on February 4 [1 favorite]


Damn. Now they're saying Tuesday at the earliest. **TUESDAY**

Isn't today Tuesday?
posted by madcaptenor at 8:10 AM on February 4 [15 favorites]


"Point being, Shadow seems to have really, really dropped the ball here"

Tech startup over-promises and under-delivers. I feel like I've heard this story before. Oh, that's because I work for a software company that over-promises and under-delivers. Is that redundant?
posted by kevinbelt at 8:11 AM on February 4 [5 favorites]


Damn. Now they're saying Tuesday at the earliest. **TUESDAY**
Isn't today Tuesday?


Ok, um, how do I explain this concisely? This is Tuesdays...and also July.

And sometimes it’s never.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 8:13 AM on February 4 [24 favorites]


So this started with Iowa people complaining that the crappy app wasn't working, morphed into media people complaining that they weren't going to get their results on time, and is resulting in everyone feeling like something sketchy is happening because the way caucuses apportion delegates feels like a scam.

The Democratic Party should push for primaries in a every state and apportion the state points based off statewide results. And then, at every possible opportunity, Dems should remind the country that they've decided to ensure that our party leaders are chosen democratically and will seek to do the same for the presidency of the United States. Remember that year that Republicans were quietly furious over the "Republicans' war on women" messaging? Like that, but for democracy, until we have an electoral system that stops undermining the will of the voters.
posted by grandiloquiet at 8:16 AM on February 4 [8 favorites]


Rank choice voting everywhere. Problem solved.
posted by asteria at 8:21 AM on February 4 [6 favorites]


It’s pretty darn close. Though I wish they’d stop releasing numbers and just wait for the results. And by they I mostly mean Pete since Bernie released his in response to Pete jumping the gun.

Nate Silver:
Buttigieg has now released a more detailed statement and is claiming to have won 28% of SDE's based on ~75% of the vote. That compares to Sanders's statement claiming 28.6% of SDE's based on ~40% of the vote.
posted by chris24 at 8:25 AM on February 4


Though I wish they’d stop releasing numbers and just wait for the results.

Idk to the extent all it does is make Buttigieg look like a dumbass I'm all for it.
posted by PMdixon at 8:27 AM on February 4 [8 favorites]


The most direct criticism came from Jeff Weaver, senior adviser to Bernie Sanders’ campaign. When Price responded to his concern saying there were "reporting issues," Weaver called the response "bogus" and suggested "the whole process has been a fraud for 100 years.”

Bernie needs to rein that shit in. There's no excuse for a campaign manager spouting tinfoil-hattery in a serious discussion about what went wrong. It turns me off that this is so prevalent among Bernie's online supporters, but at the heart of the campaign? A pro would wait until the facts come out before saying something like that.
posted by freecellwizard at 8:27 AM on February 4 [21 favorites]


I am with Godspeed.You!Black.Emperor.Penguin here. I work in software professionally and this kind of stuff is worked on day in and day out in software companies.

Designing an app for an older generation? That's a persona, and any competent UX team would LOVE to tackle this problem. We bring people into our lab and track eye movement and use electromyography to see when people are confused. We put them behind two way mirrors and ask them to perform tasks. If there is a confusing click path, we find out quickly and design around it iteratively until we get it right.

Stakes are high? Things like HIPAA, Fedramp, GDPR, SOX, PCI-DSS, etc. exist for a reason. Leading software companies don't get to enter markets like Banking and Healthcare without having bulletproof software to be compliant.

Bad or no internet connection? Solved.
A million concurrent users? Solved.
Authentication? Solved
Auditing? Solved
Monitoring and alerting when things go wrong? Solved

If we can build Fortnite, Vanguard.com, and WhatsApp with 57 engineers, we can build an app to CRUD votes and report on the results. If the people building the app didn't study Idempotence and all the other things a Tier 1 software engineer understands, they are not qualified to be writing the code for something this high stakes.
posted by jasondigitized at 8:28 AM on February 4 [17 favorites]


I am trying to focus on Not Biden. I have a deep, deep lack of enthusiasm for Buttigieg, but he's not as awful as Biden, and at least it seems clear that Biden didn't win. Biden's campaign has been frankly terrifying, not just for its content but because he can't seem to stop being inappropriate with women even when it's so intensely, obviously detrimental. It's gross and it it just fucking terrifying whether it implies that he is confident that that electorate supports his gross behavior or whether it implies that he just has zero self-control and zero political instincts.
posted by Frowner at 8:30 AM on February 4 [18 favorites]


Bernie needs to rein that shit in.

Yep, and official Biden position last night that the numbers couldn’t be trusted was bullshit too. We’re in a crisis of democracy and them fanning those flames to take a little heat off their abysmal showing is despicable and borderline disqualifying in my opinion.
posted by chris24 at 8:30 AM on February 4 [20 favorites]


> Solved.

Just to reiterate jasondigitized's point, this cannot be stressed enough with regards to the app. Everything it needs to do has been solved, many times over, in rock solid ways. Getting it wrong can really only point to a level of incompetence that would almost need to be orchestrated. It looks worse from there, the more cynical you get.
posted by Godspeed.You!Black.Emperor.Penguin at 8:34 AM on February 4 [9 favorites]


Every time you repeat that "suspicious fact," you make it more likely that Trump wins. Every time you say that Buttigieg "probably" didn't cheat, you suggest that there's a chance that he did, even though nobody can explain to me how this conspiracy is even possible.

if talking about the fact that "mayor pete gave money to the people who make an app involved with getting mayor pete elected president" is a problem, maybe we should blame mayor pete for that.
posted by JimBennett at 8:36 AM on February 4 [22 favorites]


You sound like the NYT.
posted by PMdixon at 8:37 AM on February 4 [1 favorite]


Pete paid for a product designed for politicians and elections and marketed and used by the D party and other D candidates and he’s terrible for it.

I guess.
posted by chris24 at 8:38 AM on February 4 [7 favorites]



Bernie needs to rein that shit in. There's no excuse for a campaign manager spouting tinfoil-hattery in a serious discussion about what went wrong. It turns me off that this is so prevalent among Bernie's online supporters, but at the heart of the campaign? A pro would wait until the facts come out before saying something like that.

It was a phone call to the democratic party organization and people have been shitting on the caucus process in here for like dozens of comments! Rein what in!
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 8:39 AM on February 4 [23 favorites]


Oh lord, please don't rely on my state. Yeah, my neighbor has a Yang sign but don't expect AZ to turn purple quite yet. Though, you can count on 4 mail-in ballots for the Democratic candidate from my house.

Haven't seen any Yang support at all here in Tucson. Down here I see more Bernie and Warren signs and stickers than anything. (And 2 Dem ballots coming from our place.)
posted by azpenguin at 8:40 AM on February 4 [1 favorite]


Pete paid for a product designed for politicians and elections and marketed and used by the D party and other D candidates and he’s terrible for it.

I guess.


there is such a clear conflict of interest here. blame pete, blame shadow, blame our election laws, whoever, it's fucked.
posted by JimBennett at 8:41 AM on February 4 [11 favorites]


I took Weaver to mean that the problems have existed for a long time so they shouldn’t use them as an excuse not to release the results. No tinfoil needed. The only campaign questioning the integrity of the results is Biden.

Also, we’re not getting the results today. Calling it. Hope I’m wrong.
posted by eagles123 at 8:42 AM on February 4 [2 favorites]


It was a phone call to the democratic party organization and people have been shitting on the caucus process in here for like dozens of comments! Rein what in!

"fraud," said by an official campaign adviser, is a little different than randos on the internet.
posted by PMdixon at 8:42 AM on February 4 [2 favorites]


Everything it needs to do has been solved, many times over, in rock solid ways.

Another problem is so much of the necessary labor of caucuses is done by volunteers, and these volunteers are disproportionately older people, lots of whom have been doing this for many years in set ways. And anyone who’s spent time corralling volunteers knows you are wise to get their buy-in on how the process will be run, because they are the ones who are going to be running it (for free!). It sounds like at least some of the precinct volunteers never had any intention of using the app even if it hadn’t broken because they preferred to call in their results instead.
posted by sallybrown at 8:43 AM on February 4 [3 favorites]


Also, we’re not getting the results today. Calling it. Hope I’m wrong.

Can you help me understand why you're "calling it"? What leads you to believe that and what do you think that implies?
posted by PMdixon at 8:44 AM on February 4 [2 favorites]


I'm less than pleased to see Jeff Weaver quotes already - He was responsible for some horrible divisive messaging last time around (remember the "lock out" of the Sanders campaign from the DNC database, amongst other things) and I was really hoping we weren't going to see him this time around.
posted by MysticMCJ at 8:45 AM on February 4 [2 favorites]


Just a gut feeling. If whatever is causing the delay were an easy fix, I think the results would be out by now.
posted by eagles123 at 8:49 AM on February 4


At this point accuracy is more important than speed. It has to be bulletproof when it comes out or we’re really fucked. Take the time to get it right.
posted by chris24 at 8:50 AM on February 4 [3 favorites]


Pete paid for a product designed for politicians and elections and marketed and used by the D party and other D candidates and he’s terrible for it.

Here’s a short twitter thread pointing out that the CEO of the company that owns the app is a Pete supporter, is anti-Bernie and in fact is married to one of Pete’s staffers.

Whether or not you think that “no smoke without fire” is justified here, surely you can at least see that there’s a reasonable perception of smoke so far.
posted by chappell, ambrose at 8:53 AM on February 4 [32 favorites]


surely you can at least see that there’s a reasonable perception of smoke so far.

This is a cheap rhetorical tactic.
posted by PMdixon at 8:55 AM on February 4 [2 favorites]


I’d have much more worry about smoke if it wasn’t an app just reporting public, witnessed and written records that all still exist.
posted by chris24 at 8:55 AM on February 4 [7 favorites]


This is a cheap rhetorical tactic.

sure it is
posted by JimBennett at 8:55 AM on February 4 [1 favorite]


"fraud," said by an official campaign adviser, is a little different than randos on the internet.


Saying the whole process has been a fraud for hundreds of years is like...the kind of hyperbole you say on the phone to the party apparatus when you're peeved and think the caucus process is shit

Which people here have been saying

But now that a Sanders person is saying it in a private phone call

It's a bad look

And exactly like the Biden campaign basically calilng it rigged?

I don't get it

(P.s. if you've ever worked in, on, or around a campaign, you would recognize that sometimes after multiple 17+ hour days, working to manage a small army of volunteers, everyone's hopes and dreams and stress and worry going into it, that you might in fact lose your temper a bit when someone fucks something up and you might, in a private place, say something that is not 100% "nice." This is about the future of our country and it's his job and apparently he thinks, like everyone here claimed two seconds ago, the caucuses are a fucking disaster show for democracy! It happens!)
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 8:55 AM on February 4 [14 favorites]


What exactly was the CEO's evil plan? To lie about numbers that literally hundreds and thousands of people are independent witnesses to? Does that seem like a very good plan?
posted by PMdixon at 8:56 AM on February 4 [4 favorites]


Again it’s disingenuous for any Sanders person to complain about the unfairness of the Iowa caucuses when they’re the ones who pushed for these rules and have totally embraced caucuses as good for them politically.
posted by chris24 at 8:57 AM on February 4 [10 favorites]


Like most people I've known, I don't really pay any attention before the results from Super Tuesdays. Maybe Super should be Super First Tuesdays? Regional/national results seem like a better beginning.
posted by Harry Caul at 8:58 AM on February 4


This is a cheap rhetorical tactic.

I’d have much more worry about smoke if it wasn’t an app just reporting public, witnessed and written records that all still exist.


You don’t have to believe that the final results will be inaccurate - or even that this was anything more than a cockup - to understand why this looks terrible.
posted by chappell, ambrose at 8:58 AM on February 4 [21 favorites]


CNN’s Abby Phillip says “Spoke to Iowa State Senator Pam Jochum who chaired her precinct in Dubuque last night. A week before the caucus, she kept getting errors trying to download the app and couldn't get anyone at the state party to help her troubleshoot so she decided to call in her results.”

I hope there are serious discussions in Nevada right now about how to replace their plan to use this app with a different solution.
posted by sallybrown at 8:59 AM on February 4 [5 favorites]


Also while we're at it this is not a conspiracy, the stupid app was a stupid boondoggle by the kinds of useless people who think they should be in charge of a technocratic meritocracy. So, you know, unnerving, but no one fixed, rigged, or did anything.

Again, people who have been in politics IRL, ever, have seen a counting fuckup. It happens constantly. There are also so many more candidates this time that the comparison to 2016 is silly.

Mayor Pete declaring victory was slimy, but he's a bit slimy, so whatever.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 9:00 AM on February 4 [5 favorites]


You don’t have to believe that the final results will be inaccurate - or even that this was anything more than a cockup - to understand why this looks terrible.

this is really the heart of it. i don't think people in this thread really understand how much every day, normal people fucking do not trust or like the democratic party. this shit stinks and poisons the well.
posted by JimBennett at 9:00 AM on February 4 [22 favorites]


You don’t have to believe that the final results will be inaccurate - or even that this was anything more than a cockup - to understand why this looks terrible.

"terrible" is wonderfully vague, isn't it? You don't have to make any actual claims about the world at all, just unfalsifiable assertions about how things look, never mind to who.
posted by PMdixon at 9:00 AM on February 4 [1 favorite]


It looks horrible for the same reason the NYT constantly saying the Clinton Foundation had the appearance of impropriety when there was actually nothing going on. The fact that someone can spin a conspiracy theory doesn’t make it so.
posted by chris24 at 9:01 AM on February 4 [6 favorites]


you two should google "optics" it's kind of an important part of politics
posted by JimBennett at 9:03 AM on February 4 [13 favorites]


Again it’s disingenuous for any Sanders person to complain about the unfairness of the Iowa caucuses when they’re the ones who pushed for these rules and have totally embraced caucuses as good for them politically.

Not totally shitting on the Iowa caucuses in public immediately before the Iowa caucuses is not actually the same as embracing them forever, it's actually just not being totally bad at politics

Which many Democrats find confusing and upsetting, so I get it, but try to keep up anyway
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 9:04 AM on February 4 [7 favorites]


I think it bears repeating that changing votes/results is not the only way to manipulate elections. Simple sabotage to create chaos and suspicion can be just as important, particularly at key momentum points. To reiterate again, I'm not saying that's what happened here, it's probably just a confluence of poor planning, hyper-media attention, short attention spans, and a clunky, out-dated caucus system. The potential effects remains the same, however.
posted by Godspeed.You!Black.Emperor.Penguin at 9:04 AM on February 4 [13 favorites]


Also, it's pretty fucking hilarious that I'm basically being accused of being a shill for the DNC. Go back and look at my posting history. I am a fully paid up member of the "electoral politics cannot save us because even if the Democratic party tried to take sufficient action on either fascism or climate change it would splinter before it came anywhere close" club. I'm just not interested in conspiracy theories that people aren't even willing to fill in the details of.
posted by PMdixon at 9:05 AM on February 4 [3 favorites]




Yes, optics. The bastion of people without facts on their side.
posted by chris24 at 9:06 AM on February 4 [5 favorites]


> What exactly was the CEO's evil plan? To lie about numbers that literally hundreds and thousands of people are independent witnesses to? Does that seem like a very good plan?

honestly i wish people would not take the “what is the evil plan of the evil planners is it this thing that doesn’t work no it is not therefore no evil plan” thing.

there are plausible ways that the position of power within the reporting app system held by buttigieg could be leveraged. for example:
  • is buttigieg leading on the night of the caucus? release results! buttigieg wins the news cycle!
  • is buttigieg not leading on the night of the caucus? smokebomb! buttigieg gets to announce a momentum win and a critical news cycle that could belong to someone else now belongs to no one
like, i don’t think this is what happened, but if people are like “nothing could have happened!11!!1!l” they are spouting their own variety of nonsense.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 9:07 AM on February 4 [26 favorites]


Again it’s disingenuous for any Sanders person to complain about the unfairness of the Iowa caucuses when they’re the ones who pushed for these rules and have totally embraced caucuses as good for them politically.

I agree with a lot of what you've posted, chris24, and your last phrase above is dead on, but I asked above about how many of the new rules can be attributed to Sanders' campaign and didn't get any response, so maybe you know: which of the new rules are ones that Sanders folks "pushed for"? As I mentioned, I'd guess the one requiring an official count of the first round is something they wanted (and sounds reasonable, given what happened in 2016), but do you know of others?
posted by mediareport at 9:07 AM on February 4 [1 favorite]



Also, it's pretty fucking hilarious that I'm basically being accused of being a shill for the DNC.

I mean I also dislike the DNC and I agree 100% that this is a lot of conspiracy theory shit, largely because the Democratic party apparatus and its hangers-on are constantly doing this kind of graft-y shit where consultants and vague companies get paid to do fuck-all. It's not surprising in the least.

Also, Mayor Pete did pretty well in this caucus and thought he would, and Biden thought he would, no matter how stupid that thought was, so I don't get where delaying the results helps any establishment candidates.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 9:08 AM on February 4 [3 favorites]


Buttigieg if not leading was very close and hugely overperforming. This hurt him more than anyone.
posted by chris24 at 9:08 AM on February 4 [4 favorites]


"terrible" is wonderfully vague, isn't it? You don't have to make any actual claims about the world at all, just unfalsifiable assertions about how things look, never mind to who.

Claims about the world being made = Pete’s supporters own the app at the heart of the debacle; Pete benefitted from a raised media profile by declaring victory during the chaos.

Assertions about how things look = If you don’t like my interpretation of how people perceive the above, you’re welcome to your own. My filter bubble suggests that I’m not alone in thinking that this turn of events doesn’t reflect particularly well on Pete.
posted by chappell, ambrose at 9:09 AM on February 4 [3 favorites]


I mean if we're going there, my filter bubble has been really enjoying funny memes about Pete being CIA and therefore being totally used to declaring victory before the votes are counted
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 9:10 AM on February 4 [1 favorite]


That Pete has done work for the CIA is a conspiracy theory I’m totally down for. :)
posted by chris24 at 9:12 AM on February 4 [4 favorites]


It looks horrible for the same reason the NYT constantly saying the Clinton Foundation had the appearance of impropriety when there was actually nothing going on.

Especially because at the same time David Farenthold was documenting that Trump was running his foundation like a personal piggy bank. The goal is defeating Trump.
posted by Gelatin at 9:12 AM on February 4 [7 favorites]


the stupid app was a stupid boondoggle by the kinds of useless people who think they should be in charge of a technocratic meritocracy.

I want to say more about this. This whole thing really was run and pushed by the kind of people who constantly shit on democracy and populism, who constantly think that everyone who went to Harvard is better than you and me, and Mayor Pete's involvement just feels "right" for that reason.

The real fear here, if I may, is that there is a whole cadre of people at the top who could give a shit if our votes get counted. And that is very very true.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 9:12 AM on February 4 [8 favorites]


In re optics:

Remember how much optics played a role in 2016. Remember all the email stuff right before the election. Remember that mefites in general were not swayed in our votes (whether or not we liked Hilary Clinton), but that all the "but her emails, we should elect Trump" stuff did material damage because in a very large country quite a lot of people are not Very Online and Very Committed In Their Votes.

Several candidates should not be paying for an app used in tabulating general election results. It requires explanation and it is guaranteed to disturb and alienate at least some voters. It is also easy to weaponize.

A candidate with a fucking ounce of common sense would have avoided doing this, even leaving aside the ethical thing. Either he has no common sense, he's not paying attention to what his staff does or else his head is so big that he thinks whatever his campaign does is right. All of these things give anyone pause.

When politicians do dumb, unnecessary shit that makes them look bad, it tells you that they made bad decisions. This is relevant.
posted by Frowner at 9:13 AM on February 4 [60 favorites]


Yes, exactly, particularly when they are supposed to be the sensible, smart ones. Then get sensible and smart, my dude
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 9:14 AM on February 4 [2 favorites]


Whether or not you think that “no smoke without fire” is justified here, surely you can at least see that there’s a reasonable perception of smoke so far.

Except.....Iowa was Mayo Pete's best damn chance at getting any momentum at all and he was expected to outperform his overall position in the national polls because of the lack diversity in Iowa demographics (and it appears he legitimately did particularly with the screwy rounding math of the caucuses).

So the app failure kills whatever momentum and cred he would have had coming out of Iowa and I don't see how it really could have enhanced it much if it was some nefarious rigging scheme.

I mean I can see Democratic party political consultants screwing up like this because they are political keystone cops...but it really doesn't make any strategic sense at all. If Buttigiege was going to cheat it should be in one of the diverse primaries where he would really need help to keep from getting drowned.

So where others see smoke I mostly see the sickly sweet vape fumes of manufactured controversy.
posted by srboisvert at 9:16 AM on February 4 [6 favorites]


When politicians do dumb, unnecessary shit that makes them look bad, it tells you that they made bad decisions. This is relevant.

When have they ever not, tho? Seriously, is there any large window of time where the vast majority of politicians and party structures have not made gross unforced errors?
posted by PMdixon at 9:16 AM on February 4 [3 favorites]


And poor Klobuchar. All her Klobmentum, wasted :(
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 9:16 AM on February 4 [7 favorites]


I want to say more about this. This whole thing really was run and pushed by the kind of people who constantly shit on democracy and populism, who constantly think that everyone who went to Harvard is better than you and me, and Mayor Pete's involvement just feels "right" for that reason.

Reminder that it's only been a couple days since the DNC, with no real explanation, changed the rules to let a billionaire, white, supposedly not-Republican-anymore man, that by all appearances is trying to buy his way into the primary, onto the debate stages after multiple PoC and women were punished and excluded from the race, mostly for the crime of not having enough financial support.
posted by Glegrinof the Pig-Man at 9:20 AM on February 4 [38 favorites]


A good tweet: “The conspiracy theories are more comforting than the reality of pervasive elite incompetence and institutional rot that actually explains what's going on.”
posted by sallybrown at 9:21 AM on February 4 [45 favorites]


Tom Perez announced in November that they would be changing the rules once voting started with a good probability that it would move to a polls only criteria. Then they did that as planned. And after Warren surrogates and Klobuchar said he should be in so they can defend themselves and attack him. This is overblown. The donor criteria was designed for people who had grassroots support but no polling to get in and it worked. No one was excluded due to donors. But moving to actual voting preference at some point makes sense and when someone is polling at 10% in an election when the leader is only at 25%, it’s hard to argue they don’t belong.
posted by chris24 at 9:23 AM on February 4 [5 favorites]




A good tweet: “The conspiracy theories are more comforting than the reality of pervasive elite incompetence and institutional rot that actually explains what's going on.”

one of the good things about twitter is when someone sums up something you've been trying to express for hours into a single sentence
posted by JimBennett at 9:25 AM on February 4 [5 favorites]


“ It sounds like at least some of the precinct volunteers never had any intention of using the app”

I work specifically in software implementation, and this too is - well, not “solved”, but a problem that has a well-developed and accepted set of best practice solutions. Every enterprise software company should expect end users to actively resist adoption of new programs, and extensively train its customer-facing staff to deal with this resistance (including pressuring the client’s decision-makers to acknowledge the potential problem). Even my company does this, and we’re as dysfunctional as it gets. I’m biased of course, but to me there’s no clearer sign that they’re only in it for the money.
posted by kevinbelt at 9:26 AM on February 4 [3 favorites]


, but to me there’s no clearer sign that they’re only in it for the money.

What else would they be in it for?
posted by PMdixon at 9:28 AM on February 4


Looks like my gut feeling was wrong!
posted by eagles123 at 9:28 AM on February 4


A joke from Austan Goolsbee: “If only this had been on the blockchain”
posted by sallybrown at 9:28 AM on February 4 [8 favorites]


NYTimes blog: "The Iowa Democratic Party plans to release 'the majority of results' [from the Caucus] at 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time."

good news, the babysitter is returning the majority of the baby
posted by Rust Moranis at 9:30 AM on February 4 [22 favorites]


Mixed feelings about this bit:

The cybersecurity wing of the Department of Homeland Security recently offered to do some security testing on the app but the Iowa Democratic Party declined the outreach, according to people familiar with the matter. DHS declined to comment on the app, referring questions to the Iowa Democratic Party. After being sent multiple requests for comment, a spokeswoman for the Iowa Democratic Party said that she was checking about this and would circle back.

Not sure any Dem in 2020 should trust Trump's DHS to test anything for them, let alone a voting app. I can understand why they'd look to test elsewhere, which they say, anyway, that they did.

(Also that meme of Buttigieg smiling under the Bush II "Mission Accomplished" banner cracks me up.)
posted by mediareport at 9:31 AM on February 4 [1 favorite]


Clusterfuck alert: they are releasing “the majority of results that we have,” but only saying it will be more than 50%.

Just wait until it’s complete!
posted by sallybrown at 9:34 AM on February 4 [11 favorites]


Tom Perez announced in November that they would be changing the rules once voting started with a good probability that it would move to a polls only criteria. Then they did that as planned. And after Warren surrogates and Klobuchar said he should be in so they can defend themselves and attack him.

That's not an explanation, that's complicity.
posted by Glegrinof the Pig-Man at 9:35 AM on February 4 [3 favorites]


@ Ruby Cramer
On a call with Democratic campaigns happening now, Iowa Democratic Chair Troy Price says his team has "worked through the night and this is our plan to share with you now."

IDP will release the "majority of the results that we have by 4 p.m.," Price says. On the call, Price estimates that the release will reflect about 50% of precincts. There is some concern among campaigns that people will then take that as the "final number."
Ye gods
posted by Rust Moranis at 9:35 AM on February 4 [7 favorites]


Who could have predicted that shoehorning a rushed app into a voting process with almost zero secrecy, where virtual ties are broken by a literal coin toss and where you can openly cajole people into how they vote would end up such a dismal failure?
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 9:35 AM on February 4 [5 favorites]


Could this finally be Paul Tsongas' year
posted by riverlife at 9:36 AM on February 4 [15 favorites]


By Super Tuesday, this is all going to be a faint memory.
posted by SansPoint at 9:38 AM on February 4 [2 favorites]


This is because the Iowa people are desperate to salvage their first-in-the-nation snowflakery and get numbers out before New Hampshire, right? There's no good excuse for dropping half the votes like that.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 9:39 AM on February 4 [2 favorites]


I feel like five years of bullshit machines working to undermine faith in elections doesn't create the right environment to implement a Sweet New App for Democracy. Caucuses are bullshit anyway, but oof.

On the other hand, I am 100% here for the Democratic party telling the nonstop news industry to go jump up its own ass while the results are properly counted in a reasonable time. Would've been great if that had been the plan in the first place.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 9:41 AM on February 4 [6 favorites]


From the NYT, a hint that the DNC can indeed take a share of the blame here:

The party decided to use the app only after another proposal for reporting votes — which entailed having caucus participants call in their votes over the phone — was abandoned, on the advice of Democratic National Committee officials, according to David Jefferson, a board member of Verified Voting, a nonpartisan election integrity organization.
posted by mediareport at 9:42 AM on February 4 [11 favorites]


On the call, Price estimates that the release will reflect about 50% of precincts.

Well that sure seems like putting water on a grease fire.
posted by PMdixon at 9:42 AM on February 4 [11 favorites]


"What else would they be in it for?"

Is this a serious question?
posted by kevinbelt at 9:46 AM on February 4 [2 favorites]


Yes, actually. Why would you expect a tech company of any stripe to give a shit, in practice, about anything besides money?
posted by PMdixon at 9:47 AM on February 4 [2 favorites]


A little thing I like to call "class interests."
posted by One Second Before Awakening at 9:48 AM on February 4 [12 favorites]


By 330 today, we expect to release the numbers, but in the interest of fairness, we're going to do it sequentially. So we'll release the number 1 first, then the number 2, then 3, and so on. This will be preceded by a recipe-blog-style recollection of our last trip to Paris, where we first tried numbers. After several paragraphs, we will post the final list. At some point in the future, we will circle the numbers that seem most relevant, and from there we will place them on the bones of a vulture, so that we can see which numbers point in which directions. Again, it may not be fast, but this process should guarantee that everyone is as pissed as possible by this evening, which - let's not forget! - is Taco Tuesday!
posted by Greg Nog at 9:48 AM on February 4 [30 favorites]


I mean honestly why would you expect anyone of any stripe to give a shit about anything besides money?

Bloomberg 2020!
posted by chuntered inelegantly from a sedentary position at 9:49 AM on February 4 [3 favorites]


A little thing I like to call "class interests."

Which class interests do you think align with the CEO of a tech company?
posted by PMdixon at 9:49 AM on February 4


Which class interests do you think align with the CEO of a tech company?

Is this a serious question?
posted by One Second Before Awakening at 9:50 AM on February 4 [15 favorites]


Did anyone hear the NPR interview this morning with a precinct leader who said everything went great? Her take was basically:

* We're smart, so we made sure our reporting guy downloaded the app well in advance and did the training to be sure we knew how to use it.
* We think probably a lot of other precincts didn't do that and tried to download the app and submit the results at the last minute.

That plus a lack of load testing would explain a lot. The phone stuff is obviously that they assumed everyone would use the app, so they didn't have the bandwidth to cover everyone abandoning the app and calling in at once.

If you think this is surprising or evidence of total incompetence, here's a story: Microsoft Teams (the main worldwide office comms app besides Slack) had a multi-hour outage yesterday because someone forgot to renew a security certificate. Once that happened, the rush of everyone signing in and out a million times to see if it was fixed presumably made it worse. During that time, probably millions of workers had to cancel meetings, couldn't communicate, and couldn't access important files easily. So a huge software company with many thousands of engineers still makes epic fuckups. It's the nature of the beast. Not good, but true. In conclusion, centralization + automation is a land of contrasts.
posted by freecellwizard at 9:53 AM on February 4 [26 favorites]


No, it's me saying that for the CEO of shadow class interests and money are basically indistinguishable. Your phrasing implied there was some meaningful difference in the actions motivated by the two and I am now explicitly asking you what sequence of events you are suggesting occurred.
posted by PMdixon at 9:53 AM on February 4


This is insane. 50%? Why even bother?
posted by eagles123 at 9:54 AM on February 4 [5 favorites]


Look, I'm neither a Bernie fan nor a conspiracy monger.

Appearance of impropriety is a real thing. And when you are in a situation, like an election, where you need everything to be as utterly squeaky clean and aboveboard as possible (especially if you hope to contrast yourself with the corruption of Trump), avoiding even the faintest, slightest, hint of appearance of impropriety is critical.

Buttigieg failed to do that. The Iowa Democratic Party failed to do that.

It does not matter if Buttigieg giving money to the Shadow company [1] is not actually cheating. It does not matter if the Shadow company can't actually alter the results. It does not matter how loudly you say it's totally normal for this sort of incestuous relationship to exist and in fact that makes it seem worse. It **MATTERS** that it looks like Buttigieg is trying to cheat.

Under no circumstances at all should he, or any candidate, have any business dealings, donations, or any other relationship of any sort with the company that developed Shadow. That it happened at all is evidence that the DNC and the candidates are either fools or malicious and either way they need to be replaced if possible and harshly reprimanded if not.

It does not matter if this was somehow all totally honest. The mere fact that you need to explain that it's honest means there was a massive failure.

And hell no we should not just accept that the Democratic Party is made up of buffoons who can't do anything right. What the hell sort of excuse is that? Can you even imagine how that looks to the average lazy voter? "Vote for us, we're not evil, we're just incompetent!" is not a winning slogan.

Anyone who is pretending that appearance of impropriety is an evil conspiracy theory from the evil left needs to reevaluate things. Think about how we'd be guffawing and meme-ing and making insinuations of massive corruption if this had been the Republicans instead of the Democrats. Now do you get why it doesn't matter if there's a conspiracy there or not or even if what happened is totally legal and even "normal" (insofar as total incompetence and an actively malicious sytem can be called normal)? All that matters, the only thing that matters, is that to the average politically uninvolved person this looks like corruption and it gives them an excuse to go for the lazy "meh, they're all corrupt" excuse for not caring about Trump's corruption.

[1] And jesus fuck what committee of out of touch twits came up with a name that sounds like something straight out of a conspiracy theory website? How could anyone approve of that name and claim to have the expertise necessary to be involved in politics?
posted by sotonohito at 9:54 AM on February 4 [67 favorites]


As Warren had the least to do with the issues that caused this hot mess as she neither had support from the app creator that fucked this all up nor from the Unity Reform Commission that championed wildly undemocratic caucuses and the stupid decision to include vote tallies that makes Warren the default winner of last night.

Congrats, Senator Warren.
posted by asteria at 9:57 AM on February 4 [18 favorites]


And hell no we should not just accept that the Democratic Party is made up of buffoons who can't do anything right. What the hell sort of excuse is that?

It is a fact that is ~true in the present. I invite you to work to change it, but you will have a hard time changing things without being honest about the status quo.
posted by PMdixon at 9:58 AM on February 4


No, it's me saying that for the CEO of shadow class interests and money are basically indistinguishable. Your phrasing implied there was some meaningful difference in the actions motivated by the two and I am now explicitly asking you what sequence of events you are suggesting occurred.

Class interests go beyond money, e.g. a CEO of a tech company not particularly caring whether their app for counting votes actually quickly and reliably counts them, because a strong, reliable democratic infrastructure doesn't serve their class interests quite as well as mass disillusion and perception of disenfranchisement does.
posted by One Second Before Awakening at 9:58 AM on February 4 [5 favorites]


Class interests go beyond money, e.g. a CEO of a tech company not particularly caring whether their app for counting votes actually quickly and reliably counts them, because a strong, reliable democratic infrastructure doesn't serve their class interests quite as well as mass disillusion and perception of disenfranchisement does.

Yeah but shoddy work is also cheaper. Also, the perception of disenfranchisement probably starts with the fact that there is indeed massive disenfranchisement, e.g. felons in the states that do that. Agreeing that in general, the capital controlling class is more interested in power than money per se, what extra explanatory power does that provide here?
posted by PMdixon at 10:03 AM on February 4


how can Iowa possibly deny the media their horse race bullshit, we had so many useless white men lined up to divine entrails today
posted by benzenedream at 10:03 AM on February 4 [8 favorites]


A tech CEO's individual interest is to acquire money. A tech CEO's class interest is to ensure that money continues to be the most reliable source of power.
posted by Faint of Butt at 10:03 AM on February 4 [5 favorites]


I fail to see how releasing only a portion of the results won’t at least give the appearance of impropriety. Losing candidates can claim the portion released were purposely selected to benefit the winning candidates. I can already see this starting elsewhere.
posted by eagles123 at 10:04 AM on February 4 [5 favorites]


Yeah I interpret the partial release as a panicky move to try and get people to stop yelling at them that won't work.
posted by PMdixon at 10:05 AM on February 4 [3 favorites]


Nevada Democratic Party is saying they've dropped Shadow/Acronym/etc for their caucus.
posted by Glegrinof the Pig-Man at 10:06 AM on February 4 [38 favorites]


And jesus fuck what committee of out of touch twits came up with a name that sounds like something straight out of a conspiracy theory website? How could anyone approve of that name and claim to have the expertise necessary to be involved in politics?

Seriously. It takes some effort to come up with names that sound worse than "Shadow" and aren't just synonyms for "corrupt."
posted by Spathe Cadet at 10:07 AM on February 4 [8 favorites]


Agree about the partial release being a very bad idea. I'm as impatient for results as anyone, but nope. Releasing half the data is vastly worse than not releasing any of it for another day or three.
posted by sotonohito at 10:09 AM on February 4 [4 favorites]


Was Fraud Guarantee unavailable? Wait, I'm being informed...
posted by chris24 at 10:10 AM on February 4 [7 favorites]


So I was at a caucus where they had some problems (Alexandra Petri, Washington Post)
posted by ZeusHumms at 10:12 AM on February 4 [10 favorites]


We have discussed how eponysterical both the title and the name of the OP are, right?
posted by asteria at 10:17 AM on February 4 [6 favorites]


Wow, ZeusHumms, thanks for that. What a fucking clown show. Iowa: this is not cute. This is not folksy. This is not the heartland speaking. This is not community in action.

Your system is a complete disaster. Stop it.
posted by mediareport at 10:20 AM on February 4 [3 favorites]


So I was at a caucus where they had some problems

I actually thought I knew how bad it was before reading that piece, and I was so breathtakingly wrong.
posted by penduluum at 10:22 AM on February 4 [5 favorites]


Yesterday is was "the Iowa caucus is terrible, it's white people, the results don't represent America."

Today it is "we need these results right now. They are important for momentum."

The food is terrible -- and such small portions.
posted by JackFlash at 10:27 AM on February 4 [16 favorites]


Why aren't people more suspicious of Russian involvement? I'm not saying it is, but as conspiracy theories go, this is a proven conspiracy for the previous election. They could have inserted something into the app, they could have figured a way to make its download or upload difficult or jammed.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 10:31 AM on February 4 [1 favorite]


The new rules being a hot mess were a much bigger problem than the app.
posted by AndrewInDC at 10:33 AM on February 4 [3 favorites]


Why aren't people more suspicious of Russian involvement?

Because it adds literally nothing to do so and no one has presented any evidence of such as opposed to garden variety corporate graft+incompetence?
posted by PMdixon at 10:34 AM on February 4 [6 favorites]


lol this is mind meltingly dumb

As dumb as not getting sarcasm? But yeah, the app was stupid and so was the Unity Reform commission and the decision to keep caucuses. Reality agrees with me.
posted by asteria at 10:34 AM on February 4 [1 favorite]


> From the NYT, a hint that the DNC can indeed take a share of the blame here:

After Iowa, Heads Should Roll
In my fantasy, heads roll immediately. The Iowa Democratic Party chair resigns today. So does the head of the DNC, Tom Perez. Someone genuinely smart and reassuring gets Perez's job -- I'm thinking Stacey Abrams. [...]

Democrats should demonstrate that they know this was a failure and that they're taking the job seriously. And while I realize that resignations will lead to a lot of "Democrats in Disarray" headlines, putting people in charge who care about competence (and who radiate a sense of caring about competence) would do a lot to dispel the impression that Democrats are woolly-headed bumblers who shouldn't be allowed to run a lemonade stand (which is precisely what the president of the United States is saying this morning, and for once I can't blame him, because Democrats have this coming). [...]

I mention Abrams, but there are probably subordinates somewhere in the system who are super-competent and long-suffering and would never be considered for the top position because they spend their time mastering the job rather than grabbing for the brass ring. Who was warning the loudest that this debacle was coming? Hire that person. I bet it's someone you'd never consider for a prestige gig, and I bet she'd do a much better job.
posted by tonycpsu at 10:35 AM on February 4 [20 favorites]


Is there some nice ELI5 version of wtf happened? I log on this morning thinking, "I'll check the results - did Bernie sweep? Are we stuck in a four-way tie? Was there a surprise upset?" and instead it's "OH NOES DISASTER FOR THE DEMOCRATS" which seems to be... results may take more than 12 hours to be certain? Plus a shady tech company something app something superpac money?
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 10:35 AM on February 4 [3 favorites]


The food is terrible -- and such small portions.

The results can be terrible, non-representative, and born from a deeply flawed and outdated process AND STILL very important for momentum for [candidate]. People will still be talking about the results, even if they're the result of a screwed-up method, and that talking is important in the early stages of a campaign. Just as we can decry that optics isn't substance, we can be honest about the importance of optics.

I mean, the food can be bad in quality and a bad value in terms of portion size at the same time, too, for what that's worth.
posted by penduluum at 10:36 AM on February 4 [4 favorites]


Why aren't people more suspicious of Russian involvement?

Pretty sure the Russians didn't force the IDP to ignore staffers reporting problems with the app beforehand or to make galaxy-brain decisions about releasing the results.
posted by Glegrinof the Pig-Man at 10:37 AM on February 4 [5 favorites]


This looks like a fair coin toss awarding Buttigieg delegates
posted by Noisy Pink Bubbles at 10:39 AM on February 4 [15 favorites]


And real talk: Putin could have coded the app by hand and installed it via malware on every single precinct captain's device, and this would still be almost entirely an institutional fuckup.
posted by Glegrinof the Pig-Man at 10:40 AM on February 4 [5 favorites]


Was/am amused at the various media meltdowns yesterday and today when the precious, precious numbers did not appear in a timely fashion.
posted by ZeusHumms at 10:43 AM on February 4 [2 favorites]


This looks like a fair coin toss awarding Buttigieg delegates

Like for example I think we can all agree that flipping coins should be 0% of the process of allocating delegates in a functioning democracy AND YET if you're going to flip coins, you definitely shouldn't do it like this here extremely bullshit coin flip
posted by penduluum at 10:45 AM on February 4 [27 favorites]


As Warren had the least to do with the issues that caused this hot mess as she neither had support from the app creator that fucked this all up nor from the Unity Reform Commission that championed wildly undemocratic caucuses and the stupid decision to include vote tallies that makes Warren the default winner of last night.

To win you typically want to get the most votes
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 10:46 AM on February 4 [12 favorites]


Whatever's going on has to be a much bigger problem then the app, there's no way they would only be able to release partial results a full day later if it were just that the tabulation app had failed. You could just hand courier all the results in on paper and still have had complete results by this morning.

I think what's happened is that the preference cards and additional reporting of the vote totals for first and final alignment are showing results for a bunch of caucus sites that would be impossible unless the caucus didn't follow the rules in conducting the alignments. There's other evidence for this, such as the Alexandra Petri story above. This has probably been going on in caucus states for ever, given how confusing the rules are, and collecting the new data is just making it impossible to sweep under the rug.

If that is the case, there could be months of litigation and politicking before official results are released. There's form for this kind of thing - the '12 Iowa Republican caucuses had three different winners announced over a couple of months.

Hopefully this is the end of the caucus system. I support Bernie, but pushing to keep the caucuses was the wrong call.
posted by strangely stunted trees at 10:54 AM on February 4 [13 favorites]


Nate Cohn of the NYT is suggesting that we may never see all of the results or that the results that are released won’t be free of inconsistencies. It sounds like part of the problem might be figuring out what to do with counts that were corrupted because people left early and/or didn’t understand the rules. Such is not unexpected when trying to reconcile three sets of numbers.
posted by eagles123 at 10:58 AM on February 4 [3 favorites]




I missed this amidst yesterday's chaos, but apparently the infamous cancelled Des Moines Register poll showed Bernie in the lead:

Sanders 22%
Warren 18%
Buttigieg 16%
Biden 13%
posted by Noisy Pink Bubbles at 11:04 AM on February 4 [2 favorites]


Nevada is no longer planning to use the Shadow Inc app. Maybe they could switch to Plague Inc? At least it gives you results by location.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 11:07 AM on February 4 [16 favorites]


Dan Pfeiffer talks about how to fix the broken primary. In short, statewide winner-take-all IRV, using last election's win margin to order the calendar.
posted by Jpfed at 11:10 AM on February 4 [3 favorites]


A number of polls had Sanders in the lead, that's why expectations were high for him. And, counterintuitively, why this delay may be helpful to him. He did well, but Buttigieg would have been the night's big story for overperforming.

Now Sanders can go on to a likely comfortable win in NH, and a win or close 2nd in NV without a possible IA disappointment story dogging him.
posted by Chrysostom at 11:14 AM on February 4 [4 favorites]


The funny thing is that I think the best guess is still that Bernie won this thing, but it's not stopping his supporters from going into conspiracy theory overdrive. It's bizarre.

The biggest conspiracy theory is that this was meant to sabotage his moment in the spotlight. That's pretty much the main thing Iowa is good for, and you have to understand that a big narrative among Sanders people is that certain people in the party wish his campaign didn't exist, and that Sanders people wanted this to be an opportunity to send an unignorable message about his viability. So even if the parsimonious explanation is that the Dems contracted the computer stuff out to somebody's buddy who fucked it up - not really a brand new way for them to fuck it up - it's a little on the nose symbolically.

I have a hard time seeing how you're gonna pin this on Pete, though, since conventional wisdom was that he was counting on Iowa more than anybody. If the actual results are probably Bernie and Pete top two, separated by a hair, and Joe with an underwhelming fourth or third, this outcome is probably less than ideal for both Bernie and Pete and a bullet dodged for Joe?
posted by atoxyl at 11:15 AM on February 4 [2 favorites]


It sounds like part of the problem might be figuring out what to do with counts that were corrupted because people left

Leaving early does not "corrupt the results". If someone supported a viable candidate, then they don't need to stick around for the realignment. Their vote counts.

If someone chose to leave before their vote could be realigned, well that's what a caucus is about -- showing up. It doesn't indicate corruption. It just indicates the weakness of a caucus system that relies on large commitments of personal time. That's not corruption.

It's why candidates like Sanders prefer caucuses. He can get a disproportionate number of his young and intense supporters to show up and dedicate large amounts of time.
posted by JackFlash at 11:15 AM on February 4 [12 favorites]


Ok can someone link me to something that demonstrates that Sanders (or his campaign, I'm not picky) is (1) responsible for caucuses continuing to exist or (2) "prefer[s] caucuses"?

I'm being 100% serious here. I am totally open to this being true, and I keep seeing it repeated here over and over as clearly true, but I would like something to connect the dots.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 11:23 AM on February 4 [8 favorites]


Look at the Unity Reform Commission.

Can someone explain why we're supposed to pretend Sanders won anything?
posted by asteria at 11:26 AM on February 4 [1 favorite]


I wonder if I can get some sweet techbro VC money? Here, let me whip up a DNC-friendly caucusing app:

bidenVotes = getVotes(biden)
buttiVotes = getVotes(butti)
sandeVotes = (getVotes(sande) / 2)
warreVotes = (getVotes(warre) / 2)
klobuVotes = random.randint(0, bidenVotes / 2)

winnerlist = [bidenVotes, buttiVotes, sandeVotes, warreVotes, klobuVotes]

if max.list(winnerlist) = bidenVotes:
reportwinner.biden
elif max.list(winnerlist) = buttiVotes:
reportwinner.butti
else:
reportcountingerror()

(joking)
posted by FakeFreyja at 11:28 AM on February 4 [7 favorites]


Can someone explain why we're supposed to pretend Sanders won anything?

The reason for that is, he came first place in the caucus yesterday.
posted by One Second Before Awakening at 11:29 AM on February 4 [27 favorites]


and you have to understand that a big narrative among Sanders people is that certain people in the party wish his campaign didn't exist
I thought it was pretty non-controversial that a great many people in the Democratic Party leadership were decided Sanders non-fans. I mean, Clinton herself felt the need to made a public statement that no one liked him.

It doesn't really seem conspiratorial to say that some people in the Party want his campaign to just go away.
posted by sotonohito at 11:30 AM on February 4 [20 favorites]


The reason for that is, that he came first place in the caucus yesterday.

According to what? Are you from the future? Because all I see are his internals which sorry, but no way will I believe those. And even the IDP says they don't have the results and likely never will.

See, this is the issue. Here in this thread there's a group of Sanders supporters who seem very certain their dude won and want everyone else to act as if that was the objective truth. But it's not. Moreover, given that youth turnout was low, turnout in general was low, and the ground games Buttigieg and Warren had it's very possible one or both of them overperformed and could have been in first or even a tie.

I thought it was pretty non-controversial that a great many people in the Democratic Party leadership were decided Sanders non-fans. I mean, Clinton herself felt the need to made a public statement that no one liked him.

Yeah, they're called Clinton people. You can tell it's them because they keep leaking shit to the press which if you remember the Clinton years is their m.o. There are Obama people who don't like Warren. A lot of people probably don't like Biden or newer people like Buttigieg.
posted by asteria at 11:36 AM on February 4 [4 favorites]


Look at the Unity Reform Commission.

I have! I read the report. Sanders surrogates were a small percentage of the people there. The report seemed pro-primary, and stated that states should move to primaries. It also was very clear that caucuses needed to become much more accessible, at a minimum, although they should be primaries if possible instead. It also noted that state-run primaries had issues with legitimacy and disenfranchisement (e.g. voter ID laws).
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 11:37 AM on February 4 [8 favorites]


Yeah same where is this evidence where Sanders explicitly says he "prefers caucuses" or "pushed for" caucuses. Someone show me this. He was part of a reform commission that acknowledged the existence of caucuses and the role they play and the commission sought to improve their accessibility and transparency. The commission did not outright abolish caucuses but I can't find any evidence where this was a thing that was discussed or ever on the table to be "pushed back" on, unless I'm not finding something. Also not finding any of the other candidates doing anything to try and reform the democratic nominating process.
posted by windbox at 11:39 AM on February 4 [1 favorite]


See, this is the issue. Here in this thread there's a group of Sanders supporters who seem very certain their dude won and want everyone else to act as if that was the objective truth. But it's not. Moreover, given that youth turnout was low, turnout in general was low, and the ground games Buttigieg and Warren had it's very possible one or both of them overperformed and could have been in first or even a tie.

Everyone has a ground game. Warren is not up there with Buttigieg in the results, that seems fairly clear at this point. This is depressing to me because Pete sucks and Warren is awesome, but I do not see Warren as a serious number one here.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 11:39 AM on February 4 [5 favorites]


According to what? Are you from the future? Because all I see are his internals which sorry, but no way will I believe those. And even the IDP says they don't have the results and likely never will.

Sounds like... a....

conspiracy theory!?!?
posted by One Second Before Awakening at 11:39 AM on February 4 [6 favorites]


Nevada is no longer planning to use the Shadow Inc app. Maybe they could switch to Plague Inc? At least it gives you results by location.

Pestilence 2.0 has a better user interface.
posted by kirkaracha at 11:41 AM on February 4 [2 favorites]


I see this thread is reaching the inevitable "argue about Bernie Sanders" stage....

He most likely won yesterday based on the polling and what we know of the results. And yes, the uncertainty does hurt him in the he won't get a clear media narrative to demonstrate his viability in later primaries/caucuses.

Then again, this hurts Pete too because his strategy was to use wins or strong finishes in Iowa and New Hampshire to build a national campaign in a similar manner to what Obama was able to do.

Warren and Klobbuchar are similarly hurt. At this point, the only candidates competitive nationally were/are Sanders, Bjden, and possibly Bloomberg. Everyone else needed the Iowa bump that even Nate S builds into his model.

Last night kind of hurt everyone.
posted by eagles123 at 11:43 AM on February 4 [4 favorites]


Ok can someone link me to something that demonstrates that Sanders (or his campaign, I'm not picky) is (1) responsible for caucuses continuing to exist or (2) "prefer[s] caucuses"?

I think it's fair enough to say a lot of Sanders supporters liked the idea of the Iowa Caucuses, in the short term, just because they thought it was a good opportunity for the campaign.

Look at the Unity Reform Commission

Most of these seem to be reasonable changes to modernize the caucuses, though? If you're going to frame this as a pro-caucus move, I think it's "by addressing concerns about caucuses, maybe they can be saved?" I have seen people trying to blame this caucus cock-up directly on the changes (which Sanders supported) and that seems as premature as any of the other finger-pointing.
posted by atoxyl at 11:45 AM on February 4 [4 favorites]


Last night kind of hurt everyone.

I mean, except for Biden, who apparently is going to spend all his time throwing a fucking fit about losing and now can point to this instead of his shambolic campaign and utter inviability as a serious candidate
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 11:45 AM on February 4 [16 favorites]


Warren is not up there with Buttigieg in the results, that seems fairly clear at this point.

According to what? The last results the AP/Dkos tracker had are with 2% reporting had it Bernie in 1st, Warren in 2nd, and Buttigieg in 3rd. NYT had similar numbers last night.

conspiracy theory!?!?

That implies forethought and coordination. I have seen nothing to suggest the IDP is capable of either.

Most of these seem to be reasonable changes to modernize the caucuses, though?

Why keep caucuses at all?
posted by asteria at 11:45 AM on February 4 [1 favorite]


I thought Hillary said she didn't like Sanders purposely to boost his numbers, myself.
posted by tiny frying pan at 11:45 AM on February 4 [11 favorites]


The biggest problem for Democrats wasn’t the vote count (Politico)
For more than a year, Democrats have been preparing for high turnout in 2020, powered by an electorate juiced by rage against President Donald Trump. But in their first test of the year, early data suggested Tuesday that turnout was “on pace for 2016,” the Iowa Democratic Party said, far below levels many observers predicted.

In other words: Democrats were counting on Barack Obama-levels of enthusiasm. They got Hillary Clinton numbers, instead. [...] The turnout statistics are not final and were referenced only briefly, tucked into an Iowa Democratic Party statement about the reporting fiasco just as it began swirling out of control. [...]

If that number holds, turnout will run only to about 170,000 people, well below the 240,000 who participated in the caucuses in 2008.

“It’s an enthusiasm gap,” said Michael Ceraso, who worked for Bernie Sanders’ 2016 campaign and was Pete Buttigieg’s New Hampshire director before leaving the campaign last year.
posted by katra at 11:46 AM on February 4 [4 favorites]




Honestly? Fair.
posted by asteria at 11:48 AM on February 4


Trump should be pretty happy too.

Regarding Biden, given his underperformance in Iowa, you have to wonder about the validity of his polling in other places. Not to mention his fundraising problems and Bloomberg literally hiring away his campaign staff from what I heard.
posted by eagles123 at 11:48 AM on February 4 [1 favorite]


According to what? The last results the AP/Dkos tracker had are with 2% reporting had it Bernie in 1st, Warren in 2nd, and Buttigieg in 3rd. NYT had similar numbers last night.

No, the NYT didn't. Before they pulled those numbers, they had Buttigieg with a slight lead over Sanders, and IIRC Warren was fourth but very close to third (I forget who was third, probably the Klob, with Biden fifth).

The notable thing though is that the gap between Pete and Sanders and the third person was pretty big---like 1200ish for the two frontrunners vs. 600.

I don't think these are great reliable numbers, but they didn't say that Warren was close at all.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 11:49 AM on February 4


How on earth does seeking an injunction help him? That seems like a Streisand effect situation: the story becomes that Biden got an injunction, presumably because the results were so terrible for him that he couldn't afford to have anyone see them.

I have yet to talk to anyone in whose precinct Biden was viable.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 11:51 AM on February 4 [10 favorites]


Please please please can people point 1/5 of their Sanders hate at Biden, even if just to be fair about it

He sucks and he is undermining multiple likely nominees because he fucking sucks
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 11:51 AM on February 4 [29 favorites]


Let's please remember that a lot of what's going on in this thread mirrors the Republican playbook:

1) I don't like person or org. X
2) Some imagined or appearance-based malfeasance from X seems like a Thing They Would Do based on my subjective opinion
3) Spread on social media and hope that it sticks
4) refuse to accept rational explanations because They're All Against Us

Imagine there's a trial about the thing. You need to have facts and evidence to prove your case. It's possible to make the accusation first and go find facts later, but that's how we got:

Burisma
Swift Boat
Benghazi
Whitewater
the Clinton impeachment

etc. So I guess I wish we wouldn't do that, especially when we are all trying to get rid of Trump.
posted by freecellwizard at 11:51 AM on February 4 [13 favorites]


If that number holds, turnout will run only to about 170,000 people, well below the 240,000 who participated in the caucuses in 2008.

But there wasn't a 1/3 drop in the Democratic general turnout in 2016 vs 2008, so is it really obvious that there's a generalizable relationship there to make predictions from?
posted by PMdixon at 11:52 AM on February 4


Honestly? Fair.

... and likely false.
posted by multics at 11:52 AM on February 4 [3 favorites]


It doesn't really seem conspiratorial to say that some people in the Party want his campaign to just go away.

I didn't mean to imply it was. I think this is the reality that drives the impulse to be conspiratorial about incidents that could realistically be attributed to incompetence.
posted by atoxyl at 11:52 AM on February 4 [2 favorites]


The aggregated polls showed Sanders in #1 position in Iowa before the caucus. Sanders supporters are making a small leap to claim that he came in first in the caucus before the real results have been released, but only a small one.

Perversely, Sanders' leading position meant that he was unlikely to get much of a bounce from a good showing in Iowa. Everyone expected him to do well already- there isn't anything in what we see so far to say that he exceeded expectations. So the fact that Iowa is a logistical and technical muddle and look there's a State of the Union and an impeachment vote isn't going to hurt him. Rather, this is really bad for Buttigieg and Warren, who both really needed the bounce.

(Edited to remove fake news)

On another note, so far I can only find one article in which a Sanders appointee to the Unity Reform Commission spoke in favor of keeping the Iowa caucuses.
posted by Jpfed at 11:53 AM on February 4 [1 favorite]


... and likely false.

Good lord CNN is a shitshow.

And yeah, Biden is even worse than mayor Pete.
posted by PMdixon at 11:55 AM on February 4 [2 favorites]


Sanders supporters are making a small leap to claim that he came in first in the caucus before the real results have been released, but only a small one.
It's not a small leap, because caucuses don't count raw numbers. They count delegates, which are decided by precinct, with some precincts getting more weight than others. It's really plausible that a lot more people supported Bernie than Buttigieg last night but that Buttigieg still got more delegates. And Warren is definitely going to under-perform on delegates, because of the way that her support is concentrated geographically.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 11:55 AM on February 4 [6 favorites]


On another note, so far I can only find one article in which a Sanders appointee to the Unity Reform Commission spoke in favor of keeping the Iowa caucuses.

Interesting. It seems like there is a concern about primaries in republican-dominated states. Not ruling out simple political self-interest, of course, but I'm really curious about this.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 11:56 AM on February 4


Dan Pfeiffer talks about how to fix the broken primary. In short, statewide winner-take-all IRV, using last election's win margin to order the calendar.

This sounds good, actually. I really like the part where the first primaries are the most contested states from the previous election. If we're going to dump a bunch of money and attention somewhere, we might a well try to get some general election benefit from it. I don't think the nation benefits from politicians -- or journalists --spending 18 months sneaking off to Iowa every 4 year cycle. (Swing states change up more than people realize; it wouldn't just be an endless cycle of Ohio and Florida.)
posted by grandiloquiet at 11:56 AM on February 4 [10 favorites]


I think we can agree this is great news for John McCain.
posted by tobascodagama at 11:57 AM on February 4 [9 favorites]


I'm feeling the Joementum myself.
posted by kirkaracha at 11:58 AM on February 4 [5 favorites]


Jeb!
posted by PMdixon at 11:59 AM on February 4 [13 favorites]


ArbitraryAndCapricious: "It's not a small leap, because caucuses don't count raw numbers. They count delegates, which are decided by precinct, with some precincts getting more weight than others."

While this is literally true, the fact is that the small disparity of delegates here are unlikely to actually matter if we somehow end up in a floor fight at the convention. If Sanders won the first and second alignment of votes, that's a strong argument that he was the most popular, whether or not the delegate arcana worked against him.
posted by Chrysostom at 12:02 PM on February 4 [2 favorites]


The aggregated polls showed Sanders in #1 position in Iowa before the caucus.

Remind me who lead in the polls before the 2016 Iowa Caucus and what happened there? If this had happened then, would Bernie have accepted it as a loss? So why do Buttigieg and Warren need to do that?

And the whole reason there was a Unity Reform Commission was because one candidate couldn't do what Obama did 8 years prior against a stronger HRC.
posted by asteria at 12:03 PM on February 4


Please clap.
posted by tonycpsu at 12:03 PM on February 4 [20 favorites]


No, the NYT didn't. Before they pulled those numbers, they had Buttigieg with a slight lead over Sanders,

The last numbers I saw at 11:50 CST had Bernie with 1800~ votes, Warren with 1600~, and Pete with 1000~. It was with less than 2%. The Dkos/AP numbers which are still up show something similar.

Don't argue with me with what I saw.
posted by asteria at 12:07 PM on February 4


asteria I'd left the tab open on my computer before I went to bed. I checked it when I woke up and saw the same thing before I refreshed the page to find out the results were pulled.
posted by SansPoint at 12:10 PM on February 4 [2 favorites]


Fair enough; when I saw it it was 1200+ Pete in first, 1200 Sanders in second; 680s for third and fourth. But I was looking at about 11CST so they may have changed them since then. My bad.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 12:12 PM on February 4


Also for the record and to be 100% clear, I would be thrilled if it were Sanders/Warren neck and neck. If that's the outcome then woooooooo.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 12:14 PM on February 4 [11 favorites]


I'm still going to vote in the general for whichever Democrat ultimately gets the nod. Christ, but this is a shit show - because of the actual event itself, and the reactions to the event itself, and the reactions to the reactions of the event itself, etc. It's like a giant stone was dropped in the cesspool and the ripples of waste are splashing against the walls forever.
posted by Joey Michaels at 12:14 PM on February 4 [8 favorites]


Iowa primary polls have historically been wrong by 10-15 points. The DMR poll was wrong about the Republicans in 2012 and 2016.

I agree that Bernie probably got the most first round selections, but I wouldn't use the polls as evidence he won.
posted by chris24 at 12:17 PM on February 4 [1 favorite]


I'm of the contrarian opinion this is going to mostly get forgotten by the time November gets here.
posted by Chrysostom at 12:33 PM on February 4 [5 favorites]


I'm of the contrarian opinion this is going to mostly get forgotten by the time November gets here.

I think that is kind of the point.
posted by FakeFreyja at 12:35 PM on February 4


The other thing I think we can all agree on -- other than this being good news for John McCain -- is that the thread title just gets funnier and funnier the longer this goes on.
posted by tobascodagama at 12:43 PM on February 4 [13 favorites]


Usually Alexandra Petri columns are satire, and this one is labeled "opinion" but I can't tell if it is satire or not. Maybe that is it's own indictment, but I wish someone had specified [Real|Fake] when linking to it / talking about it.
posted by RedOrGreen at 12:46 PM on February 4 [6 favorites]


This strikes me as the #1 most self-sabotaging thing the Biden campaign could do:
Per CNN just now, Biden campaign reportedly mulling seeking court injunction to halt this afternoon’s partial release of Iowa results.
posted by Chrysostom at 12:47 PM on February 4


But the OP's name gets more and more suspicious. What does he know?
posted by asteria at 12:48 PM on February 4 [2 favorites]


Let A Thousand Shenanigans Shenanigate!
posted by Harry Caul at 12:48 PM on February 4 [3 favorites]


Usually Alexandra Petri columns are satire, and this one is labeled "opinion" but I can't tell if it is satire or not.

Judging by her Twitter account, it's real.
posted by penduluum at 12:49 PM on February 4 [4 favorites]


This strikes me as the #1 most self-sabotaging thing the Biden campaign could do:

To quote multics...

... and likely false.
posted by Joey Michaels at 12:49 PM on February 4 [1 favorite]


This strikes me as the #1 most self-sabotaging thing the Biden campaign could do:

CNN has already retracted the story.
posted by PMdixon at 12:50 PM on February 4 [1 favorite]


Yes, my apologies.
posted by Chrysostom at 12:52 PM on February 4 [1 favorite]


Jesus that was poor fucking reporting on CNN's part. Like maybe a single phone call to verify before throwing that particular bomb.
posted by FakeFreyja at 12:53 PM on February 4 [3 favorites]


I miss Kamala Harris.
posted by Ben Trismegistus at 12:55 PM on February 4 [9 favorites]


If I were Kamala or anyone else who dropped out because of Iowa, I'd be PISSED.
posted by asteria at 12:56 PM on February 4 [5 favorites]


Who Needs the Russians? Don’t blame shadowy foreign hackers for the chaos in Iowa. Blame Shadow’s caucus app. The Atlantic, Zeynep Tufekci, Feb 4, 2020:
...
If Shadow had opened up the app to experts, they likely would have found many bugs, and the app would have been much stronger as a result. But even that process would not have made the app secure. An app that is downloaded onto the phones of thousands of precinct officials across Iowa—with varying degrees of phone security and different operating systems—cannot be fully protected against Russian or any other hackers. Underground “hacks” for sale allow remote attackers to infiltrate phones, especially ones without the latest system updates, as is the case for many Android phones. Creating a more hardened phone network is possible, but that would require issuing secure phones to every official, and providing training and technical support. There is no indication that any of that was done here.

But why bother hacking the system? Anything developed this rapidly that has not been properly stress-tested—and is being used in the wild by thousands of people at the same time—is likely to crash the first time it is deployed. This has happened before, to Orca, Mitt Romney’s Election Day app, which was supposed to help volunteers get voters to the polls, but instead was overwhelmed by traffic and stopped working, leaving thousands of fuming voters without rides. It happened in 2008 to Barack Obama’s app, dubbed Houdini, which also crashed on Election Day. It happened to HealthCare.gov—the website that was launched to help people find coverage under the Affordable Care Act, but that failed so badly, it took a team of people from Silicon Valley who quickly and voluntarily left their much cushier jobs and worked seven-day weeks for months to fix it.
...
Like Hanlon’s razor, new (and inadequately tested) apps don't have a safety handle. Even a few drops of blood on the sink are a bad sign.
posted by cenoxo at 12:57 PM on February 4 [7 favorites]


I would have loved to hear Tulsi Gabbard's speech last night.

"I am suing the state of Iowa and also Hillary Clinton for some reason. But we can win this! In the meantime, let's show the world our unity by acknowledging Russia's land claims in Ukraine and several other unannounced regions."
posted by FakeFreyja at 12:59 PM on February 4 [14 favorites]


Worth noting is that Bloomberg spent a lot of money to help reelect miserable Trump bootlicker Pat Toomey to the Senate in a race where he beat a good Democratic candidate by only two points. That was in 2016

How about the DNC adopt a rule where no one who has endorsed or donated to any Republican can be a candidate? Or at least keep them out of the debates

We hear a lot about Sanders not being a Democrat, and thats mostly fair. But so far I've seen very little about Bloomberg ratfucking us in Pennsylvania two years ago.
posted by sotonohito at 1:01 PM on February 4 [24 favorites]


WaPo, Conspiracy theories about Iowa only help one campaign: Trump’s
But there is a dark logic to Team Trump’s instant amplification of conspiracy theories surrounding the Iowa caucuses, and it’s one that should give pause to any supporters of the Democratic candidates. Simply put, Trumpworld is pushing the “rigged Democratic primary” narrative with no evidence because conspiracy theories disempower those who believe them. And Trump’s team wants to disempower its opposition and erode their trust in the process so that they don't participate.

This is precisely how conspiracy theories debilitate those who accept them: They offload blame for problems onto shadowy cabals and thus prevent people from rationally overcoming those problems. As one more intellectually honest pundit on the right noted, “I don’t think Iowa sabotaged the caucus to hurt Bernie Sanders. But I really hope a lot of Bernie Sanders supporters think that.”
...
The Vermont progressive’s campaign has staked its success on turning out non-voters to the polls. However, these are precisely the people who are most alienated from the political process, and many of them already do not believe that their vote matters. It’s hard to imagine a more self-defeating strategy than to tell them that they are right, and that no matter what they do, the big bad Democratic establishment will dictate the outcome.
posted by zachlipton at 1:02 PM on February 4 [12 favorites]


If I were Kamala or anyone else who dropped out because of Iowa, I'd be PISSED.

She dropped out because of Iowa? It seems like she dropped out because she didn't have enough money.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 1:04 PM on February 4 [2 favorites]


Or at least keep them out of the debates

Opinions differ on whether that's actually good or bad, viz:
Democrats concerned that presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg is avoiding scrutiny by not participating in televised debates with other candidates are pushing the party to allow the billionaire on stage.

[B]oth Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar and Adam Green, co-founder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, a group allied with Elizabeth Warren, said Tuesday that Bloomberg’s absence means voters don’t get to evaluate how he answers direct questions and responds to challenges from other candidates.

“Imagine a world where he hypothetically buys 30% of the polls and is the front-runner,” Green said. “How would it ever make sense not to have him on the debate stage to get scrutiny and talk to voters?”
- via (ahem) Bloomberg
posted by cjelli at 1:06 PM on February 4 [3 favorites]


She dropped out because of Iowa? It seems like she dropped out because she didn't have enough money.

And because she was polling in the mid single digits...
posted by Justinian at 1:06 PM on February 4 [2 favorites]


And because she was polling in the mid single digits...

So is Buttigieg.

And to the extent that Harris couldn't raise enough money because donors didn't think she would have a strong showing in early primaries....
posted by Gadarene at 1:11 PM on February 4 [1 favorite]


re: harris:
  • the money men weren't every going to converge behind her because she's a woman of color from california
  • the insurgent left wasn't ever going to converge behind her because of the kamala is a cop meme. well also because she's a cop but mostly it's the meme that did her in.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 1:13 PM on February 4 [4 favorites]


And because she was polling in the mid single digits...

So is Buttigieg.


Lord, give me the confidence of a mediocre white guy.
posted by Etrigan at 1:14 PM on February 4 [31 favorites]




the money men weren't every going to converge behind her because she's a woman of color from california

And the fact that this was the perception of Democratic donors, in 2020, makes me want to weep.

Fuck the rich.
posted by Gadarene at 1:22 PM on February 4 [3 favorites]


I sure didn't expect my state to continue to be in the news on February 4.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 1:23 PM on February 4 [2 favorites]


Have you ever been to a caucus? I've caucused in Maine a bunch of times. 1st round count would result in X delegates. People talk, representatives of candidates give very short talks, people get to re-shuffle. I have re-shuffled my choice to make the delegate tally work better, cause sometimes your candidate is already going to get N delegates, and you can help Candidate B get another delegate.

That Precinct
111 Sanders/ 68 Warren/47 Buttigieg (226) split in the first alignment
It looks like there are some misc other votes in round 1, and they made new choices, because there are 45 more votes in round 2.
116 Sanders/ 82 Warren /73 Buttigieg (271) in the 2nd alignment
42.8% (2.57 delegates) Sanders/ 30.3%(1.82 delegates) Warren /26.9% (1.62 delegates) Buttigieg
Very much the way electoral college voting generates weird tallies, the math here gives a surprising but accurate result.

I liked caucusing; it's good to meet neighbors talk about candidates, decide who wants to go to the convention. In Maine, the convention delegations should be 50:50 women/men. People want to go to the convention but bail, if you want to be a delegate, you almost certainly can be. 4 years ago, the caucus in Portland was just too huge to function, which is great because participation, but not actually good. The Dems decided, at the convention I think, that it was time to move to a primary. Maine now has Ranked Choice Voting, which is nifty so far.
posted by theora55 at 1:23 PM on February 4 [1 favorite]


Jesus that was poor fucking reporting on CNN's part.

So uncharacteristic! They are so widely-regarded for their scrupulously accurate coverage of breaking news!
posted by nickmark at 1:29 PM on February 4 [8 favorites]


Bernie Sanders’s 2020 campaign has released its own Iowa caucus results, which show the Vermont senator with “a comfortable lead” with 60% of the vote in.

The campaign said their results reflect data sent to it by “precinct captains around the state.”

The Sanders campaign results, which, again, they say reflect 60% of the votes, show:

First round
Sanders 29.08%
Buttigieg 21.63%
Warren 19.51%
Klobuchar 12.27%
Biden 12.04%

After realignment
Sanders 29.4%
Buttigieg 24.87%
Warren 20.65%
Biden 12.92%
Klobuchar 11.18%
https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/live/2020/feb/04/democratic-race-iowa-caucus-shambles-as-results-are-delayed-live-coverage
I'll be surprised if the official numbers, when released, differ significantly from the numbers released by Senator Sanders.
posted by Ahmad Khani at 1:33 PM on February 4 [2 favorites]


Why aren't people more suspicious of Russian involvement?

I am not suspicious of Russian involvement, for the simple reason that (as we have noted) this total fuckup is very easily and convincingly explained without conspiracy theories. However, to the extent that this total fuckup also serves to sow disunity and distrust of electoral outcomes among Americans in general (that is to say: to a great extent), I am also quite sure that Mr. Putin is enjoying his popcorn at the moment.
posted by nickmark at 1:34 PM on February 4 [12 favorites]


I'll be surprised if the official numbers, when released, differ significantly from the numbers released by Senator Sanders.

Although, we might expect Sanders to do worst where he doesn't have numbers. Perhaps he had no staff at a location (because they expected to do poorly there) and/or was not first-round viable.
posted by Chrysostom at 1:38 PM on February 4 [11 favorites]


Right, releasing 60% of the results showing you with a lead is meaningless without knowing from where those results are obtained. Those results may well be accurate for those locations but still misrepresent the state as a whole.

I bet even JEB! could have shown himself overperforming by picking his best 60% of locations. Overperforming to maybe 4th place!
posted by Justinian at 1:54 PM on February 4 [3 favorites]


Everyone blaming Russia, Buttigieg, or whoever... never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity.
posted by SansPoint at 1:59 PM on February 4 [7 favorites]


I think the Sanders campaign did the sensible thing and centrally tracked a fairly representative cross-section of the caucuses while, at the same time, asking their people everywhere to keep track of the results to the best of their ability.

I guess the results could be meaningless but tbh that seems like wishful thinking.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 2:04 PM on February 4


@samstein:
62% reporting, per CNN
Pete 26.9
Sanders 25.1
Warren 18.3
Biden 15.6
And I'll append from other sources:
KLOBUCHAR 12.6
YANG 1.1%

Those are apparently based on state delegate equivalents, not the other measures that are supposed to be released. And there's no reason to think the 62% are necessarily representative.

@mattdpearce: the other 38% of precincts are currently running away in the arms of the Hamburglar
posted by zachlipton at 2:05 PM on February 4 [2 favorites]


Overheard: “If they want to make this fun, Iowa Dems should release the caucus results about 15 minutes into the State of the Union.” @GeorgeTakei

genius
posted by theora55 at 2:06 PM on February 4 [15 favorites]


@samstein:
POPULAR VOTE with 62%
Sanders 28,220
Pete 27,030
Warren 22,254
Biden 14,176
NYT is waiting for precinct-level data to feed it into the needle model.
posted by zachlipton at 2:08 PM on February 4 [1 favorite]


Anyway I’m being forced to watch TV news and it has delegate numbers as above, and on final vote totals it has Sanders a bit ahead of Pete but really neck and neck, then Warren, then Biden, then The Klob dangerously/excitingly close to Biden
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 2:08 PM on February 4 [1 favorite]


I never noticed how few likes Mayor Pete gets on his posts. He pretended to win the Iowa caucus last night and only got 15k, which might sound like a lot but some random teenager is gonna post “mustard low key the best condiment in the game rn” and break 500,000

- @maplecocaine, 44.8k likes thus far.
posted by kafziel at 2:08 PM on February 4 [6 favorites]


I'm not sure they are "meaningless" but yes, I agree Chrysostom, is certainly a function on the number of captains reporting and how many stations they represent.
posted by Ahmad Khani at 2:09 PM on February 4


WaPo has Results
Candidate Pct. Votes
Sanders 26.3 % 28,220
Buttigieg 25.1 27,030
Warren 20.7 22,254
Biden 13.2 14,176
Klobuchar 12.4 13,357
Total votes from 62% of precincts 107,496
posted by theora55 at 2:09 PM on February 4 [2 favorites]


Guardian: These results represent 62% of precincts.
Here’s a breakdown:

Pete Buttigieg: 26.9%

Bernie Sanders: 25.1%

Elizabeth Warren: 18.3%

Joe Biden: 15.6%

The results could change after the remaining 38% of results are announced.
posted by katra at 2:11 PM on February 4


My hunch is that Bernie's 60% is unrepresentative in the sense that it's precincts with enough Bernie support to merit having a precinct captain, and the party's 60% is unrepresentative in that it's precincts that are small enough that there are unlikely to be discrepancies between cards handed out and cards collected. And those probably work in opposite directions.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 2:12 PM on February 4 [2 favorites]


Well this is normal.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 2:12 PM on February 4 [2 favorites]


Happy sixty-twosday everyone
posted by theodolite at 2:13 PM on February 4 [8 favorites]


Unless the remaining 38% precincts have some huge surprise in store, I'm pleased to have been so wrong about Biden, although unfortunately his performance wasn't bad enough that he won't hold on until at least Super Tuesday. That's fine by me from a "split the centrist vote" angle, but not fine from a "fuck Joe Biden" angle.
posted by tobascodagama at 2:13 PM on February 4 [5 favorites]


2020 is off to a slow start.
posted by Yowser at 2:13 PM on February 4


I tease a little about the Klob but also the real story, I think, is how close she is to Biden. The results that cut off at Biden miss how she’s right there, a moderate who isn’t Biden or Pete! 😍
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 2:14 PM on February 4 [4 favorites]


Considering how the decision-making has been at every single point on this saga, I'm half expecting they'll dole out the remaining 38% by releasing the results of one precinct per day and really draw this out as long as possible.
posted by Copronymus at 2:15 PM on February 4 [4 favorites]


From the chatter last night, it sounded like there was a possibility Sanders might win the popular vote but Buttigeig might win or at least tie on delegates. It looks like this is being born out. Extremely poor showing by Biden with way.
posted by eagles123 at 2:17 PM on February 4 [1 favorite]


Like many here, I am pulling for either Sanders or Warren to be the nominee.

And I am thrilled at Biden's poor performance at the caucus thus far.
posted by Ahmad Khani at 2:19 PM on February 4 [14 favorites]


That's fine by me from a "split the centrist vote" angle, but not fine from a "fuck Joe Biden" angle.

The struggle to make a better world is a marathon, not a sprint. It requires a dedicated citizenry to be working hard in pursuit of a common beautiful goal. What I'm saying is that bit by bit, we can all help make this country more Fuck Joe Biden.
posted by Greg Nog at 2:22 PM on February 4 [26 favorites]


So, the Guardian and WaPo both claim to have results from 62% of precincts but have Sanders/Buttigieg's positions and percentages almost exactly reversed. Or am I insane?
posted by freecellwizard at 2:26 PM on February 4 [2 favorites]


Ok, so how does WaPo and Guardian have Sanders and Buttigieg almost exactly swapped?
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 2:27 PM on February 4


The only reasonable take is that Sanders and Buttigieg tied, which is a bit of an overperformance from Pete but unless he picks up some actual support from non-white people won't matter in the long run, that Warren ran a quite strong third, and that Biden limped in barely over the humiliation limit.

But lots of people looking for some grievances as usual.

The most aggrieved party, fwiw, deserves to be Buttigieg rather than Sanders/Warren/Biden.
posted by Justinian at 2:27 PM on February 4 [1 favorite]


Jinx NSAID!
posted by freecellwizard at 2:27 PM on February 4


Like Buttigieg's path such as it is required a strong post-IA bounce to get him support in places like SC. And this is taking away from that. Sanders is gonna crush it in NH so he needs it less. So if anything, the democrats are rigging it against Pete Buttigieg.
posted by Justinian at 2:28 PM on February 4 [3 favorites]


One set of numbers is the state delegates percentage and the other is the popular vote.

It seems to me that these IDP results square with the ones the Sanders campaign was releasing. As the precincts come in Bernie's lead will grow slowly in the votes, but because of the weighting we will see Pete stay slightly ahead or even in delegates. This is the result of all those precincts where you are rounding delegates up and down.
posted by Regal Ox Inigo at 2:29 PM on February 4 [4 favorites]


then The Klob dangerously/excitingly close to Biden

Not "The Klob," The Klob.
posted by kirkaracha at 2:30 PM on February 4 [2 favorites]


It's pronounced "Klob".
posted by FakeFreyja at 2:31 PM on February 4


Klobmentum. Klobucharmentum? Klobu... oh bother.
posted by Justinian at 2:32 PM on February 4


Dan Pfeiffer talks about how to fix the broken primary.

I'm not sure winner-take-all is the best option, but statewide rather than district allocation of delegates might be. A sliding percent-based cutoff combined with ranked voting would allow for more than one candidate to get delegates without endless back-and-forth clutter.

(Sliding percent: First round, anyone who didn't make 15% is dropped; those votes get allocated to people's 2nd choice. Next round: anyone who didn't make 20% is cut; allocate those to 3rd choices. Next is 25%, and that's where you stop, except you keep going through fourth-fifth-whatever as you reallocate from the candidates who've already been excluded. You could theoretically wind up with three almost equal candidates, but most likely, you'll have two if it's hotly contested and one if it's not.)

(Spitballing here; this isn't carefully thought-out theory. We know what we have is broken; how-to-fix is going to need some brainstorming, because if we had any "X would fix the problems!" answers, we'd be using them.)
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 2:33 PM on February 4 [2 favorites]


Guardian: "Although Pete Buttigieg leads the caucus results, Bernie Sanders is leading the popular vote count, at 28,220 over Buttigieg’s 27,030.
Elizabeth Warren collected 22,254 votes and Joe Biden has 14,176, with 62% of precincts reporting.

The popular vote represents the raw data not converted into state delegate equivalents."
and the previous post was updated:
Pete Buttigieg: 26.9% of the state delegates

Bernie Sanders: 25.1%

Elizabeth Warren: 18.3%

Joe Biden: 15.6%

Amy Klobuchar: 12.6%
posted by katra at 2:34 PM on February 4 [1 favorite]


So let's see, after some rounding... carry the one... Alright that's 17 delegates to Buttigieg, 8 to Biden, and also several other candidates may receive various levels of support.
posted by FakeFreyja at 2:35 PM on February 4 [3 favorites]


There are 3 sets of values, depending on if you report initial alignment, post-viability alignment, or delegate equivalents.
NAME  FIRST FINAL S.D.E.
Buttigieg 21%	25%	27%
Sanders	24	26	25
Warren	19	21	18
Biden	15	13	16
Klobuchar 13	12	13
Yang	5	1	1
posted by Huffy Puffy at 2:36 PM on February 4 [3 favorites]


Klobmentum. Klobucharmentum? Klobu... oh bother.

Klobucharformance. Klobucharspicacity. Klobucharrent times voltage equals POWER
posted by Jpfed at 2:36 PM on February 4 [5 favorites]


In 2016 Hillary beat Bernie 49.8-49.6% in SDE’s, which is all they reported; it’s quite likely Bernie would’ve won the popular vote.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 2:38 PM on February 4


For what it's worth, my co-worker and I just looked at what percentage of every county is recorded in the IDP results, and it looks like there are more missing precincts in rural counties.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 2:40 PM on February 4


If this is how fast we're going to eat our own, I can't see any chance we're going to beat Trump in the general.
posted by No One Ever Does at 2:40 PM on February 4 [9 favorites]


In 2016 Hillary beat Bernie 49.8-49.6% in SDE’s, which is all they reported; it’s quite likely Bernie would’ve won the popular vote.

Oh irony of ironies.
posted by FakeFreyja at 2:40 PM on February 4 [3 favorites]


it’s quite likely Bernie would’ve won the popular vote

Right, reporting the popular vote helps Sanders. They didn't have to do that. This is the first time they will. If they'd stuck to simply reporting SDEs, Buttigieg would appear the winner.

He is the one being most negatively affected by the mishaps, screwups, and rule changes... not Bernie Sanders.
posted by Justinian at 2:40 PM on February 4 [3 favorites]


Democracy is messy.
posted by Ahmad Khani at 2:41 PM on February 4


Klobberin' time!
posted by kirkaracha at 2:42 PM on February 4 [5 favorites]


That turnout issue really is worrying. I hope it's some weird quirk of the makeup of Iowa caucus-goers, because it does seem like a big part of the Dem strategy this election, especially for the candidates on the left, is the appearance of a liberal/progressive tidal wave of voters. It does not bode well.
posted by the legendary esquilax at 2:43 PM on February 4 [4 favorites]


Can someone post the JD Power and Associates numbers? Thanks. I hear Sanders won for best towing in a mid-size truck. Exciting times.
posted by Don.Kinsayder at 2:44 PM on February 4 [18 favorites]


If this is how fast we're going to eat our own, I can't see any chance we're going to beat Trump in the general.

Buttigieg is not our own.
posted by Gadarene at 2:45 PM on February 4 [40 favorites]


@ericgeller: “Everyone's talking about the app issues, but the phone line failure is important too. This was supposed to be the safe fallback option for anyone struggling with or uninterested in the app. Instead it seems to have tanked.“
posted by lazugod at 2:46 PM on February 4 [3 favorites]


Buttigieg is not our own.

Thanks for the example, I guess.
posted by No One Ever Does at 2:47 PM on February 4 [17 favorites]


This is a bit reading between the lines regarding Bernie and caucuses, but in 2016 he spent a lot more effort criticizing closed primaries than criticizing caucuses (see this Vox article for instance).
posted by chernoffhoeffding at 2:47 PM on February 4


Can someone post the JD Power and Associates numbers? Thanks. I hear Sanders won for best towing in a mid-size truck. Exciting times.

You're gonna want to wait till Truck Month is over to get a more representative estimate.
posted by FakeFreyja at 2:48 PM on February 4 [8 favorites]


For what it's worth, my co-worker and I just looked at what percentage of every county is recorded in the IDP results, and it looks like there are more missing precincts in rural counties.

You can't call an election with only 62% of precincts reporting, so no one should be surprised if things change. Or even if they don't! However 62% is not a representative sample.
posted by oneirodynia at 2:48 PM on February 4 [2 favorites]


From Greg Nog’s link to Inside Acronym’s disastrous foray... article:
...
Launched ahead of the 2018 midterms, Acronym was described initially as a “digital-first startup” (in the words of Axios), co-founded by McGowan and Michael Dubin, the founder of the men’s grooming company Dollar Shave Club whom you might recognize from their ads. McGowan, who previously worked as the digital director of the Obama and Clinton-affiliated Super PAC Priorities USA Action, was able to bring in money for Acronym’s affiliated political action committee Pacronym from a variety of well-known wealthy Democratic funders, including the billionaires George Soros and Marsha Laufer.
...
Let slip the Devil’s name and the Republicans cry CONSPIRACY! It will encourage their hand-wavium dismissal of anything Acronym does and anyone who uses them.
posted by cenoxo at 2:50 PM on February 4


This is a bit reading between the lines regarding Bernie and caucuses, but in 2016 he spent a lot more effort criticizing closed primaries than criticizing caucuses

Yes. Closed primaries reward party ties. Caucuses reward enthusiasm and organization.

Though as Sanders is finding out that's a double edged sword since enthusiasm isn't exactly the same as organization, and the Sanders team apparently emphasized the former while Mayo Pete the latter.
posted by Justinian at 2:50 PM on February 4


However 62% is not a representative sample.

Not necessarily a representative sample. They haven't actually said how this set of results came about or whether its representative, AFIAK.
posted by Justinian at 2:51 PM on February 4 [2 favorites]


Nate Cohn at the NYT doesn't seem to think the outstanding counties favor either candidate except possibly Polk for Sanders.
posted by eagles123 at 2:53 PM on February 4


Sanders team apparently emphasized the former while Mayo Pete the latter.

Based on...? It seems likely that people just like Pete
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 2:54 PM on February 4 [1 favorite]


the phone line failure is important too. This was supposed to be the safe fallback option for anyone struggling with or uninterested in the app. Instead it seems to have tanked

I wonder if it was one of those things where they thought they had (say) three phone lines as backups but really just had the same line rented three times through umpty-ump layers of resellers and different companies and leasing arrangements and TotallyNotShady, LLC.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 2:55 PM on February 4 [1 favorite]


Based on...? It seems likely that people just like Pete

Buttigieg's field organization in Iowa was very strong.

538 takes a look.

Note that Buttigieg has the most field offices of any candidate with 33, while Sanders limps in with 21. Sanders was relying on enthusiasm, Pete went with organization.
posted by Justinian at 2:56 PM on February 4 [1 favorite]


You do need at least some of both, though, since Biden had 28 offices and barely scraped by in 4th.
posted by Justinian at 2:57 PM on February 4 [1 favorite]


It seems the basic motive for Mayor Pete's supporters is his apparent electability, which is further based only on the fact that he's a handsome and snarky Jim Parsons lookalike who would cast favorably against the aging reality show star on a TV stage.
posted by Burhanistan at 3:01 PM on February 4 [6 favorites]


I just have a hard time taking seriously a dude who polls 2% among black voters in a democratic primary. Probably a failure of imagination on my part.
posted by Justinian at 3:02 PM on February 4 [26 favorites]


The Nevada Democratic Party says it's getting a new app. It might be tricky getting something secure, stable, and effective in just a few weeks, but I think we can all agree that any solution to the problem is going to be great as long as it's still centered on apps.
posted by Copronymus at 3:02 PM on February 4 [27 favorites]


Buttigieg is not our own.
Thanks for the example, I guess.


New strides in equality! Now we can get CIA-backed regime change, right here at home!
posted by CrystalDave at 3:06 PM on February 4 [11 favorites]


Pete has a good grasp of "political speak" and is a strong debater. He got the best of Warren in several exchanges. I could see a certain kind of person finding him appealing.

Unfortunately for him, he also is absolutely loathed by large swaths of millennial Democrats. And I mean loathed in a visceral way even Hillary Clinton wasn't.

He'd get crushed by Trump in the general, and I will be interested to see whether Pete's Iowa performance moves the needle for him outside Iowa and New Hampshire.
posted by eagles123 at 3:07 PM on February 4 [5 favorites]


The Nevada Democratic Party says it's getting a new app.

Let's solve the problem by doing the problem again but this time with added haste and chaos
posted by Rust Moranis at 3:08 PM on February 4 [21 favorites]


Can't wait to see how well Caucusr, the new app from SmokeFilledRoom, inc. performs
posted by MysticMCJ at 3:10 PM on February 4 [11 favorites]


I just have a hard time taking seriously a dude who polls 2% among black voters in a democratic primary. Probably a failure of imagination on my part.

Which is exactly why Biden is still viable regardless of how he does in Iowa and New Hampshire. As of January 30, Biden was favored by 36% of black voters. Sanders is a distant second at 13%, and no other candidate is in double digits.

Sanders is improving with people of color (and leading among Hispanic voters, 30% to Biden's 22%), but Biden's dominance among black voters is going to make him hard to beat.

Now that my top three choices are out of the race, I'm not sure I even care anymore, but there we are.
posted by Ben Trismegistus at 3:13 PM on February 4


Really glad I just quit my job to launch a caucus-app startup. Wish me luck, everyone!
posted by tobascodagama at 3:14 PM on February 4 [18 favorites]


This was never going to be easy yall. Deep breaths. It’s only going to get worse.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 3:14 PM on February 4 [3 favorites]


Was Turnout a Problem in Iowa?
One thing I noticed in all the caucus coverage last night was that universally people were saying they were happy to support any of the candidates in November.

We’ve all seen that Democrats consistently and overwhelmingly say their first priority is a candidate who can beat President Trump. Certainly Sanders especially but also Warren have very enthusiastic supporters. But my sense at least is that Democrats are mainly champing at the bit to get a chance at voting out President Trump. You see this in poll after poll – not just the toplines but the internal measures of Democratic enthusiasm and focus.

I feel confident about this because I expected there to be normal turnout for just this reason. It didn’t make sense to me that commentators expected 2008 type results rather than 2016 type results. For most Democrats the first, second and probably third priority is ending President Trump’s presidency. By that measure, this level of turnout strikes me as unsurprising and not worrisome.
posted by kirkaracha at 3:15 PM on February 4 [9 favorites]


Really glad I just quit my job to launch a caucus-app startup. Wish me luck, everyone!

This is your moment!
posted by atoxyl at 3:15 PM on February 4 [1 favorite]


Eagles123 - is there good polling data to support this? I’m not doubting you - just wondering if you can link to it. I’m a millennial democrat with a lot of millennial democrat friends and in my world, everyone seems to be pretty open-minded about the top four or five candidates, including Pete.
posted by Fritzle at 3:15 PM on February 4 [2 favorites]


Q: What did the Pink Panther say when he heard the news about the Iowa caucuses?
A: bad app
     bad app
     bad app, bad app, bad app, bad app, bad aaapppp!

posted by Atom Eyes at 3:23 PM on February 4 [14 favorites]


“We Needed Weird Things to Happen—And They Keep Happening”: Inside Bloomberg’s Strategy After the Iowa Meltdown
Catastrophic Democratic chaos benefits the billionaire former mayor, whose gargantuan campaign and vast spending is already remaking the race. The question for next month is: Can he win actual votes?
Ceterum autem censeo Trump delenda est
posted by kirkaracha at 3:24 PM on February 4 [1 favorite]


I'm posting from a tablet, so I apologize for not being able to link, but in Iowa and New Hampshire he tends to do better only than Biden among the "big 4" Democratic candidates ( Sanders, Warren, Biden, Butteguig), and then only by just a little bit.

Outside Iowa and New Hampshire his support is so low that it's almost unfair because his overall support is dwarfed by other candidates. Still, he trails even Andrew Yang among 18-29 based on the latest California poll on 538 for example.

Sorry again I can't post links. You can just go to 538 though and click on the crosstabs to see though.
posted by eagles123 at 3:30 PM on February 4 [2 favorites]




At some point you have to admit the Democratic establishment is more about being a work program for a certain kind of mediocre and connected person than it is about winning political campaigns
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 3:46 PM on February 4 [42 favorites]


The fact that Iowa decided not only to invent the incredibly awful and ill thought out caucus system, but then to compound the foolishness by recreating the Electoral College with all its antidemocratic potential for making everyone feel cheated is all the evidence anyone needs to conclude that the leaders of Iowa at the time were making extensive use of potent recreational pharmaceuticals when they invented that clusterfuck.

That it continues today is strong evidence that corn is a mental hazard.
posted by sotonohito at 3:49 PM on February 4 [5 favorites]


Someone please correct me if I'm wrong: this whole debacle isn't the DNC's doing, right? Isn't it the Iowa Democratic Party's fault? I could have sworn I read that up there (waves hand vaguely in the direction of up-thread) but SO MANY people on social media are saying it's all the DNC's fault that I'm doubting myself now and I just NEED HELP.
posted by cooker girl at 3:50 PM on February 4 [4 favorites]


At some point you have to admit the Democratic establishment is more about being a work program for a certain kind of mediocre and connected person than it is about winning political campaigns

Yes, and this is probably the main reason they hate Sanders so much; he's not interested in hiring from their tiny, incestuous pool of idiotic consultants.
posted by One Second Before Awakening at 3:52 PM on February 4 [16 favorites]


> Someone please correct me if I'm wrong: this whole debacle isn't the DNC's doing, right?
> From the NYT, a hint that the DNC can indeed take a share of the blame here:

The party decided to use the app only after another proposal for reporting votes — which entailed having caucus participants call in their votes over the phone — was abandoned, on the advice of Democratic National Committee officials, according to David Jefferson, a board member of Verified Voting, a nonpartisan election integrity organization.

posted by tonycpsu at 3:52 PM on February 4 [4 favorites]


At some point you have to admit the Democratic establishment is more about being a work program for a certain kind of mediocre and connected person than it is about winning political campaigns

Well yes and no. The party is moving left, but the confounding factor is we have 25 years of figures in line who believe it is "their turn". And they are all terrible.
posted by FakeFreyja at 3:54 PM on February 4 [14 favorites]


And, more generally speaking, it's hard to believe that a state Democratic party would be able to operate completely free of input from and accountability to the DNC. The DNC *is* the party.
posted by tonycpsu at 3:54 PM on February 4


Iowa didn’t invent caucusing; they just kept it after its accidental state-specific benefits became apparent.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 3:55 PM on February 4 [2 favorites]


From the NYT, a hint that the DNC can indeed take a share of the blame here:

Okay, okay...but a share of the blame isn't the whole blame, right? It was the IDP that decided to use the app in the first place? I'm sorry if I seem dense but honestly, the flak from social media is really feeling like gaslighting! I thought I had a handle on what happened but now I'm just so super confused! So I'm trying to talk it out in my head, and I really appreciate the feedback.
posted by cooker girl at 3:58 PM on February 4 [1 favorite]


That turnout issue really is worrying.

I wonder if a lot of voters are just waiting to vote against Trump. Not that they think all the Dem candidates are the same or even like them all, but that they decided they’ll vote for whoever the D nominee is and are tuning out of the primary.
posted by sallybrown at 4:03 PM on February 4 [7 favorites]


WaPo: Total votes from 62% of precincts 134,725
Candidate Pct. SDEs Del.

Pete Buttigieg 26.9 % 36,264 —
Bernie Sanders 25.1 33,788 —
Elizabeth Warren 18.3 24,618 —
Joe Biden 15.6 21,034 —
Amy Klobuchar 12.6 16,969 —
Andrew Yang 1.1 1,427 —
Tom Steyer 0.3 376 —
Michael Bloomberg 0.0 13 —
Tulsi Gabbard 0.0 0 —
Michael Bennet 0.0 0 —
Deval Patrick 0.0 0 —
Other 0.0 28 —
Uncommitted 0.2 208 —
posted by katra at 4:07 PM on February 4


it's hard to believe that a state Democratic party would be able to operate completely free of input from and accountability to the DNC. The DNC *is* the party.

I work as a County Chair in my state's Democratic Party. Fortunately, we're having a primary this year and not a caucus. We're doing ranked-choice voting, which will probably cause a little chaos with our older voters but it shouldn't be bad. We got to choose this path on our own. Both the changing from caucus to primary, and the style of voting, were entirely local choices.

Most of the rules I have to deal with on a regular basis were set by the state level party apparatus. The only time I ever see DNC rules come into play is when our state activities directly influence the national party. For example: the rules about sending delegates to the convention.

I'm sure I'm missing something because I'm just a county chair and not privy to the conversations & arguments that happen in the main office. But, from my point of view, we have considerable autonomy.
posted by Teegeeack AV Club Secretary at 4:14 PM on February 4 [19 favorites]


> Okay, okay...but a share of the blame isn't the whole blame, right?

Failure's an orphan, so I don't think we'll get reliable answer to this question in the near future as various groups try to pin the blame on others. But as important as this election is, and as important as Iowa regrettably is in that election, the DNC should have been proactive in ensuring that things went smoothly. That they didn't is an indictment of their leadership, regardless of who else may share the blame once the after action report is filed.
posted by tonycpsu at 4:15 PM on February 4 [3 favorites]


I wonder if a lot of voters are just waiting to vote against Trump. Not that they think all the Dem candidates are the same or even like them all, but that they decided they’ll vote for whoever the D nominee is and are tuning out of the primary.

Tbh this is me. I know who I support, I’ve given what I can for where my life is right now, and now it’s basically a mental health necessity to check the fuck out. Some people are more responsible for the necessity of that than others, but in the end result is the same.

I cannot fucking imagine caucusing in this environment. Just...no.
posted by schadenfrau at 4:19 PM on February 4 [20 favorites]


the DNC should have been proactive in ensuring that things went smoothly.

That's a lot easier to say than to see done, though? How do they ensure things go smoothly in a process for which they are only tangentially involved?

If you want to argue the DNC should more directly centralize control of the primary process I might even agree with you but I think we can both agree had they done that before 2020 it would have set off a firestorm of opposition by both state parties and the... uh, less DNC friendly... candidate(s).
posted by Justinian at 4:28 PM on February 4 [6 favorites]


I cannot fucking imagine caucusing in this environment. Just...no.

I caucused in Maine in 2016 (we now have a primary) and my enduring memory of it is a) standing in line FOREVER because of the abnormally high turnout, and b) being relentlessly heckled by the Bernie supporters nearby for supporting Hilary.

So yeah, I'm pretty darn involved but would not do that again voluntarily unless I felt I HAD to.
posted by anastasiav at 4:31 PM on February 4 [8 favorites]


Things become a lot clearer when you accept that incompetence is the default state of the human condition.
posted by Marticus at 4:37 PM on February 4 [2 favorites]


Things become a lot clearer when you accept that incompetence is the default state of the human condition.

Numerous human nations have functional electoral systems.
posted by Rust Moranis at 4:39 PM on February 4 [26 favorites]


More on the Shadow debacle from the Verge. Apparently the app was distributed, at least on Android, using the free tier of a testing platform that is limited to 200 users and deletes app data after 30 days.
posted by strangely stunted trees at 4:40 PM on February 4 [14 favorites]


The Iowa Democratic Party decided to hire Shadow to make this vote reporting app, then rolled it out without adequately testing it or making sure their precinct chairs knew how to use it. They own this. None of these were the Democratic National Committee's decisions.
posted by nangar at 4:44 PM on February 4 [9 favorites]


The narrative involving the Unity Reform Commission that claims Bernie's push for rules changes after the 2016 debacle is the primary reason we saw such confusion in this year's caucus makes no sense.

Here's the makeup of the 21-person Unity Reform Commission, announced in April 2017, seven months before its final report:

9 members chosen by Hillary Clinton
3 members chosen by Tom Perez
7 members chosen by Bernie Sanders
The chairperson, chosen by Hillary Clinton
The vice-chairperson, chosen by Bernie Sanders

I'm happy to be told there's more to the story that I've missed - a late coup on the commission or whatever - but I find it difficult to believe that a minority of Sanders folks in the group charged with creating new rules was able to steamroll a larger group of Perez and Clinton appointees and get their way in such a manner that blame for the last night's confusion falls solely on the Sanders camp. Barring more info about what went down on the commission, I see quotes like "What is happening tonight is exactly what Bernie Sanders asked for" (in a CBS tweet, among many other places) and wonder, "How? How did he ram through changes Perez and Clinton appointees didn't want on a committee on which his appointees were a clear minority?"

asteria, is there anything you can add here?

(Btw, "debacle" in the first sentence is not my word; it's from the Des Moines Register right after it happened. Here's their angry editorial from February 3, 2016)
posted by mediareport at 4:54 PM on February 4 [5 favorites]


> If you want to argue the DNC should more directly centralize control of the primary process I might even agree with you but I think we can both agree had they done that before 2020 it would have set off a firestorm of opposition by both state parties and the... uh, less DNC friendly... candidate(s).

Leadership means not being scared that an independent flying a Democratic flag of convenience and his supporters might freak out if you do things to protect the interests of your party. The status quo certainly isn't working out for any of the candidates right now, suggesting this stuff isn't zero-sum, and everyone involved can lose.
posted by tonycpsu at 4:56 PM on February 4 [3 favorites]


More on the Shadow debacle from the Verge. Apparently the app was distributed, at least on Android, using the free tier of a testing platform that is limited to 200 users and deletes app data after 30 days.

Multiple programmers I follow on social media flipped out when they saw the iOS version of Shadow had been distributed via TestFlight.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 4:56 PM on February 4 [16 favorites]


I need to amend my earlier comment with a detail I overlooked. While my state was allowed to choose to use primary-style elections with ranked choice, we still pursued approval from the DNC. Because the DNC signed off on it, we get a 20% increase in the number of delegates.

This press release from the state party spells it out.

But it doesn't seem as if approval was required. I'm still not clear on that part of the process. There would be no need for a reward if the state party absolutely had to follow DNC rules.
posted by Teegeeack AV Club Secretary at 5:04 PM on February 4 [1 favorite]


They distributed the Android version as a sideloaded APK too, and naturally volunteers freaked the hell out when they got the resulting security warnings and noped out of the process, because come on, what volunteer precinct chair says yes to "this type of file can harm your device?" And that's assuming the install wasn't blocked by their settings (as it should be) or other security restrictions on their phone.

I don't know if this was all too rushed to get it into app stores, but trying to distribute the app unofficially is just such an obviously bad idea.
posted by zachlipton at 5:08 PM on February 4 [16 favorites]


The specific chain of decision-making that led to Shadow being used seems to involve a number of extremely bad decisions by both the Iowa party and by the DNC. The party megadonors who funded Shadow and Acronym and gave them the credibility to sell themselves to Iowa and Nevada have responsibility too.

Anybody who has ever been involved in a large-scale technology roll-out, on being told the basic facts that have come to light today about the app being developed in a couple of months and then deployed sideloaded with no testing or end user training, would be able to tell that the project couldn't succeed.

Nobody from any of the responsible party leadership, at any level, raised a red flag. Even today party insiders will only comment to the press anonymously because they don't want to lose work or make enemies. The whole party is infested with thousands of these consultant-class Lyle Lanleys who coast from failure to failure on the strength of their friendships with party elders and fundraisers. Somehow 2016 wasn't enough of a wake-up call to run them all out, maybe this will be.
posted by strangely stunted trees at 5:13 PM on February 4 [24 favorites]


So Iowa sends these delegates to their state convention; are they bound? If their candidate leaves the race, are those delegates free to choose another candidate?
posted by theora55 at 5:20 PM on February 4


Why not distribute devices with the app installed properly?

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.
posted by kirkaracha at 5:24 PM on February 4 [2 favorites]


So this is a bit of a Luddite question, but if one were to develop a platform to do this type of counting, why wouldn't you just use a mobile-friendly website with a secure login? Does 'app' just sound cool to directors and that's what they go with? Or are they more secure from . . . hacking? I thought we had largely moved past the single-use app fad.
posted by Think_Long at 5:33 PM on February 4 [8 favorites]


(I say that based on his "reporting" regarding the Douma chemical attack in Syria. See the lengthy conversations between Higgins from Bellingcat and Blumenthal and his apologists.)
posted by Ahmad Khani at 5:34 PM on February 4 [1 favorite]


also god DAMN do I miss Maroon 5 in these dark days
posted by Think_Long at 5:35 PM on February 4 [20 favorites]


Ok can someone link me to something that demonstrates that Sanders (or his campaign, I'm not picky) is (1) responsible for caucuses continuing to exist or (2) "prefer[s] caucuses"?

I can maybe help with #2. I linked a couple of articles from 2016 earlier in the thread, but here's one again, from FiveThirtyEight on March 27, 2016, Bernie Sanders Continues To Dominate Caucuses, But He’s About To Run Out Of Them:

Sanders has outperformed his targets in 11 states. Just three of those states held primaries (Illinois, Oklahoma and Vermont), and one of those three (Vermont) is Sanders’s home state. The other eight were caucuses.

This is the primary, obvious driver behind the "Sanders likes caucuses" stuff. You probably already know this but the general wisdom is that caucuses tend to attract more excited (fanatic?) voters, who show up and stay til the end, and Sanders' base includes a lot of those. I agree that it would be nice to see some evidence of Sanders folks working to keep caucuses in the face of a push among establishment Democrats to eliminate them, but I haven't seen that kind of push against caucuses coming from many Dems so I'm not sure why Sanders is being blamed for caucuses remaining on the calendar. Establishment Dems seem to like them just fine.

A perhaps less obvious secondary point: Caucuses tend to happen in states with fewer voters of color, and in the 2016 race Sanders struggled to attract those voters over Hillary (he's improved on that this time, mostly among young voters of color, where he routinely leads Biden).

For what it's worth, a side note: the second chart in this 2016 Vox article about much lower turnout rates in caucuses vs. primaries seems to me fairly conclusive. Sanders may or may not be actively working to keep caucuses (I'd love to know), but if he's not actively working to *eliminate* them (I'd love to know that too), then I think much of his talk about democratizing the vote is hypocritical. I guess that means I'm with you in looking for evidence either way, and agree we haven't really seen much yet.
posted by mediareport at 5:35 PM on February 4 [2 favorites]


Nate Cohen at the NYT is saying Sanders is most likely to win the popular vote, Pete is most likely to win the SDE, and both are likely to split pledged delegates based on the NYT model.
posted by eagles123 at 5:42 PM on February 4


So Iowa sends these delegates to their state convention; are they bound? If their candidate leaves the race, are those delegates free to choose another candidate?
Nope, they're bound through the Democratic National Convention. (I think that if there's still no winner after a certain point at the national convention, they get unbound, but it's really, really unlikely to happen.) In the event that uncommitted delegates get selected, which has happened, they're also bound to uncommitted.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 5:48 PM on February 4


@ryangrim: "The Iowa results do not include the satellite caucuses, the irregular ones set up for workers, students and the elderly, which Sanders organized for and dominated."
posted by Noisy Pink Bubbles at 6:08 PM on February 4 [6 favorites]


this whole debacle isn't the DNC's doing, right?

The bizarre and confusing new rules were very much the DNC's doing; the entire point of the DNC's Unity Reform Commission was to centralize standards for Iowa and other caucus states. It was a committee formed to create rules Iowa would then be forced to follow, although Iowans were part of the decision-making. Here's an article from December 2017, after the Commission released its final set of recommendations:

Reform commission members and national party leaders predicted the changes, which affect other caucus-holding states as well as Iowa, would increase voter participation, bring transparency to the nominating process and bolster grassroots activism — particularly in rural and Republican-leaning places. At the outset of the meeting on Friday, DNC Chairman Tom Perez called the caucus reforms “game-changing.”

Iowa had to follow the new rules, which came out of a DNC-led process.

(Also, that article links to this one, which has quotes from mainstream Obama, Biden and Clinton strategists who clearly said the party needed to get rid of caucuses entirely.)
posted by mediareport at 6:19 PM on February 4 [3 favorites]


And, more generally speaking, it's hard to believe that a state Democratic party would be able to operate completely free of input from and accountability to the DNC. The DNC *is* the party.

The DNC isn't the party. There is no "The Party."

American parties might be best thought of as collections of organizations with broadly similar goals, sometimes beholden to or responsible to each other in limited ways. The most you can say about the DNC is that it's the "head" organization for Democrats doing stuff related to presidential elections, and it runs the convention. It doesn't get to be the boss of the DCCC or DSCC. It doesn't even get to be the boss of the IA Democratic Party except in its capacity as the organization running the delegate selection mechanism for the 2020 convention.*

And almost certainly in an assortment of other ways that boil down to money with strings attached
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 6:27 PM on February 4 [9 favorites]


To be clear, national party organizations have played a heavy role in funding and developing the institutionalization and professionalization of state parties, so lots of state parties now look pretty similar to the parties the national organizations might like to see
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 6:29 PM on February 4 [3 favorites]


There is no "The Party."

Huh. If that's the case, maybe that explains why the GOP seems to be a couple steps ahead. I mean, having a clear leadership that says "here are our platforms, this is what you agree with to be a member of the party" vs a bunch of disparate groups that may or may not agree with you and go along, making their own rules as they go.

I mean, at the very least, that might explain why, say, Manchin hasn't been told to get the fuck out of the party, if there really is no actual party leadership, but honesty, that just sounds like another reason the Democrats always seem like a clownshow.

God, I hate writing these things and saying these things. I'm a lifelong dem, and have voted dem in every election I've had the chance to. I'd just like the party to be less of a shitshow.
posted by Ghidorah at 6:33 PM on February 4 [9 favorites]


that's the case, maybe that explains why the GOP seems to be a couple steps ahead.

To the best of my knowledge this is ~equally true of the GOP.
posted by PMdixon at 6:36 PM on February 4 [4 favorites]


Think_Long Does 'app' just sound cool to directors and that's what they go with? Or are they more secure from . . . hacking?

Depending on how it was written, and given the facts available it seems that the so-called "developers" of Shadow couldn't code their way out of a wet paper bag, an app could be more secure than a website.

But yes, given that none of this is really secret or anonymous, there's really no reason why a web form with a login and some fields to enter the data couldn't have done just as well. I suspect it was mostly that they think apps are wikked kewl and what all the kids these days want.

At heart it's basically just a spreadsheet. In theory they could have used a shared Google spreadsheet, it wouldn't have been a great idea but it would have worked better and quite possibly been more secure than their app. Depending on how they coded the app they could have made it vastly less secure than a shared Google spreadsheet. What authentication methods did they use to verify that only the actual precinct chair had permission to upload data? What encryption did they use on data in transit and data at rest? We don't know, but given the demonstrated incompetence of Acronym I wouldn't be surprised to learn that they transmitted everything in clear and had no accountability at all.
posted by sotonohito at 6:44 PM on February 4 [6 favorites]


If that's the case, then, from the deepest part of my soul, all I can say is

Buh?!

That's an unbelievably dumb way to do things. I mean, sure, having a strong head of the party with bright lines about what's good and what's not might, say, splinter parties, but:

1) you'd have parties where you know that the person your voting for stands for the things the party stands for (fuck the Blue Dogs, seriously)

2) it could lead to the death of the two party system, so it'd never happen, but imagine a world where, say, you have an actual, sustainable hard left party, and a (hopefully smaller every year) centrist party. I mean, sure, you'd probably also have a real, extant Tea Party, because the sensible GOP would have told those lunatics to fuck off years ago (yes, I know, I said sensible GOP). It could be glorious! (It would not be glorious. It would be, at best, the Knesset, with coalitions beholden to tiny extremist parties)

3) It will never happen because both parties will do what they think is best to hold onto power. For the GOP, that seems to clearly be to bend to the will of the most extreme members of the party. For the (leadership of the) Dems, it seems to be to become the GOP. So that's nice.
posted by Ghidorah at 6:48 PM on February 4 [1 favorite]


> The DNC isn't the party. There is no "The Party."

Nonsense. The DNC is the governing body for the party. Any authority ceded to state organizations can be reclaimed any time the DNC believes that those organizations aren't acting in the best interest of the party. Later in your comment, you correctly note the many levers the DNC has to influence those organizations, and <NeilPeart> Choosing not to use those levers is still a choice. </NeilPeart>
posted by tonycpsu at 7:06 PM on February 4 [2 favorites]


If that's the case, maybe that explains why the GOP seems to be a couple steps ahead.

It's at least as true for them as it is for the Democrats. I'd have to check in with people who are more firmly enmeshed in parties work than I am -- I end up teaching undergrads about this, but come at it more or less exclusively from legislative parties -- but if anything, the GOP has it worse. Various odious billionaire fuckwits have what look a lot like their own parallel organizational structures that can do an awful lot of the same things as official GOP organizations, and then there's Fox News.

That's an unbelievably dumb way to do things.

One of the things that's hardest to get across to people not in and from the US is how stunningly weak American parties are. The other one is that the health care system really will just let you die untreated if you can't pay.

It will never happen because both parties will do what they think is best to hold onto power.

Some of this is probably historical accident from how mass parties happened to be formed in the US in the 1820s thru 1840s or so -- there was buildup and connection between local cliques and national organizations with state parties remaining very weak -- but an *awful* lot of the overall weakness of American parties is a direct result of laws put into place to weaken and limit parties.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 7:09 PM on February 4 [6 favorites]


The DNC is the governing body for the party.

Watch what happens when the DNC tells the dtrip or DSCC what to do or who to support.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 7:12 PM on February 4 [1 favorite]


Polling locations can have inconsistent or poor cellular or WiFi service and you also can’t determine the level connectivity that any given precinct captain or poll worker will have on their personal device. a properly made app would allow you to enter data, cache it, and then sync it to your reporting backend whenever you re-establish a connection.
posted by bl1nk at 7:19 PM on February 4 [1 favorite]


One of the things that's hardest to get across to people not in and from the US is how stunningly weak American parties are.

Federalism!
posted by tivalasvegas at 7:20 PM on February 4


> Watch what happens when the DNC tells the dtrip or DSCC what to do or who to support.

Right, because those orgs do their own fundraising. The state parties need DNC money to exist.
posted by tonycpsu at 7:23 PM on February 4


Faulty Iowa App Was Part of Push to Restore Democrats’ Digital Edge
The faulty smartphone app behind the chaotic aftermath of Iowa’s Democratic caucuses was the work of a little-known company called Shadow Inc. that was founded by veterans of Hillary Clinton’s unsuccessful presidential campaign, and whose previous work was marked by a string of failures, including a near bankruptcy.

The app grew out of a broader push by Democrats, backed by tens of millions of dollars in donor money, to match the Republicans’ prowess in digital advertising and organizing after the 2016 election. Much of the energy and investment have gone into enterprises that are intended to both boost the Democrats’ digital game and turn a profit, like Shadow.
Womp womp.
posted by kirkaracha at 7:26 PM on February 4


Lengthy thread from @rabble about political tech and why this sort of thing is going to continue to be a weakness of campaigns, and what needs to change:

"If you want to understand what happened with Shadow and the failure of the Iowa Caucus app you have to understand how electoral campaign tech work is done and funded. Let me tell you a story to make sense of it.

The caucus app is firebase / react app built by one senior engineer who’s not done mobile apps and a bunch of folks who were very recent code academy graduates who as of a couple months ago worked as a prep cook for Starbucks and receptionist at Regus.

They messed up, but here’s the thing, shadow is a company which came out of of the collapse of another electoral tech company, Groundbase (getgroundgame.com) which has some well known folks in the campaign tech space.

***

This was a quick tool which was put together without sufficient funding. See, building tech is expensive. We can see from the budgets that the Iowa Democratic Party only paid $60k to shadow, and the Nevada party paid $58k.

It might feel like a lot, but it really isn’t given how much this stuff costs to build. It’s why the app wasn’t well tested or scaled well. The team was a few enthusiastic recent code school grads and one experienced engineer. This was their side project they built to get funding

There is no way they could succeed. The problem is structural, the way we’re funding campaign tech is wrong. We need it to be based on open source technology, we need a community of companies, parties, and third party groups funding it. It needs to have funding between cycles."
posted by oneirodynia at 7:30 PM on February 4 [11 favorites]


If you think the DNC has power, I would direct you to a fun little three part Reply All series recently about Alabama.

Because they do not.

They. Do. Not. The STATE party doesn't even have power.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 7:34 PM on February 4 [4 favorites]


Someone please correct me if I'm wrong: this whole debacle isn't the DNC's doing, right? Isn't it the Iowa Democratic Party's fault? I could have sworn I read that up there (waves hand vaguely in the direction of up-thread) but SO MANY people on social media are saying it's all the DNC's fault that I'm doubting myself now and I just NEED HELP.

The National DNC did not directly fund the Shadow app, no, according to FEC filings. The Buttigieg campaign paid them $42,500 in two installments of $21,250; the Biden campaign paid them $1225; the Gillibrand campaign paid them $37,400, across six installments; the Wisconsin Democratic Party paid them $3750; the Texas Democratic Party paid them $250; the Nevada Democratic Party paid them $58,000; a DNC Super PAC called For The Future paid them $10,643.25 over three installments. But the National DNC itself did not.

Curiously, the Iowa Democratic Party has not paid them, according to their FEC filings. Wonder why the app was deployed. Maybe someone's just late with their paperwork.
posted by kafziel at 7:37 PM on February 4 [3 favorites]


I'm not inclined to blame the devs. Below a certain price point, 'you get what you pay for' is the rule in dev. I'm thinking the committee that paid for this did not put out an RFP or do any other sort of diligence on price/capability/risk.
posted by j_curiouser at 7:39 PM on February 4 [1 favorite]


Paying that little for a mission-critical app which has to work the first time it is widely deployed is like buying the $1.99 gas station sushi 6 hours before your wedding and YOLOing it.
posted by Justinian at 7:49 PM on February 4 [31 favorites]


> Curiously, the Iowa Democratic Party has not paid them, according to their FEC filings. Wonder why the app was deployed. Maybe someone's just late with their paperwork.

Or maybe the Democrats are adopting Trump's policy of stiffing contractors.
posted by tonycpsu at 7:57 PM on February 4 [1 favorite]


I would encourage people to remember this New York Times article from last year.
The matter of What To Do About Bernie and the larger imperative of party unity has, for example, hovered over a series of previously undisclosed Democratic dinners in New York and Washington organized by the longtime party financier Bernard Schwartz. The gatherings have included scores from the moderate or center-left wing of the party, including Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California; Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the minority leader; former Gov. Terry McAuliffe of Virginia; Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Ind., himself a presidential candidate; and the president of the Center for American Progress, Neera Tanden.
posted by kafziel at 8:12 PM on February 4 [11 favorites]


...sorry if this has been addressed elsewhere, but what were Gillibrand and Buttigieg paying Shadow for?
posted by grandiloquiet at 8:26 PM on February 4 [1 favorite]


I would encourage people to remember this New York Times article from last year.

I remember it, I'm just not quite clear on how it applies to the current situation specifically. Apart from Buttigieg being mentioned.
posted by Justinian at 8:29 PM on February 4


...sorry if this has been addressed elsewhere, but what were Gillibrand and Buttigieg paying Shadow for?

Shadow's main business isn't (assuming the company has a future now) a caucus results app; it's technology tools to help political campaigns. They have an email/text messaging platform and a more ambitious idea called Lightrail, which is meant to be more of an IFTTT/Yahoo Pipes type of tool for campaigns to manage data flows and triggers between services, something that would be super useful to a lot of campaigns if it really works. Both the Biden and Buttigieg campaigns apparently used their text messaging service at some point, as did some state parties; I'm not sure we know exactly what the Gillibrand campaign was paying them for. But the campaigns weren't paying them for the caucus app; they were paying for other services.
posted by zachlipton at 8:41 PM on February 4 [13 favorites]


Speaking of which,

@dnvolz: MORE WARNINGS IGNORED: Bob Lord, the DNC’s cybersecurity chief, also directly urged Iowa Dems to drop plans to use the Shadow app, an overture that was ignored, according to people familiar with the matter.
posted by zachlipton at 8:47 PM on February 4 [5 favorites]


The matter of What To Do About Bernie and the larger imperative of party unity has, for example, hovered over a series of previously undisclosed Democratic dinners in New York and Washington organized by the longtime party financier Bernard Schwartz. The gatherings have included scores from the moderate or center-left wing of the party, including Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California; Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the minority leader; former Gov. Terry McAuliffe of Virginia; Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Ind., himself a presidential candidate; and the president of the Center for American Progress, Neera Tanden.

He didn't come out of nowhere. He's been groomed by the people who don't want to see things fundamentally change.

And they are ruining us.
posted by Gadarene at 8:54 PM on February 4 [23 favorites]


I would assume that any statements attributed to "people familiar with the matter" are actually coming from "people with a vested interest in blaming the matter on other people" until proven otherwise.
posted by tonycpsu at 8:59 PM on February 4 [3 favorites]


A few more results have been released, bringing it up to 71%, although it's a little hard to tell what's going on with that website. I clicked on a few counties and the results had changed substantially. Anyway, they still have Buttigieg with a small lead on Sanders, then a big jump down to Warren and Biden, then Klobuchar.
posted by Copronymus at 9:02 PM on February 4 [1 favorite]


Guardian: More Iowa results released
Joe Biden is facing the risk of not winning any delegates from Iowa. The former vice president needs to remain above 15% to be awarded delegates, and he’s currently flirting with that threshold.
Guardian: "According to the AP, which [has] assigned 24 of the 41 pledged delegates based on the results reported so far [62%], 10 would go to Buttigieg, 10 to Sanders and 4 to Elizabeth Warren."
posted by katra at 9:19 PM on February 4 [5 favorites]


If only the old man will listen to what the world is telling him. Biden can check out.
posted by valkane at 9:26 PM on February 4 [4 favorites]


I'm pretty sure Biden is the kinda candidate where the staff is driving the campaign, and the candidate is following behind.
posted by valkane at 9:38 PM on February 4


The ghost of Edmund Muskie hovers just above Des Moines.
posted by pracowity at 10:06 PM on February 4 [6 favorites]


That coin toss thing is an absolute joke. Saw a video earlier today of a guy tossing it into his hand, half-catching it in his fist and picking it out, turning it to heads and declaring a Pete delegate. And I thought the UK's election system was bad.
posted by Chaffinch at 12:55 AM on February 5 [7 favorites]


I saw that same video. I mean, if you’re really making a coin flip part of your electoral process, shouldn’t part of the training for the polling staff be “how to flip a frickin coin”?!
posted by Ghidorah at 2:29 AM on February 5 [1 favorite]


We make fun of Trump for tossing it up and letting it land on the ground at that one game, but y'know, there's really no way to grift that.
posted by kafziel at 2:59 AM on February 5 [6 favorites]


One interpretation of these results is that the Republican Ukranian extortion campaign to smear Biden worked.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 3:30 AM on February 5 [3 favorites]


Another is just that Biden is capable of stinking like a dang sidewalk sardine all on his own.
posted by Greg Nog at 3:50 AM on February 5 [27 favorites]


Apparently the app was distributed, at least on Android, using the free tier of a testing platform that is limited to 200 users...

Wow. Just....wow. if you haven't read the Verge article, it's quite a treat. This wasn't just a bug that was missed; it was a constant stream of dumb, cheap, professionally negligent decisions like this:

the app was distributed using the TestFairy platform’s free tier and not its enterprise one. That means Shadow didn’t even pony up for the TestFairy plan that comes with single sign-on authentication, unlimited data retention, and end-to-end encryption. Instead, it looks like the company used the version of TestFairy anyone can try for free, which deletes any app data after 30 days and limits the number of test users that can access the app to 200.
posted by mediareport at 4:36 AM on February 5 [6 favorites]


This is pretty bad for Biden. He could come out of Iowa with barely any delegates, or even none. Since the basis of his electibality argument is a claim that he can win over white swing voters in the Midwest, a failure to convince even white Democrats in Iowa to vote for him is making his electability claims seem less credible.

The other candidates were hoping to capitalize on this, and still are, but the delay in reporting the results muddles the 'Biden lost badly in Iowa' message the other leading candidates needed voters to hear. Still, if this is followed by another failure in New Hampshire, it could be really bad for him.
posted by nangar at 4:43 AM on February 5 [8 favorites]


Since the basis of his electibality argument is a claim that he can win over white swing voters in the Midwest, a failure to convince even white Democrats in Iowa to vote for him is making his electability claims seem less credible.

Well, sure the Dems may not like him, but you can't deny that Republicans love him! Seems like not a day goes by that I don't hear about the right wing saying "Hunter Biden did nothing wrong" and see Trump tweets calling him his classic nickname, "Stand-Up Good-Guy Extremely-Alert Joe"
posted by Greg Nog at 4:52 AM on February 5 [10 favorites]


My choice for president among those still viable is Elizabeth Warren. However, I live in terror that the United States will once again select the least qualified man over the most qualified woman. I live in terror of another four years of Trump.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 5:56 AM on February 5 [23 favorites]


select the least qualified man over the most qualified woman


That’s not an irrational fear. We just saw it happen in Iowa.
posted by darkstar at 6:01 AM on February 5 [21 favorites]


If Trump's smear campaign against Biden worked then he has accomplished at least one good thing in his time in office.

I disagree with his criminal methods, but the outcome is unquestionably good both for America and the Democratic Party.

Personally I doubt Biden's failure was due to Trump's extorsion of Ukraine. Biden is a miserable failure, pathological liar, and unelectable scumbag all on his own. But if Trump did help bring him down then yay Trump.
posted by sotonohito at 6:26 AM on February 5 [4 favorites]


So is that the talking point for today? Biden would have won if not for the evil Trump machinations?
posted by FakeFreyja at 6:31 AM on February 5


People I've talked to have said that they didn't caucus for Biden because he doesn't seem up to the job. A lot of people blame it on his age, but I think he's always been like that, and people have just forgotten. But he has a weird, creepy vibe, and his behavior is kind of off. He seems to have poor impulse control, and he's weirdly handsy. You have to remember: Iowans get to see these people, and Iowans often don't vote purely on ideology.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 6:34 AM on February 5 [14 favorites]


Yeah, living here it was painfully obvious to me that the enthusiasm for Biden was NOWHERE that I could see. And I interact with a wide cross section of people, I think, that is beyond white, middle-class. Though since I am in the capital and surrounding area, I thought maybe I was missing all the rural vote somehow.

But nah, I wasn't.

Oh and it wasn't any Ukraine nonsense. It was just that all the older people were SUPER SUPER SUPER SUPER into Pete. Young people went the other way. Like the Pete love... was... intense.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 6:40 AM on February 5 [6 favorites]


I doubt that Biden's failure was due to the Ukraine campaign. Biden is out of touch with most Democratic voters. But I don't doubt that it could have hurt him the way that Big Lies always work, maybe knocked off five points, one in twenty.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 6:45 AM on February 5 [4 favorites]


With respect to what the role of the DNC should be and how state parties would react to centralization that would reduce their own autonomy, I'm not sure that needs to be an issue. Right now it seems the state parties tell the DNC how they plan to run their elections, the DNC might make suggestions, and the state parties can ignore them if they like.

One alternative is that the state parties tell the DNC how they plan to run their elections, and the DNC says "okay, now let's make sure your plan, that you picked, is foolproof and tamperproof" with guidelines and schedules the states have to abide by for testing and implementing their plans. Those guidelines are mandatory. Funding required for testing and oversight by professionals is supplied.

I mean, it's an election, it doesn't make any sense to say "we'll leave it up to local committees and volunteers and hopefully they'll do a good job". Centralization doesn't have to mean an absence of local decision-making; it can mean local decision-making with a strong layer of oversight to ensure functionality.

And again, beyond the issue of functionality there's the issue of preventing possible corruption. Which includes issues like who can be hired to do which things and what their financial entanglements are allowed to be. If the DNC shouldn't hold ultimate responsibility for overseeing that, then who should?
posted by trig at 6:51 AM on February 5 [2 favorites]


My guess is that Biden's likely moderate/establishment supporters picked Pete as a younger, more energetic alternative who checks a lot of the same boxes. That and if you visualize a Biden/Trump debate and a Pete/Trump debate, it seems super obvious that Pete would do better and be less likely to have old man rage like when Biden called the Iowa voter a liar and yelled at him.
posted by freecellwizard at 6:57 AM on February 5 [6 favorites]


I'm not trying to be glib and I might in fact be missing something glaringly obvious here but would primaries instead of caucuses, and paper ballots counted by hand over apps/EVMs, be at all more exact and less prone to security breaches and glitches, however much longer they take to count? I'm not a voting expert but it feels sometimes like we sacrificed ballot security and accuracy for speed of results.
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 7:01 AM on February 5 [1 favorite]


I have a retired relative who really, really likes Pete because she feels like he's really smart. I also feel like she's actively looking for younger candidates. I think this is a bit underestimated among Democratic boomers - my father is also pretty worried about the age thing, although he likes Bernie but says he's too old to do the job. I think one reason Pete is getting a boost from older voters is that he's young, and older voters have been listening to all that "let's not elect another old person, old people are overrepresented in government" stuff.

As a queer person, I feel really torn ["not like this" gif] because electing a creepy centrist is not my goal for queer politics. At the same time, I mean, I grew up with boomers, and I have to hand it to at least some of them - it's real ethical and political movement to vote for an openly gay candidate like it's no big deal. That is not something that a lot of Pete voters would have done twenty years ago.

And again, on the one hand representation doesn't actually put food on the table and also Pete isn't exactly going to stand up for actually-existing, non-rich, gender non-conforming gay people. But I think about Weimar and the early USSR a lot (maybe not especially deeply, but at least often) and I think about how the limited GLBTQ acceptance of those societies was just totally rolled back and vanished almost without a trace. But I really think that if a lot of retirement-age people are willing to vote for a gay candidate - even a bland, centrist, gender-conforming, etc etc candidate - the likelihood of a total Weimar-style rollback feels like it's gone way, way down.
posted by Frowner at 7:08 AM on February 5 [33 favorites]


I think one reason Pete is getting a boost from older voters is that he's young, and older voters have been listening to all that "let's not elect another old person, old people are overrepresented in government" stuff.
I think it's that, but I also think that older people have a realistic sense of their own limitations. My parents are extremely active for their age, and my dad is still working, but when I talk to them they're like "there is no way I could do that job at this point in my life." And they're younger than Bernie. I think that "age is just a number" is not as convincing when you're dealing with the reality of aging.
My guess is that Biden's likely moderate/establishment supporters picked Pete as a younger, more energetic alternative who checks a lot of the same boxes.
Yep, I think that's right. Also, Iowans love an Eagle Scout, and Mayor Pete has that vibe. (Was he an Eagle Scout? He must have been an Eagle Scout.) I think that Klobuchar could have been that person, but people are worried about sexism/ are sexist, plus I don't think she's ever going to recover from that story about eating salad with a comb. I don't know why none of the other endless parade of white guys have taken off, but poor Michael Bennet is not getting any traction.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 7:11 AM on February 5 [7 favorites]


Was he an Eagle Scout?

He was an actual eagle.
posted by pracowity at 7:18 AM on February 5 [10 favorites]


If we want this to be a Sanders/Buttigieg race rather than a Sanders/Biden race I'm in for that. Let's just get it down to 2 people pre-Super Tuesday so that we dont have a brokered convention.
posted by Justinian at 7:19 AM on February 5 [2 favorites]


If we want this to be a Sanders/Buttigieg race rather than a Sanders/Biden race I'm in for that. Let's just get it down to 2 people pre-Super Tuesday so that we dont have a brokered convention.

This suggestion makes me want to gouge out my eyeballs. Warren is not, and should not be, going anywhere, and she is manifestly the best candidate who would make the best president by a significant margin. If she drops out, we are fucked for years, because Sanders does not have the executive temperament to usher in the fundamental structural change that is needed and Buttigieg doesn't have a soul.

Can we not start positioning it like Sanders and Buttigieg being the last two standing would be not only a good outcome but something we should be hoping happens sooner rather than later?
posted by Gadarene at 7:28 AM on February 5 [64 favorites]


I will spoil something for everyone. It's not actually that hard to become an eagle scout. I mean if I can do it as a callow youth, the bar is low.

But society does seem to appreciate it.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 7:28 AM on February 5 [5 favorites]


Was he an Eagle Scout?

It's not in his Wikipedia bio, which tells me that there is approximately a 0% chance that he was.
posted by Etrigan at 7:31 AM on February 5 [13 favorites]


Aya Hirano, France uses only paper ballots in their elections. When the polls close, the election workers open the ballot boxes, dump out the ballots, count out the first 100 ballots and call the media with the preliminary results. Then they keep going till they've counted all the ballots they have the final results. It's extremely secure, and the preliminary results are usually available within 20 minutes or so after the polls close and are very accurate, within 1% or so. French ballots are also designed to be easy to count and unambiguous, though the design uses more paper.

So, yeah, there are better ways to do this, and low-tech doesn't doesn't have to be slow.
posted by nangar at 7:41 AM on February 5 [24 favorites]


The Iowa caucus smartphone app disaster, explained (Sara Morrison, recode/Vox)
It’s unclear so far why the phone center had so much trouble responding to the calls. Some precinct chairs even tried taking photos of their results and hand-delivering them to Iowa Democratic Party headquarters in Des Moines, and even then they weren’t able to get through to party officials.
Hand delivering?
posted by ZeusHumms at 7:47 AM on February 5 [1 favorite]


> Warren is not, and should not be, going anywhere, and she is manifestly the best candidate who would make the best president by a significant margin. If she drops out, we are fucked for years, because Sanders does not have the executive temperament to usher in the fundamental structural change that is needed

as i was walking along the beach with thomas pynchon, renowned author of gravity's rainbow, across the dark sky flashed scenes from my life. for each scene, i noticed two sets of footprints in the sand, one belonging to me and one to thomas pynchon. i noticed that at many times along the path of my life, especially at the very lowest and saddest times, there was only one set of footprints. i asked thomas pynchon about it. "thomas pynchon, you said once i decided to read your critically acclaimed but famously difficult novels, you'd walk with me all the way. but i noticed that during the saddest and most troublesome times of my life, there was only one set of footprints. i don't understand why, when i needed you the most, you would leave me."

and it was then that thomas pynchon told me: when you saw only one set of footprints... it was then that warren and sanders supporters were talking shit about each others' candidates on the Internet. and look i wanted to hang out with you on the beach more often but i absolutely will not stand by when supporters of one of the two best candidates pretend that the other best candidate is bad. i will not abide it.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 7:56 AM on February 5 [64 favorites]


So, if there’s anything good to come from the Iowa Caucus and also the strongest defense for why they in fact important, I think Biden’s weak showing is exhibit “A”.

IMO, Biden wasn’t harmed by the Ukraine allegations — almost all caucus goers recognized it was a bullshit smear campaign. Rather, I think Biden was harmed by his inability to understand that Trump isn’t an aberration to how the GOP normally operates but rather the natural product of 50 years of increasingly anti-democratic attitudes and policy choices in the pursuit of power.

I’m really having a hard time explaining Buttigieg’s finish, though. His messaging strikes me as cynical and lacking in actual substance. Like, sure, I believe he is left-of-center but I don’t get a sense of an animating principle to his campaign other than raw ambition.

In that respect, he reminds me of Bill Clinton, who famously tried to “triangulate” his policies so they were maximally acceptable to the public. Which, yes, made him a very effective president but I think also led to some decisions that led to incredibly poor outcomes (3 strikes, welfare reform, a focus on “reducing” government) in the long term.

This has to do with - I think - the fact that Buttigieg and Clinton are/were products of the current system. They’ve been rewarded by its inequities and are therefore blind to how those structures that rewarded them harm others. When Buttigieg is triangulating what position to take, I honestly think he is incapable of questioning the fundamental premises upon which he makes a decision and, therefore, triangulates based on the wrong accepted conditions.

Anecdotally, the people I know who were caucusing for Buttigieg are all well educated academic and medical professionals. There is probably a lot of affinity to his story and similar biases that made him attractive.
posted by Big Al 8000 at 8:00 AM on February 5 [12 favorites]


but we were just about to convince someone this time!
posted by Huffy Puffy at 8:01 AM on February 5 [1 favorite]


and it was then that thomas pynchon told me: when you saw only one set of footprints... it was then that warren and sanders supporters were talking shit about each others' candidates on the Internet. and look i wanted to hang out with you on the beach more often but i absolutely will not stand by when supporters of one of the two best candidates pretend that the other best candidate is bad. i will not abide it.

I don't think he's bad; he's by far my next-most preferred candidate after Warren now that Castro and Inslee are out.

I just don't think he'll be a very effective president in terms of management style, persuading the persuadable, and getting shit done.
posted by Gadarene at 8:04 AM on February 5 [7 favorites]


Saying we would be fucked for years sounds like you do think he's bad to me. Just a note for next time when calibrating the old hyperbole meter.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 8:07 AM on February 5 [17 favorites]


I think it's that, but I also think that older people have a realistic sense of their own limitations. My parents are extremely active for their age, and my dad is still working, but when I talk to them they're like "there is no way I could do that job at this point in my life." And they're younger than Bernie. I think that "age is just a number" is not as convincing when you're dealing with the reality of aging.

I'm only 55 but am already feeling my limitations and I agree with your parents. There's no way that I'm comfortable with a president in their late 70s and am even a little queasy about Warren's age. I'm not happy about Mayor Pete for a raft of reasons but I wish we had more choices left of candidates in their prime.
posted by octothorpe at 8:17 AM on February 5 [5 favorites]


It's hard for me to imagine either Sanders or Warren getting any big legislation done without 60 seats in the Senate, so it'd be mostly about how well they'd appoint judges (I see no reason to favor either), run the administrative state (Warren seems more pragmatic, I'd lean toward her on this, but maybe that's a bias), and conduct foreign policy (I don't really have a solid feel for this but again my potentially biased view is that Warren is a less volatile person, and more inclined to accommodate nuance). So that sounds like mostly a wash . . . Unless Sanders supporters who feel like he can create a wave election are right (which I doubt, but I'd also admit I find it even less likely that Warren could do that). At this point I'm almost inclined to hope Sanders gets the nomination just so we can see whether or not his supporters were right that he's part of a movement, otherwise they'll be bitter about it for decades. If he gets the nom, I think I'm just going to just live with equal amounts of hope and fear for what his administration can be.
posted by skewed at 8:18 AM on February 5 [9 favorites]


For what it's worth, I don't think any Democrat who made it to the presidency would get much done. Well unless they are Biden or Buttigeig, in which case they will be serving up a Republican agenda anyway.

I think this election is about jerking the reins of the nation hard to the left and making the case that, yes, a government should have more functions than handing money to international businesses and military contractors. And those functions should benefit everyone.
posted by FakeFreyja at 8:20 AM on February 5 [15 favorites]


Saying we would be fucked for years sounds like you do think he's bad to me. Just a note for next time when calibrating the old hyperbole meter.

Honestly, we'll be fucked for years even if Warren somehow becomes president. Things are too far gone and the present power structure too entrenched and insulated, the populace too epistemically shuttered, for radical change really to be a possibility in this country.

But the degree of fuckage with President Warren would, I believe, be smaller than the degree of fuckage with President Sanders...even if the degree of fuckage with President Sanders would be far less in turn than with President Buttigieg or than with (obviously) a second term of the current nightmare.

I think Warren and Sanders both identify many fundamental structural problems with American capitalism, the wealth gap, and corrupt influences in Washington. I think Warren would be better at addressing those problems. I think she still probably would largely fail, because there are too many people with hands at the levers of power whose livelihoods or psyches depend upon those problems proliferating, but I think she has a better shot. And I need to have some measure of hope, so that's where it goes.

Sanders would not actively make the situation worse. If and when Warren does drop out, he would have my full and unwavering support. But I think she'd make a better president.
posted by Gadarene at 8:25 AM on February 5 [16 favorites]


please everyone knock it off there’s a guy on a beach who needs me
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 8:25 AM on February 5 [21 favorites]


As much as we talk about the presidency, the Senate is what matters. A Democratic president with a Democratic Senate can pull the country left. Trump with a Democratic Senate will either learn restraint (ha!) or be removed from office.
posted by Jpfed at 8:27 AM on February 5 [4 favorites]


Oh, and Sanders doesn't support eliminating the filibuster, so that right there makes him a far less attractive choice to me, given the structural fuckery of the Senate and the bad faith evil of Republicans.
posted by Gadarene at 8:27 AM on February 5 [7 favorites]


Many republicans support eliminating the filibuster as well; it's a double-edged sword without a definitive "this is the correct answer to fixing the senate". It's not a thing that is automatically good or bad.
posted by windbox at 8:34 AM on February 5


That said the definitive correct answer to fixing the senate is just abolishing the fucking senate
posted by windbox at 8:35 AM on February 5 [14 favorites]


Oh, and Sanders doesn't support eliminating the filibuster, so that right there makes him a far less attractive choice to me, given the structural fuckery of the Senate and the bad faith evil of Republicans.

Seriously? This is the thing that bothers me post-April 15th, 2016. Bernie doesn't even have the support of his "own" "party" after giving it the giant middle finger but he thinks he can command the respect and attention of 10 Republicans on top?

If Trump is delusional about how he's helped poor people, Bernie is just as delusional about how he's going to help poor people.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 8:40 AM on February 5 [5 favorites]


That said the definitive correct answer to fixing the senate is just abolishing the fucking senate

If the Senate had been set as one senator per 350,000 people with a minimum of two instead of two per state we wouldn't be in this fuckery. The union could have grown into full representation. I know hindsight is 20/20 but I blame Hamilton.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 8:43 AM on February 5 [11 favorites]


Many republicans support eliminating the filibuster as well; it's a double-edged sword without a definitive "this is the correct answer to fixing the senate". It's not a thing that is automatically good or bad.

Strongly disagree. There is no plausible path in the foreseeable future for a filibuster-proof Democratic majority in the Senate. It will literally be impossible to achieve anything substantively legislatively in terms of advancing progressive goals with the filibuster in place...and substantive progressive legislation is crucial during this time of national crisis on so many fronts, because the courts are lost and the executive and the administrative state can't do it all unilaterally. Sanders's reconciliation "solution" is not sufficient.

Would the elimination of the filibuster help Republicans also in certain conceivable scenarios? Sure. But they're helped right now. The status quo causes, and will continue to cause, unnecessary suffering and hardship for millions upon millions. Removing the filibuster is one of the only straightforward avenues towards trying to change it.
posted by Gadarene at 8:45 AM on February 5 [4 favorites]


The Senate cannot be abolished. It is literally the only thing in the Constitution that cannot be changed.

We'd have to chuck out the Constitution and start again. Which no doubt many people here would be ok with but if you think amending the Constitution is hard just wait until you try replacing it!
posted by Justinian at 8:45 AM on February 5 [3 favorites]


note for pedants: it could be changed to either more, but still equal, Senators per state (which doesn't help at all) or with unanimous consent of the states to abolish it which is equivalent to replacing the Constitution.
posted by Justinian at 8:47 AM on February 5 [1 favorite]


Man, I feel like a broken record, repeating the same things from 2016. I like Bernie. I want him in the Senate. I don't understand his presidential ambitions. No fucking way he'll ever get elected. I just. Don't. Fucking. Get it. Nothing about him adds up.
There were a lot of good candidates, here, this time. Regardless who's left, I do know that I see one candidate I believe in, at this point. It sure as hell isn't Mayo Pete.
We're left with a bleak field, from a bunch of people who looked really good. Biden needs to drop out ASAP. Go out and raise hell about the curruption at home, and support the candidate. This is like a distilled version of 1988.
So.
Despite concerns about age, of which I have a few, there's only one candidate who's got a chance of doing something good, and not just acting as a bandage. Tear some shit up. It'll hurt some. But in the long run, it'll be worth it.
posted by rp at 8:50 AM on February 5 [5 favorites]


I think Pete has support because he is young, white and very bland as a return to "normalcy" and "civility". He makes people feel good and not have to confront anything ever again. His messaging is on point for this.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 8:53 AM on February 5 [16 favorites]


note for pedants: it could be changed to either more, but still equal, Senators per state (which doesn't help at all) or with unanimous consent of the states to abolish it which is equivalent to replacing the Constitution.

I know history doesn't repeat but it does rhyme. The Spartans had a Gerousia who spent the latter half of their empire saying no to any sort of social advancement similar to today's GOP's idea of governance basically being against whatever liberals are in favor of. Sparta ended up a withered husk of itself as the wealth became ever more concentrated in the hands of the elite that held all of the political power. Eventually it was just sacked and conquered.

No state has survived if they didn't address wealth concentration. Not one. We're going to have to do something.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 8:53 AM on February 5 [13 favorites]


windbox: "That said the definitive correct answer to fixing the senate is just abolishing the fucking senate"

Unfortunately, that would have to be approved by the very states that would lose their disproportionate power. There's no way that the small population states are going to approve an amendment for that.
posted by octothorpe at 8:54 AM on February 5 [1 favorite]


*bangs gavel*

This thread is now for discussing how many states to make Texas and California.

Let us never speak ill of how incompetent Iowa democratic leadership is again. We did our best, okay? And our best is... not good! But hey, we're all heart and we're going to win regionals then go to state and try our best there too.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 8:56 AM on February 5 [7 favorites]


Meanwhile respected Democratic thinker and influencer James Carville is very concerned that Sanders or Warren might win.
posted by sotonohito at 8:56 AM on February 5 [3 favorites]


Make DC and PR states and boom, you've got four more senate seats that will never vote Republican.
posted by octothorpe at 8:58 AM on February 5 [16 favorites]


We absolutely should throw the Constitution out and start completely over, it's badly designed and leads to exactly the sorts of long-term structural problems that can be papered over with "bipartisanship" but once you get any sort of polarization the entire thing collapses, as is slowly happening now. Can't wait until we get to the "all at once" part.
posted by Automocar at 8:59 AM on February 5 [2 favorites]


Make DC and PR states and boom, you've got four more senate seats that will never vote Republican.

This should genuinely happen asap. It won't, but it should.
posted by Gadarene at 9:01 AM on February 5 [13 favorites]


If either Bernie or Warren actually manage to get elected it will only be because of mandate level movement of Americans voting for sweeping change. I think Bernie is more likely to keep his word to make those changes but either way the level of work required to keep either of them from backsliding into inertia will be heroic and involve every activist and twitter loudmouth yelling at them from dawn til dusk for 4-8 years so we don’t end up in another obama jetski party film.

At some point, whichever one of them is behind should drop out. That point is not now. But it is coming. And the conversation will not be pretty. But let’s try to remember that it could, as of this moment, have occurred either way, and let’s give eachother grace as best we can.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 9:07 AM on February 5 [8 favorites]


Oh, and Sanders doesn't support eliminating the filibuster, so that right there makes him a far less attractive choice to me, given the structural fuckery of the Senate and the bad faith evil of Republicans.

His position on this point is that whether or not there is a filibuster, the Vice President can overrule the Senate parliamentarian once there are 50 votes for a bill. The functional difference between that and formally eliminating the filibuster is pretty close to zero.
posted by Copronymus at 9:09 AM on February 5 [4 favorites]


We absolutely should throw the Constitution out and start completely over, it's badly designed and leads to exactly the sorts of long-term structural problems that can be papered over with "bipartisanship" but once you get any sort of polarization the entire thing collapses, as is slowly happening now. Can't wait until we get to the "all at once" part.

Exactly. Two party system at work. If the US was MMP in its representation instead of FPTP the country would look completely different. Parties would be forced to do more wheeling and dealing in terms of each individual issue rather than having a straight binary choice and being forced to go along with that side's stance on said choice.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 9:14 AM on February 5 [2 favorites]


Take drugs for instance. If we had MMP we'd have the left in favor of weed legalization and the right wouldn't be unified. The authoritarian right would be howling no, the moderate right would be ambivalent, and the libertarians would be crossing the floor to vote with the left.

Today? The right is entirely beholden to who's driving the car, in this case, the authoritarian right.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 9:19 AM on February 5 [3 favorites]


What's interesting about the U.S. Constitution is that is was designed with an absence of political parties in mind. I don't blame them, exactly... political science didn't really exist in the 18th Century. But you're going to get parties in any form of representative democracy, and the only way the American system has worked is by a high degree of interparty consensus. When that has broken down, we've gotten a lot of bad stuff happening, because there's literally no way to relieve the tension within the framework of the document. This is why there have been military coups in like every other country with a constitution based on the U.S. one.
posted by Automocar at 9:19 AM on February 5 [7 favorites]


His position on this point is that whether or not there is a filibuster, the Vice President can overrule the Senate parliamentarian once there are 50 votes for a bill. The functional difference between that and formally eliminating the filibuster is pretty close to zero.

My understanding is that this -- there being virtually no functional difference between the approaches -- is untrue. Here is one take on why. Here is another.
posted by Gadarene at 9:22 AM on February 5 [1 favorite]


My understanding is that this -- there being virtually no functional difference between the approaches -- is untrue. Here is one take on why. Here is another.

The Vice President has pretty broad powers in the area of Senate procedure, and there's nothing that says this has to be limited to budget reconciliation. Nelson Rockefeller tried to break a filibuster in the 70s by just refusing to recognize the senators who were filibustering and moving on to the vote, and other Senators admitted that he had the power to do that, even as they were outraged. In the end, I don't think anyone, in the Senate or outside of it, has a definitive grasp of the combination of obscure rules and unwritten norms that might apply here, so it's really a matter of what people in the Senate will accept as true and what the people who have to implement the results of a vote will accept as valid. Getting 50 Senators to commit to ending the filibuster is one way to do that. Installing a Vice President who will commit to enacting your policy program via enforcement of their procedural powers may well be another. Which is more realistic is up for debate.
posted by Copronymus at 9:43 AM on February 5 [4 favorites]


At some point, whichever one of them is behind should drop out. That point is not now. But it is coming. And the conversation will not be pretty. But let’s try to remember that it could, as of this moment, have occurred either way, and let’s give eachother grace as best we can.

This is something I've thought a bit about... maybe too much. I'm probably getting out ahead of my skis.

Warren is in the weaker position, and so I think she'll drop out first. Warren has been very clear that she believes the party must be united. This makes me believe that when she does drop out, she will not endorse anyone until they've already secured the party nomination. The time between Warren dropping out and the convention will be a vulnerable time, because bots will have a ready-made conflict to amplify: Warren's followers will trust that she will use her endorsement as a vehicle for building party unity, while it seems likely that some others will believe her failure to endorse Sanders immediately upon dropping out means that she was never a true progressive.

There is a sense in which this is not terribly consequential, because at that point Warren won't be a candidate anymore, but that doesn't mean that people won't care, any more than people stopped caring about 2016. And so it will be another vehicle for generating intra-party conflict.

While I try to avoid mind-reading and overconfident predictions, I do feel unusually confident that this is how things will turn out. And I hope that we can be patient with one another if/when it does.
posted by Jpfed at 9:45 AM on February 5 [4 favorites]


I was inspired and confused by the distribution of the votes in Iowa (at least as reported on the Today show this morning). Sanders and Warren, the two more progressive candidates, had a higher combined percentage than the two more centrist candidates combined (Buttigieg and Biden), but Buttigieg came in first.
posted by kirkaracha at 9:51 AM on February 5 [3 favorites]


Buttigieg came in first in SDEs because of Iowa's mini electoral college like system where rural people count more than urban people. (Places with higher turnout also get more SDEs AFAIK but those two things are correlated). All Iowans are equal but some Iowans are more equal than others.
posted by Justinian at 10:17 AM on February 5 [2 favorites]


At some point, whichever one of them is behind should drop out. That point is not now

This sentiment, paired with the multiple threads in the Sanders subreddit full of people declaring themselves Bernie or bust because he’s been “cheated again” and getting upvoted for doing it, makes me want to gauge my eyes out same as above. Especially with the conspiracy encouragement coming from Jeff Weaver.

Like that is...literally an abusive relationship dynamic. So very serious posts that pretend these are equivalent options are one of the reasons I have to mostly check out for my mental health.
posted by schadenfrau at 10:19 AM on February 5 [10 favorites]


It's become quite obvious that Sanders could literally be accepting the nomination at the convention and if the balloon drop is delayed 7 seconds by a mechanical malfunction it will be seen as a conspiracy to rig the election against Bernie.
posted by Justinian at 10:23 AM on February 5 [26 favorites]


Last time around Bernie got about 60% of the vote in New Hampshire. This time he’s projected for somewhere in the 30’s, which is still enough to win the primary, but nowhere near enough to win the nomination.

Nobody is running away with this until somebody’s pulling up numbers over 50%. If you can rack up delegates in the meantime, you should definitely keep running.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 10:32 AM on February 5 [2 favorites]


Like that is...literally an abusive relationship dynamic. So very serious posts that pretend these are equivalent options are one of the reasons I have to mostly check out for my mental health.

What is the abusive relationship dynamic? I'm confused.

I will say that going to the reddit page for any candidate you don't support is likely to be unpleasant.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 10:36 AM on February 5 [9 favorites]


When there was a huge amount of support for Bernie during the 2016 primary that evaporated and did not move to Hillary it was easy to believe, well, they supported a progressive candidate and don't see her as one, and unfortunately maybe some of those Bernie-or-Bust-ers didn't realize how close the race was going to be with Trump and how badly their enthusiasm and efforts and votes were still needed.

I have been wondering a lot recently if Bernie's supporters will move to Liz if she wins the nomination this time around. Or even if she and Pete become the front-runners in a close primary. There can not possibly be enough policy difference between them to justify a mass abandonment by his supporters this time, right?
posted by jermsplan at 10:48 AM on February 5


I've already seen the "Warren used to be a republican" meme on my leftist social media, so I'm... skeptical :/
posted by nakedmolerats at 10:53 AM on February 5 [5 favorites]


TBH a lot of Bernie voters are Bernie voters, not Democrats. That's the reality of it. You can see that as a positive or you can see that as an indictment of Sanders/his voters/allowing him to run/progressives in general.

But be aware that "they pull their support only from loyal democrats" is one of the worst possible purity tests you can run if you want to win an election.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 10:56 AM on February 5 [6 favorites]


I have been wondering a lot recently if Bernie's supporters will move to Liz if she wins the nomination this time around. Or even if she and Pete become the front-runners in a close primary. There can not possibly be enough policy difference between them to justify a mass abandonment by his supporters this time, right?

You would hope! But, for example, one of the hosts of Chapo Trap House just tweeted this today:

"I won’t vote for anyone but Bernie in the general, can’t say what the hundreds of thousands of people who listen to my show will do, but I’m only speaking for myself. Just something to consider."
posted by Roommate at 10:59 AM on February 5 [9 favorites]


Yeah, that sounds like something the Chapo fucks would say.
posted by tobascodagama at 11:04 AM on February 5 [14 favorites]


I think the semi-joke is that people keep accusing Sanders people of this and that if it were actually true, and if beating Trump is the priority, then it would be bizarre to cite it as a reason not to vote for Sanders
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 11:06 AM on February 5 [8 favorites]


Just like the alt-right - "no, no, we're only joking when we say that shit, where's your sense of humor?"
posted by factory123 at 11:09 AM on February 5 [8 favorites]


It's obviously not a joke at all, come the fuck on.
posted by tobascodagama at 11:11 AM on February 5 [10 favorites]


‘Vote for my guy or the country gets fascism’ is a good distillation of why many folks have issues with Sandersdom.
posted by chris24 at 11:12 AM on February 5 [22 favorites]


Just like the alt-right - "no, no, we're only joking when we say that shit, where's your sense of humor?"


The difference is that the alt-right is actually a violent racist movement, and as a person of color (a latinx to boot) I'm sick and fucking tired of alleged-liberals throwing those comparisons around like a Sanders presidency would include one TENTH of the suffering and misery for people of color that a Trump presidency would

Scroll up to the people knocking people for comparing Hilary and Trump and tell me what the substantive difference is between that and what you're doing right now. I'll fucking wait.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 11:13 AM on February 5 [19 favorites]


I think it's great to vote as progressive as possible in the primaries. Even if the progressive candidate doesn't get the nomination it can pull the eventual nominee to the left on some positions.

In the general, though, the Democratic nominee is going to have policies that are closer to progressive than the Republican nominee will be. Even if you think of them as the lesser of two evils, they're still slightly less evil.

In 2016 Hillary Clinton ran on the most progressive platform in the history of the Democratic Party thanks to Bernie Sanders pressure/influence. Progressives should've voted for Clinton. Many of them didn't.
posted by kirkaracha at 11:13 AM on February 5 [6 favorites]


‘Vote for my guy or the country gets fascism’ is a good distillation of why many folks have issues with Sandersdom.

This is like...all of Biden's campaign
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 11:13 AM on February 5 [17 favorites]


“Do what I want or I’m leaving you to get killed by the other guy” is...if you don’t see how that’s an abusive dynamic, I don’t think I can help you

then it would be bizarre to cite it as a reason not to vote for Sanders

I see
posted by schadenfrau at 11:13 AM on February 5 [5 favorites]


If there's one thing the output of American action media (especially in the 80's) has emphasized, it's that when someone's taken hostages & is using the threat of harming them to exert their will the only ethical response is to
SHOOT THE HOSTAGE
posted by CrystalDave at 11:14 AM on February 5 [1 favorite]


This is like...all of Biden's campaign

There is an obvious difference between arguing you’re the best person to beat Trump and saying if you don’t vote for my guy, I’m taking my ball and going home.
posted by chris24 at 11:15 AM on February 5 [5 favorites]


This is like...all of Biden's campaign

Yeah, which is the whole fucking beef I have with the Chapo crowd. They act like their shit doesn't stink. No, it's a bad fucking look and shitty fucking politics no matter who you are.
posted by tobascodagama at 11:15 AM on February 5 [10 favorites]


Again, guys, I get it, but you realize the Dem campaign (and Biden especially) have been running variants on the "vote for our guy or you get fascism" argument for months to years against progressive candidates and policies, right?

And that's the semi-joke.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 11:16 AM on February 5 [12 favorites]


He’s not joking. His show is not funny, at all, unless you’re 100% on board with their content and strategy. Chapo Trap House, more than any other single thing, has really shot my “Bernie or Bust” radar into overdrive and has soured me on the more aggressive elements of the Bernie coalition.
posted by macrowave at 11:16 AM on February 5 [12 favorites]


I have been wondering a lot recently if Bernie's supporters will move to Liz if she wins the nomination this time around.

Liz will not win the nomination so Bernie's supporters will likely not be facing that decision. I'm not saying that because I don't like her, I do think she's fantastic so don't take this as some kind of Warren vitriol. And I sure as hell am not some kind of super-predictor as I would never have predicted Pete performing so well in Iowa. So please skip if you don't care to see some dipshit on the internet do some armchair game theorizing and pure speculation

All that said: I'd be willing to bet good money on the fact that Warren isn't going to win a single one of the first four primary states. The funds are drying up, she's already cancelling ad buys in NV and SC and in a few weeks may need to make a decision about whether to drop out before super Tuesday, especially if the consecutive primary L's hit her polling in MA hard enough to lessen her chances of a lock-in win there. She has a senate re-election in 2021 and I don't think she'd risk losing her own home state if the risk looked big enough.

Sanders ain't a shoe-in by any means but I think as far as the two progressive candidates go he stands a larger chance right now of at least staying competitive in these early contests, maybe even winning a couple, and gaining a unified progressive coalition to start slaying centrists. He also stands to activate a sizeable portion of the 100+ million people who do not normally vote, as he polls the best among non-voter demographics (younger, non-white, working class, less educated) out of any of the candidates.

So if anyone hates Pete and Joe and wants to see them lose, I'm not saying everyone HAS TO line up with Bernie and unify right the fuck now or anything but just like, I don't know, maybe start preparing yourself emotionally for the prospect of it? For soon we might all be bernie bros, bernie bros united against Trump.
posted by windbox at 11:16 AM on February 5 [15 favorites]


I wonder if we could call up Musk to see about clean energy derived from anti-progressive salt? I have a feeling it could be very productive every couple years from now on.
posted by FakeFreyja at 11:17 AM on February 5 [1 favorite]


He’s not fucking joking. He’s expressing a fairly common opinion among Bernie supporters.

And again, Biden saying he’s the best candidate to beat Trump is worlds away from saying you better vote Bernie or I’ll sit on the sidelines and won’t help defeat Trump.
posted by chris24 at 11:17 AM on February 5 [9 favorites]


Therapist: Bernie Bro isn't real, he can't hurt you.

Bernie Bro: "I won’t vote for anyone but Bernie in the general, can’t say what the hundreds of thousands of people who listen to my show will do, but I’m only speaking for myself. Just something to consider."
posted by tobascodagama at 11:19 AM on February 5 [9 favorites]


Eric Levitz, New York: The Iowa Caucus Results Suggest We’re in for a Long, Strange Primary
As for Sanders himself, his showing in Iowa looks good, if not quite great. The senator’s lead in the popular vote narrowed over Buttigieg after realignment, which spotlights his campaign’s main challenge: While the size and vitality of his core-supporter base is unrivaled, Sanders remains a relatively unpopular second choice among the backers of every other candidate save Warren. Meanwhile, the ostensible failure of his campaign to drastically increase voter turnout or mobilize an exceptionally high number of first-time caucusgoers does not bode well for his prospects of remaking the electorate in other states. In Iowa, Sanders’s team had months to concentrate its resources on a limited playing field. It reportedly knocked on over 100,000 doors. If this was insufficient to significantly increase turnout among disaffected anti-Establishment voters, it’s hard to see the campaign achieving such turnout when it needs to spread its cash and staff more thinly across the country.

But Buttigieg’s strong showing and Biden’s weak one go a way toward mitigating these challenges. The more crowded the field remains, the higher the probability that Sanders’s high floor of support will be sufficient to win the primary. If current polling holds up, the Vermont senator is poised for a comfortable win in New Hampshire with competitive showings in Nevada and South Carolina. If his campaign can persuade Warren supporters to rally behind the front-running progressive — and thus bump his floor of support up to 30 percent instead of 20 — he should be in contention for a long time to come.
Scott Lemieux, LGM: The Post-Iowa State of the Race
I think this is right. On the one hand, Iowa cuts strongly against the always implausible theory that Sanders can just mobilize a large number of nonvoters who are alienated from the process because mainstream politicians aren’t offering policies that are left-wing enough. There’s never been any evidence that a significant such block of voters exists. Bernie is going to need the votes of a significant votes of normie Democrats to win the nomination and the vast majority of them to win a general election. A lot of members of the Bernie Extended Cinematic Universe don’t seem to understand thisand indeed the “non-voters in West Virginia want MOAR SOCIALISM fantasy” seems primarily a way of squaring the “how can we win the Democratic nomination without working with those icky shitlibs” circle — and it’s unclear how much this thinking exists in the Sanders campaign itself. As Levitz says, the fact that he’s alienated a lot of ’16 Hillary voters makes him vulnerable to a theoretical moderate unity candidate.

Having said that, Bernie also seems pretty clearly to be the favorite right now. Biden’s collapse in the Iowa polls does nothing to dissuade me from my conviction that he’s unusually weak for a nominal frontrunner, and his case is so tied to perceptions of electability he can’t afford many more underwhelming performances.
posted by tonycpsu at 11:20 AM on February 5 [5 favorites]


I'm sick and fucking tired of alleged-liberals throwing those comparisons around

Sounds like your beef is with folks like Menaker, then. If you really think that Sanders is going to be great for the party and great for the country, do you really want loud leftist voices throwing out extortion threats?
posted by factory123 at 11:20 AM on February 5 [6 favorites]


I wonder if we could call up Musk to see about clean energy derived from anti-progressive salt?

Who the ever loving FUCK is anti-progressive here?
posted by tobascodagama at 11:21 AM on February 5 [4 favorites]


I will say that going to the reddit page for any candidate you don't support is likely to be unpleasant.

I support Bernie, and Bernie subreddits are unpleasant. So much purity test nonsense filled with outrage clickbait that has the same effect as active measures, whether or not it actually is. The subreddits remind me more than anything of the Tea Party with a different underlying ethos - certainly a morally superior ethos, but on top of that is all anger and paranoia about impure allies, or karma farming off of that impulse. And it bleeds outside of Sanders subreddits into r/politics. The Reddit and Twitter bubble is not the full picture of Sanders' base of support but it's influential and importantly it feeds directly into media horse race bullshit, and makes it really hard to comfortably be a supporter.
posted by jason_steakums at 11:21 AM on February 5 [13 favorites]


if you are under the impression that Bernie's base is just entirely rude people on twitter and podcast hosts threatening not to vote you need to consider logging off, this is brain poisoning
posted by windbox at 11:21 AM on February 5 [32 favorites]


If only primary season could have started around now like it would in a remotely sane system, Castro/Booker/Harris/Gillibrand would still have money, Warren wouldn't be running out of it, and we'd all be so much better off.

It's so hard not to feel despair about the state of the country.
posted by Gadarene at 11:24 AM on February 5 [5 favorites]


Nobody says that's his entire base. People are just pointing out --accurately -- that those guys are in his base and Bernie wants them there. Which shows a severe failing of judgment, or at best a really shitty opportunism. See also: Joe Rogan.
posted by tobascodagama at 11:24 AM on February 5 [6 favorites]


if you are under the impression that Bernie's base is just entirely rude people on twitter and podcast hosts threatening not to vote you need to consider logging off, this is brain poisoning

Of course it’s not, but Sandersdom is also not devoid of a not insignificant minority of Bros and horseshoe theory assholes that a lot of Sanders folks like to pretend or assert don’t exist.
posted by chris24 at 11:24 AM on February 5 [3 favorites]


Motes and fucking planks, I swear to fucking god.
posted by tobascodagama at 11:25 AM on February 5 [3 favorites]


Nobody says that's his entire base. People are just pointing out --accurately -- that those guys are in his base and Bernie wants them there. Which shows a severe failing of judgment, or at best a really shitty opportunism. See also: Joe Rogan.

You're right, we should only let people who we like vote for our candidate. I think that is a great idea. I'm surprised you don't get paid to do political strategy full-time.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 11:25 AM on February 5 [20 favorites]


Except Will Menaker isn't some random douchebro on Reddit -- he's a major figure in the Sandersphere who not only reflects the sentiment of the Extremely Online activist base, but is in a position to influence that sentiment with a single tweet. The stuff that happens online doesn't exist in a vacuum -- it percolates into the volunteer base, and then into the more persuadable members of the coalition who may never see the tweet but will hear their coworker or someone knocking on their door saying the same shit.
posted by tonycpsu at 11:25 AM on February 5 [9 favorites]


The funds are drying up, she's already cancelling ad buys in NV and SC and in a few weeks may need to make a decision about whether to drop out before super Tuesday

New Hampshire is less than a week away. Super Tuesday is less than 4 weeks away. Why on earth would a candidate run for a whole year only to drop out after like 3 weeks of actual voting?

Also Warren isn’t up again until 2024.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 11:28 AM on February 5 [7 favorites]


Serious question: Am I the only person alive who finds it genuinely dangerous when the left is equated with the actively genocidal "alt" right? Or do people actually think they're comparable?
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 11:30 AM on February 5 [25 favorites]


if you are under the impression that Bernie's base is just entirely rude people on twitter and podcast hosts threatening not to vote you need to consider logging off, this is brain poisoning

As a part of Bernie's base I think it's a big mistake to give the loud dickheads among us a free pass to paint the rest of us in their image, it's kind of on the rest of us to call them out instead of getting upset that everyone on the outside is turned off by shitty behavior done in our name that we just let slide.

It's the fucking missing stair problem, it's immoral to just accept it when you're aware of it.
posted by jason_steakums at 11:30 AM on February 5 [45 favorites]


Ah, the Sanders-supporters-are-nazis strategy from 2016. Like slipping into a comfortable old pair of pants. I wonder where the 30% of non-white voters supporting him fall into it.
posted by FakeFreyja at 11:31 AM on February 5 [11 favorites]


CrystalDave: "If there's one thing the output of American action media (especially in the 80's) has emphasized, it's that when someone's taken hostages & is using the threat of harming them to exert their will the only ethical response is to
SHOOT THE HOSTAGE
"

Okay, but what does that mean in this situation? Non "Bernie or Die" people are the hostage? American democracy is the hostage? What? And what does shooting it mean?

[Also, that line is from Speed, which was released in 1994]
posted by Chrysostom at 11:31 AM on February 5 [4 favorites]


It's the fucking missing stair problem, it's immoral to just accept it when you're aware of it.

No, see, missing stairs are fine if the stair is our guy, and only a class traitor would bring it up.
posted by tobascodagama at 11:33 AM on February 5 [17 favorites]


Every presidential election, leftists are told they have to hold their noses and vote for the moderate candidate the party has selected, because the alternative is a reactionary republican. Now that a leftist is the leading nominee, Menaker is having fun twisting this dynamic to the left's benefit. I can't imagine being that mad about this.
posted by One Second Before Awakening at 11:44 AM on February 5 [16 favorites]


NYT:
Candidate Total S.D.E.s* Pct. Pledged delegates
Pete Buttigieg 442 26.9% 11
Bernie Sanders 414 25.2 11
Elizabeth Warren 299 18.2 5
Joseph R. Biden Jr. 257 15.6 0
Amy Klobuchar 206 12.5 0

75% reporting (1,320 of 1,765 precincts)

*Candidate totals are state delegate equivalents, which are derived from caucus vote tallies and determine the number of pledged delegates each candidate receives.
posted by katra at 11:48 AM on February 5


It's the fucking missing stair problem, it's immoral to just accept it when you're aware of it.

Look, I get the impulse and I think it is admirable to want to deal with and prevent this. I study political violence in the US, including harassment, threats, etc. because I agree that it's a serious problem. But it's important to note that the solutions that we keep getting sold are not typically about solving the problem, they're about taking political advantage of the problem. They're about sowing fear, in women and people of color, especially, about leftism.

When it comes to serious gamergate-ish stuff, you and I can't actually do anything about it. We aren't the police, we don't own the ISPs, we can't actually keep people from harassing, threatening, etc. And it happens to women and people of color (and women of color) in every political movement except the movements that the police and/or FBI give a shit about. Trust me, women who are vocally in favor of Sanders get doxxed, death threats, the works. Women who are in favor of...literally just talking online about politics at all, same.

Yet you don't see people saying "where is the FBI" when marginalized women get death threats for saying something bad about Sanders. You see a bunch of feckless, useless rhetoric. Why? Because for the most influential people pushing this line, over and over again, it's not about allowing women to speak. It's about terrorizing people without actually pointing the finger where it belongs.

Of course, at least some of the time, when we talk about the problematic left, we are actually just talking about people saying political things that other people don't like. Menaker's tweet is the perfect example of this. You might hate it; you might thing he's a smug fuckball; you might think he's a bad person. But implying that that tweet is akin to gendered violence (which includes harassment); implying or saying that tweet is akin to the alt-right---both factually and morally wrong.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 11:48 AM on February 5 [12 favorites]


[Warren is] already cancelling ad buys in NV and SC

Do you have a source for this?
posted by mediareport at 11:49 AM on February 5 [1 favorite]


Surely this has been posted in this thread already..? At any rate, the question of how many of a particular candidates' supporters will then go on to support another nominee has been asked and answered.
posted by oneirodynia at 11:49 AM on February 5 [3 favorites]


I've been watching people say for the past three years they'll vote for anyone except Sanders. "I won't vote for another white man", blatantly erasing his jewishness. Is that not the same?
posted by kafziel at 11:51 AM on February 5 [4 favorites]


The real abusers are the ones who point out the abuse. It's positively Trumpian.
posted by factory123 at 11:52 AM on February 5 [3 favorites]


[Y'all please remember that the electoral system is not going to be solved if we have just the right kind of fight in here, and redirect this stuff-is-complicated-and-shitty energy into something other than this thread. We need to bring it down a couple notches in here.]
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:53 AM on February 5 [15 favorites]


I had to shout at my dad, who hopes for Biden/Harris, for an hour over breakfast this weekend to get him agree to vote for whomever the Democratic candidate is. I don't feel I should have to do the same with my Ride or Die Sanders supporting brother in law.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 11:53 AM on February 5 [5 favorites]


The real abusers are the ones who point out the abuse. It's positively Trumpian.

Who or what is doing this Trumpian thing? I want to be 100% sure that I understand what you're saying here.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 11:58 AM on February 5 [1 favorite]


Who said he had to denounce and apologize. People were saying that hopefully Sanderites would support a nominee with much of the same views and someone posted the tweet as an unfortunate counter example.
posted by chris24 at 11:59 AM on February 5 [4 favorites]


what does that mean in this situation? Non "Bernie or Die" people are the hostage? American democracy is the hostage? What? And what does shooting it mean?
Admittedly I'm not entirely sure, there's a lot of this behavior going on on all sides.

You have the above Chapo "If my candidate isn't the candidate I prefer Trump" statement (which, given his past statements supporting sexual assault among other things, means it doesn't sound like any sort of joke to me)

You have the Biden-style "I'm the unity candidate, so if you don't support me you're supporting Trump" statements

You have, as has been astutely pointed out many times, a long history of the DNC leaning on "what, are you going to vote for the Republican?" and then running as far-right of a candidate as they think they can get away with

At this point it seems like everybody sees this as a no-cost action with the bonus of being ready in the hot seat if things fall apart because "I told them if they didn't line up behind me we'd get Trump", and there's no Solomon's Baby style "Whoever cares most about things not falling further apart wins because they're most willing to give up Their Way" outcome here.

And there's room to try parsing out the subtle differences (As seen above, endless layers of "they did it to us, so it's alright that I do it to them", "one or none" vs. "anybody but this one person, please", etc), and I really have no room to advocate people who have been materially harmed by various candidates vote for them anyhow,

but I'm tired of this being the only outcome/question, and I'm tired of "We would have won if you had just followed me, so I'm blameless in this outcome".
posted by CrystalDave at 11:59 AM on February 5 [8 favorites]


Biden saying he’s the best candidate to beat Trump is worlds away from saying you better vote Bernie or I’ll sit on the sidelines and won’t help defeat Trump.

A higher percentage of 2016 Sanders primary voters (74%) voted for Clinton in the general election than 2008 Clinton primary voters voted for Obama (70%); also, a higher percentage of 2008 Clinton voters voted for McCain (25%) than 2016 Sanders voters voted for Trump (13%, which is the same percentage as 2012 Obama voters who voted for Trump in 2016). It's super frustrating to keep hearing the same tired and stupid arguments. But hey, if that's the best use of your energy, go ahead.
posted by Pseudonymous Cognomen at 12:00 PM on February 5 [30 favorites]


If we could maybe pivot briefly back to the topic of this thread, what the fuck is happening that it's now Wednesday afternoon and we're still only at 75% of the Iowa results? We've learned a lot about the Shadow debacle, but that should have at worst delayed things overnight till they got all the paper.

Why has nobody from either the IDP or DNC explained in any detail why they still haven't released all the results, or what the timeline for the rest is? They need to explain exactly what happened, what measures have been and are being taken to get a complete count, why they've taken so long, and what the timeline is for completion. The lack of transparency deepens the cloud over the whole system, and makes it easier and easier to believe that the party is putting its finger on the scales.
posted by strangely stunted trees at 12:01 PM on February 5 [14 favorites]


2008 isn’t 2016 or 2020, and McCain isn’t Trump, and we have polling that shows Biden and Warren supporters will support the nominee in much higher numbers than Sanders’.
posted by chris24 at 12:03 PM on February 5 [3 favorites]


I say this without taking a position on it, but many of the Bernie-or-bust voters wouldn't have voted for the Democratic candidate anyway. They aren't lost or misled Democrats; they're people who would not have voted at all or would have voted third party because they don't think that the Democrats, as a party, meaningfully improve on the Republicans. I think that metafilter, which skews liberal, is not always familiar with such activist left as there is in the US - many people don't vote in national elections, for reasons which are not in fact totally easy to dismiss. Many of those people see a possibility of transformative change through Sanders and they're voting this time.

I don't think that most serious devotees of Chapo Trap House would be out door-knocking for BlueNoMatterWho if only they hadn't been misled by a podcast.

I cannot stress enough that the best way to win the presidency is not in fact to worry about the very small percentage of the left who don't vote on principle but to activate the much larger number of people who don't vote because they feel unheard, feel uninformed, can't get to the polls, have their voter registration fucked with, have their polling place closed, etc etc.

People who are firmly committed to the Way of Chapo Trap House are very few. When I talk to, like, such of the Young Left as I personally know, most of them don't know what it is, because not everyone is very online. Some people listen to it. Everyone I've met who is Sanders-or-bust isn't really a regular voter anyway.

Me, I'm voting for the CDC and the EPA if I can't vote for Sanders.

~~
On another note: closing the detention camps and dismantling ICE are really important to me. Based on the Obama years, I don't think anyone at all likely to win the presidency except Sanders will do this. When I think of voting in someone who either won't care or will be unwilling to brute force the executive orders needed to close the camps, I feel sick and angry. It is this more than anything which gives me a lot of sympathy for Bernie-or-bust types.
posted by Frowner at 12:04 PM on February 5 [45 favorites]


2016 Sanders voters voted for Trump (13%, which is the same percentage as 2012 Obama voters who voted for Trump in 2016)

Obama was much more centrist than Sanders, the question is why isn't the Sanders number much less?
posted by PenDevil at 12:07 PM on February 5 [1 favorite]


I feel like it's the Sanders supporters who are always on the defense in these threads, but I would like to know why the Warren supporters haven't switched over to him yet. If, as they always say, the two candidates are nearly identical on policy, why not support the more electorally viable of the two? Sanders is currently the leader of the primary. Why are they trying to split the progressive vote? Their purity politics are going to get us a centrist who will lose to Trump.
posted by One Second Before Awakening at 12:08 PM on February 5 [4 favorites]


2008 isn’t 2016 or 2020, and McCain isn’t Trump, and we have polling that shows Biden and Warren supporters will support the nominee in much higher numbers than Sanders’.


And a primary isn't a general election, and someone voting for a specific candidate because of agreement on certain issues isn't guaranteed to vote for another candidate with different (and in many cases potentially more right-wing) policies. Personally I plan to vote for whoever the Democratic nominee is, like I have in every election since I've been able to vote, for the simple reason that if Trump wins a second term, America is effectively over. I'm enough of a pragmatist not to let the perfect be the enemy of the good. But I also respect the right of people to vote their conscience, wherever that may guide them (which is kind of the whole point of democracy, I thought); if someone decides to vote for a third party or not vote because their favoired candidate didn't win the nomination, then that's their right (I could wish they'd do otherwise, but bullying, haranguing and insulting aren't going to make them change their minds).
posted by Pseudonymous Cognomen at 12:09 PM on February 5 [3 favorites]


I feel like it's the Sanders supporters who are always on the defense in these threads,

Being defensive and being on the defense are not precisely the same thing.
posted by tobascodagama at 12:10 PM on February 5 [9 favorites]


Which Warren supporters are saying Bernie should drop out? The question has been about supporting whoever eventually becomes the nominee. Why should anyone in the top three and within 8% drop out after one vote?
posted by chris24 at 12:10 PM on February 5 [16 favorites]


I don't understand how they're choosing what to release. I checked on Winneshiek County, the county where I went to college. The Des Moines Register results page, which has the statewide 75% complete figure that folks are referencing above, shows Winneshiek County as 73% complete. However, the Winneshiek County Dems released the full county results (PDF) to the media this morning. Results for the county's 11 precincts all fit on a single page (albeit with some odd formatting choices), so it's not like we're dealing with large quantities of data.
posted by bassooner at 12:11 PM on February 5 [2 favorites]


I would like to know why the Warren supporters haven't switched over to him yet.

We just had the first primary vote 2 days ago. It's a bit early. Personally, I'll continue splitting my small donations between the Warren and Sanders campaigns (which is why I'd love to know where windbox got their info that Warren is "already cancelling ad buys" in Nevada and South Carolina - I'd like to maximize my meager impact).
posted by mediareport at 12:16 PM on February 5 [8 favorites]


> The question has been about supporting whoever eventually becomes the nominee.

Precisely. The minute Warren drops out, I will be Feeling the Bern. Whether it's a result of careless thinking or an attempt to misrepresent the facts, this conflation of Sanders supporters who say they won't support any one else and Warren supporters who aren't giving up after one disappointing result is regrettable.
posted by tonycpsu at 12:16 PM on February 5 [12 favorites]


And Warren's results weren't that bad. She outperformed her polls, finished a reasonable third in a contest where the saying has always been "there's three tickets out of Iowa", was a top gainer on realignment and is getting a decent amount of delegates.

That said, she probably needs a first or second in NH.
posted by chris24 at 12:21 PM on February 5 [4 favorites]


Bernie is getting fewer votes this time around than he did last time.

If this goes to the convention, my Super Tuesday Warren vote and her delegates still have value, even if she finishes third.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 12:21 PM on February 5 [5 favorites]


The other reason nobody is talking about Warren and dropping out is literally 0% of her supporters polled said they wouldn't support whoever the nominee was.
posted by chris24 at 12:25 PM on February 5 [14 favorites]


My partner and I both voted Sanders in the primary. We live in NY, so when it came to the general, I voted Clinton, and they wrote in Sanders.

Four years later, we're far more radical than we were. They've moved from being a firm Bernie supporter who was a huge fan of everything about him to believing that Bernie Sanders is just acceptable. They've embrace full-blown leftist anarchism and will never consider voting for anyone that isn't Bernie Sanders and someone to the left of him.

I've shifted from being a liberal to a social democrat to a full-blown socialist. I want a full worker-owned economy and worker-owned government. Sanders will help transition to that, and so I support him, but I want more in the future. I'm probably more pragmatic ("compromised" to the uncharitable), but there's no one else in the Democratic primary that can shift us away—even slightly—from capitalism and ruin.

It's socialism or barbarism, folks. The cave entrance has collapsed. They only way out is through this.
posted by Lord Chancellor at 12:26 PM on February 5 [12 favorites]


Bernie is getting fewer votes this time around than he did last time.

There were only 3 major candidates - Clinton, Sanders and O'Malley - in the race at that time. Of course Sanders will be getting fewer votes this time.
posted by mediareport at 12:28 PM on February 5 [13 favorites]


a higher percentage of 2008 Clinton voters voted for McCain

That's great news! For John McCain!
posted by kirkaracha at 12:28 PM on February 5 [1 favorite]


Oh, god, I humbly apologize for causing this derail. I had literally just seen that tweet when I came here and read jermsplan's comment and thought it was relevant. I wish I could take it back.

So, back to the topic at hand: Seriously, yes, this slow trickle of results (from 71% yesterday to only 75% today) is obnoxious and enraging. WTF is going on in Iowa?
posted by Roommate at 12:29 PM on February 5


The other reason nobody is asking about Warren and dropping out is literally 0% of her supporters polled said they wouldn't support whoever the nominee was.

But wondering whether she should drop out makes more sense given that fact, because it wouldn't affect the number of voters voting against Trump and would allow a faster rally around the eventual nominee?

I don't think she should drop out, at all, but what you're saying doesn't make a lot of sense except in an "I think Sanders should drop out because his supporters are dicks" kind of way which, cool, I hear that, but I hope you realize that it doesn't actually make that much sense strategically
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 12:30 PM on February 5 [2 favorites]


Results for the county's 11 precincts all fit on a single page (albeit with some odd formatting choices), so it's not like we're dealing with large quantities of data.

This is the thing that's completely wild to me. Supposedly everyone running these caucuses has paper documents verifying the results for every precinct, but they still can't find a way to tabulate the results? This isn't even that big of an election. Iowa has over 3 million people and only 170,000 of them even caucused. You probably could have sent election officials to the house of everyone who participated by now to ask them what they did on Monday.

I don't think this is evidence of rigging, but I do think it's evidence that the people running this were brutally incompetent and seemingly have spent the last 36 hours uselessly panicking and making pretty much everyone who cares about the results of this election angry.
posted by Copronymus at 12:31 PM on February 5 [10 favorites]


On the caucus itself, there are two big effects:
1) Joe Biden has lost his magic. He said "vote for me if you want to win" and he didn't. Even more, he's not expected to win the next two states. If someone's main selling point is they win, and they don't, their voters flee.
2) Buttigieg (maybe) won, but it doesn't matter. Everyone thinks he's a rat that jumped the gun, his path to victory in any of the next several states is non-existent, and he's just not enough to hold down the anti-progressive faction.

Other candidates:
1) Sanders is in a great position. He's expected to do very well next week and NV looks good for him. While the rest of his opponents are disorganized, he's going to deliver victories—and victories are addicting to voters.
2) Warren is down but not out. She didn't bomb, but she's not doing great. Unless she runs out of money, she'll probably keep slicing off 15% here and there. If she stays in, she'll be a third. Her main point will be to deliver her delegates to a different candidate.
3) No one cares about Bloomberg. To become the nominee, you have to get delegates. Bloomberg is a theoretical candidate that has nothing, especially if a mortally-wounded Biden candidacy continues to limp forward.
posted by Lord Chancellor at 12:32 PM on February 5 [3 favorites]


Honestly conflating people who support Bernie Sanders with “Bernie Bros” and amplifying Sanders supporters on Twitter who are mean to other people as emblematic of all Sanders supporters is fucking racist bullshit. The Sanders coalition is full of POC. Don’t erase them
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 12:34 PM on February 5 [27 favorites]


Thank you, MisantropicPainforest.

It seems a few here are hellbent on rehashing already refuted arguments.
posted by Ahmad Khani at 12:36 PM on February 5 [3 favorites]


I don't think she should drop out, at all, but what you're saying doesn't make a lot of sense except in an "I think Sanders should drop out because his supporters are dicks" kind of way which, cool, I hear that, but I hope you realize that it doesn't actually make that much sense strategically

Where the fuck have I said Sanders should drop out. I said Sanders has some supporters who are Bernie or Bust and that isn't helpful.
posted by chris24 at 12:37 PM on February 5 [4 favorites]


I thought that you implied that there was a connection between Sanders supporters not committing to the eventual nominee and it making sense for someone to drop out, but if that's not what you intended, mea culpa
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 12:38 PM on February 5 [2 favorites]


Not what I think I said and definitely not my intention.
posted by chris24 at 12:42 PM on February 5 [3 favorites]


Getting Donald Trump away from the levers of power is the #1 concern of this election. If the case for that hasn't been self-evident over the past four years (since the moment he rode down that cursed escalator) then I don't know what to tell you.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 12:45 PM on February 5 [13 favorites]


I've said in the past that people have the right to vote for whomever they wish, but that needs to come with acknowledgement of what that accomplishes. In this case, saying it is your primary candidate or nobody is actively telling those who have suffered under Trump's leadership that you do not give a shit.

For a primary, you should absolutely be voting for your preferred candidate - but if they don't make it, you are stuck with the candidate who did.

Voting against someone instead of for someone may not be ideal and may even come with distaste - but when it comes to Trump and the further slide to the authoritarian right and the empowerment of overt white nationalism, complacency is complicity. It may not be a comfortable truth, but is absolutely the case right now. Stating that you won't vote for anyone else - especially when ANY of them would mark the end of Trump's era and more positive leadership - is implicit support of Trump. It was one thing before he was in the office, but now we absolutely know what the nation looks like with him in charge. Ask yourself if you could have easily done anything to stop Trump if you would have... voting for your non-preferred candidate in the general is one of those cases.

I'd like to point to the recent election in KY where Matt Bevin, the former governor and a die-hard Trumpist, one of the trumpiest of all, was ousted just barely by Andy Beshear- the most generically neutral candidate possible to the point that I cannot tell you anything about him other than he's the son of a former Governor. Many on the left were beyond frustrated when he ended up being the chosen candidate, much of that directed at the local Democratic party - It's not unlike what you see with a lot of us who have expressed frustrations at the nation-wide Democratic organizations. The campaign wasn't so much pro-beshear as it was anti-bevin.

That vote was decided by a very very slim margin, much of it by people who certainly had distaste for Beshear. Because of it, Kentucky is going to be indisputably in better shape than it would be otherwise. There certainly isn't any chance of them becoming a socialist paradise or anything even more than right of center for a long time, but people are not actively being hurt and the state is not actively being destroyed anymore. Bevin was literally destroying the state- both as an institution, and environmentally.

Beshear may not be a socialist, but with him in the office, the structures that offer the most socialized benefits to the residents will not only remain intact, but may even be re-established. It doesn't have to be full-blown socialism to see the results of socialized benefits and structures.
posted by MysticMCJ at 12:46 PM on February 5 [41 favorites]


> Honestly conflating people who support Bernie Sanders with “Bernie Bros” and amplifying Sanders supporters on Twitter who are mean to other people as emblematic of all Sanders supporters is fucking racist bullshit. The Sanders coalition is full of POC. Don’t erase them

Occurrences of the phrase "Bernie Bro" in this thread:

Pull quote from an obviously satirical NYMag piece on why your favorite candidate sucks.

Apparent Bernie supporter calling for unity between factions of the left.

Comment referring to a Chapo host's divisive Bernie-or-bust rhetoric, applying that term specifically to that one individual, not any other Sanders supporters.

Your comment asking for people to stop conflating when nobody has actually been conflating.
posted by tonycpsu at 12:51 PM on February 5 [17 favorites]


Voting against someone instead of for someone may not be ideal and may even come with distaste - but when it comes to Trump and the further slide to the authoritarian right and the empowerment of overt white nationalism, complacency is complicity. It may not be a comfortable truth, but is absolutely the case right now. Stating that you won't vote for anyone else - especially when ANY of them would mark the end of Trump's era and more positive leadership - is implicit support of Trump. It was one thing before he was in the office, but now we absolutely know what the nation looks like with him in charge. Ask yourself if you could have easily done anything to stop Trump if you would have... voting for your non-preferred candidate in the general is one of those cases.

Exactly. It's like standing at the helm of the Titanic and proclaiming you won't steer away from the iceberg because you're not satisfied with the selection of colors that adorn the deck chairs.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 12:52 PM on February 5 [12 favorites]


I told you to go with the teal, Kyle.
posted by kirkaracha at 12:56 PM on February 5 [4 favorites]


I told you to go with the teal, Kyle.

The Democratic electorate just had to go with Lapis Lazuli. If only it was Sky Blue maybe they could have won.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 12:59 PM on February 5 [3 favorites]


I'm voting for the Democratic candidate, even if it's the pretend-to-be-Dem-for-presidential-election-purposes guy... the same guy I think ought to have dropped out after his heart attack in October. If Sanders had done that, and thrown to Warren, his less-reasonable supporters might have an easier time following his lead in the months that followed.
posted by Iris Gambol at 12:59 PM on February 5 [3 favorites]


Iowa caucuses did one thing right: Require paper ballots (Herbert Lin, The Conversation)
[…] the results, ultimately, will be clear and undisputed because, amid everything they did wrong, the Iowa Democratic Party did one thing right: It required that votes be counted on paper, and then tallied electronically. To those of us who study cybersecurity carefully, that’s crucial.

With that paper trail, the Democrats – and the nation as a whole – will be able to regard this event as a case study in how to recover from a poorly run election. In this case, outside hackers do not appear to responsible – rather, the election was “hacked” by a bad software development and testing process.

Eventually, the party will be able to reassemble the pieces of what happened at caucuses around the state and determine who won. Without the paper trail, there would never be any clarity – just a whole lot of doubt.
posted by ZeusHumms at 1:08 PM on February 5 [11 favorites]


Ask yourself if you could have easily done anything to stop Trump if you would have... voting for your non-preferred candidate in the general is one of those cases.

The troll is: doesn't this apply to the primary then? If the only way to drag these terrible, but unfortunately countless, Bernie-or-busters along and secure victory is to have Bernie win, shouldn't everyone just agree to vote for him? Isn't that the pragmatic thing to do?

It's a childish taunt. "Oh, I'm a such-and-such, am I? Fine I'll act like a such-and-such." (Regardless of whether they were called a such-and-such first or acted like a such-and-such first) And then, regardless if the threat is sincere or not, they get their desired outcome of people getting tied up in knots about it.
posted by Regal Ox Inigo at 1:14 PM on February 5 [3 favorites]


I’m sorry but there’s a lot of weird anti-Sanders stuff going thru this thread right now and it’s kind of astonishing to see, and I don’t know the age makeup of y’all who are commenting but a lot of my cohort (millennials and Gen Z, and quite a bit of Gen X and still quite a bit of boomers!!!) are EXTREMELY pushing for Bernie to win, and we aren’t podcast hosts, we aren’t part of the “dirtbag left”, we aren’t super big on twitter, we’re just fucking regular people. My fucking parents, who are leaving the country because of Trump, who are in their 70’s, are huge Bernie fans for fucks sake.

A large contingent of Bernie’s base is online, they are younger, they have and make stupid inside jokes, and they are vociferously angry. These should be good things in most cases. A lot of women who are feminists, a lot of trans-women, a lot of WoC, PoC, are huge Bernie fans. Do not erase them. I’ve seen nonstop a ton of women talk about how disgusted they are that people expect them to vote for Warren just because she’s a woman. Don’t erase them. I’ve seen a lot of people (especially gay trans-women, of all people) make “un-PC jokes” and get viciously attacked for it (calling Pete a “fake gay”). The ppl attacking them aren’t other Bernie fans, let me tell you that.

A fucking huge contingent of people want Bernie and his platform to be the future. People are talking about this shit as if Pete blew Bernie out in Iowa. He fucking didn’t. Bernie has a loud and vocal online consortium of voters, but that ain’t everyone, and to sit here and say “well they should be quiet bc they’re making everyone else look bad!!” is fucking ridiculous.

Pete’s a guy who worked at McKinsey literally studying how to make the world look the way he thinks it should look like, in line with McKinsey’s non-stop fascistic makeover of “democratic corporations” (see the thread on here about it) and ppl want to talk about lesser of two evils? Pete’s a fascist Republican running a clever campaign as a Democrat and banking on his “I’m gay” credentials to get him in power. Warren is a great antidote to him, as she wants to retain the capitalistic element of the nation, but wants to dial back on this corporate management culture and give workers back some control.

If Pete wins the nom I’m sorry, I most likely will not be voting (I actually won’t be in country so it may not even matter). He’s a liar, nonstop. He’s always been a lying rat, and I’ll be damned if I get tricked by that shit.

Warren, I’ll vote for her 100%, even if I don’t 100% believe in her views. Wanna know why? Because at least Warren has guts and integrity and has lived up to her views and isn’t weasly about it, even when it’s come down to her old views. She’s a capitalist, she admits it, she use to be a Republican, whatever.

For what it’s worth, I voted for Hillary, even though I vociferously disagreed with a ton of her views leading up to even when she adopted Bernie’s platform (because I did not believe her to actually go through with pushing much of it through in office), and I’ve defended Hillary on here hundreds of times. For me and a lot of my generation, it really is “Bernie or bust”, especially in an election filled with billionaire oligarchs and filthy rats.

Signed,


A young person who is very scared of the future.
posted by gucci mane at 1:15 PM on February 5 [41 favorites]


NYT: Texas officials say Super Tuesday results may be delayed.
Though the state is not using a new app to record results or planning to understaff help lines, the Texas Democratic Party said that the secretary of state informed them that some presidential primary results could be delayed on election night on Super Tuesday.

The state party said that officials from the Texas secretary of state informed them in a meeting in January that a complex formula to award delegates based on votes in State Senate districts could delay delegate results on Super Tuesday, March 3. [...] With 228 delegates to award, any delay in Texas could throw a new batch of uncertainty on the most critical night of the presidential primary. The Texas secretary of state’s office did not respond to emails and voice messages requesting comment.
This is Hell
posted by Rust Moranis at 1:16 PM on February 5 [7 favorites]


I’m sorry but there’s a lot of weird anti-Sanders stuff going thru this thread right now and it’s kind of astonishing to see,

Expect a lot more of it in the next few weeks. The Twitter talking points are swirling so you'll hear the same old nonsense coming from all the Very Online usual suspects.

Just ignore it, it's not actually a widespread authentic sentiment.
posted by FakeFreyja at 1:19 PM on February 5 [7 favorites]


even if it's the pretend-to-be-Dem-for-presidential-election-purposes guy... the same guy I think ought to have dropped out after his heart attack

Bloomberg had a heart attack?
posted by soundguy99 at 1:23 PM on February 5 [13 favorites]


MetaFilter's politics threads are definitely the most consistently anti-Sanders internet discussion group I frequent, and it's very weird to me.
posted by One Second Before Awakening at 1:25 PM on February 5 [19 favorites]


(I actually won’t be in country so it may not even matter)

Trump has access to the nuclear codes. I hope your country is out of range.
posted by Joey Michaels at 1:26 PM on February 5 [5 favorites]


Buttigieg had a heart attack?
posted by box at 1:27 PM on February 5 [6 favorites]


On another note: closing the detention camps and dismantling ICE are really important to me. Based on the Obama years, I don't think anyone at all likely to win the presidency except Sanders will do this. When I think of voting in someone who either won't care or will be unwilling to brute force the executive orders needed to close the camps, I feel sick and angry. It is this more than anything which gives me a lot of sympathy for Bernie-or-bust types.

But for me, this is what gives me less sympathy, like zero sympathy. Yes, it makes me angry that voting for any Democrat is not enough here, that these policies have done enormous harm under both Republican and Democratic administrations, and that it's going to take more work and activism to try to achieve a more just system no matter who I vote for. But no matter who wins the Democratic nomination, the election this November is going consist of a vote between Stephen Miller's immigration policy and, you know, not that. They're not the same. A centrist Democrat is not morally equivalent to Trump.

The Obama years brought DACA and the attempt at DAPA and the immigration enforcement priorities. They also brought many deportations and the continued terror of ICE. Both are true. Is there a single immigration activist in this country who wouldn't prefer to go back to the Obama years right now? And then go right back to using every lever of power they can to push that administration to do better and call out the abuses?

And if you're in the brightest of bright blue state and can't bear the personal responsibility of bubbling in the oval next to the name of someone whose government will do something awful in your name (that's every candidate, but whatever), well then you do you, but the very least you can do in that situation is not poison the well for everyone else.
posted by zachlipton at 1:28 PM on February 5 [20 favorites]


The Twitter talking points are swirling so you'll hear the same old nonsense coming from all the Very Online usual suspects. Just ignore it, it's not actually a widespread authentic sentiment.

Oh FFS Sanders is my second choice. That doesn't mean he or his supporters are immune to criticism.
posted by chris24 at 1:31 PM on February 5 [14 favorites]


Bloomberg had heart surgery 20 years ago; Buttigieg hasn't got a heart.
posted by Iris Gambol at 1:31 PM on February 5 [8 favorites]


Nate Cohn with NYT is now is now saying that the latest batch of results appears to be incorrectly reporting Sanders votes to Patrick and Steyer. What the hell is happening in Iowa?
posted by strangely stunted trees at 1:33 PM on February 5 [9 favorites]


Ah, cool, this will surely improve everyone's opinion of the credibility of even the already official results. I think it got caught initially because someone was wondering how Deval Patrick was above Yang in delegates, and it turns out the answer is that someone in the IDP is just putting things in the wrong boxes in the official results tally.

This combined with the numerous reports of people who worked on the caucuses trying to get the IDP to accept their tallies and being rebuffed is just mind-meltingly fucking infuriating.
posted by Copronymus at 1:34 PM on February 5 [5 favorites]


I would like to know why the Warren supporters haven't switched over to him yet.

Why are you so eager to dance on her campaign's grave? There's been exactly one primary in a small state; can you just let this play out for the next few months? If and when Warren officially drops out, I'll make my decision on who to support based on who else is left in the race at that time.
posted by octothorpe at 1:36 PM on February 5 [26 favorites]


I also saw a map this morning showing that the districts left out of that early 62% release were mostly areas that Bernie was projected to win.

I would really like to know why all these mistakes and delays seem to specifically damage the Sanders campaign.
posted by One Second Before Awakening at 1:38 PM on February 5 [5 favorites]


I’ve seen nonstop a ton of women talk about how disgusted they are that people expect them to vote for Warren just because she’s a woman.

Who are these people who claim that folks should vote for Warren just because she’s a woman? Where is this coming from? I don’t see it in the campaign itself.

(Sorry to cherry-pick from a much longer comment full of many other agreeable points: I’m just wondering about this particular issue.)
posted by macrowave at 1:38 PM on February 5 [7 favorites]


This thread is a masterclass in sealioning
posted by Ahmad Khani at 1:40 PM on February 5 [6 favorites]


> The troll is: doesn't this apply to the primary then?

You are correct, that is trolling.
posted by MysticMCJ at 1:41 PM on February 5 [2 favorites]


Nate Cohn with NYT is now is now saying that the latest batch of results appears to be incorrectly reporting Sanders votes to Patrick and Steyer. What the hell is happening in Iowa?

The IDP now says: "There will be a minor correction to the last batch of results and we will be pushing an update momentarily."

I realize they've got issues, but the lack of transparency and their inability to explain what the heck is going on has been a disaster.
posted by zachlipton at 1:44 PM on February 5 [4 favorites]


I would really like to know why all these mistakes and delays seem to specifically damage the Sanders campaign.

I don't like that implication. It's just a long (but coincidental) series of unprecedented coincidences that very coincidentally harm one specific candidate exclusively. Coincidentally.
posted by FakeFreyja at 1:46 PM on February 5 [5 favorites]


This was the last straw that pushed me from thinking it was just incompetence to actually believing there's intentional manipulation going on.
posted by One Second Before Awakening at 1:46 PM on February 5 [7 favorites]


This was the last straw that pushed me from thinking it was just incompetence to actually believing there's intentional manipulation going on.

A continued display of incompetence from demonstrably incompetent people has led you to conclude that what's happening is not incompetence?
posted by zachlipton at 1:49 PM on February 5 [17 favorites]


In this case, saying it is your primary candidate or nobody is actively telling those who have suffered under Trump's leadership that you do not give a shit.

Then what is constantly criticizing someone for bringing voters into the anti-Trump camp who otherwise wouldn't be there?

Also be aware when you respond to me that you are talking to someone who is a member of multiple groups that have been targeted under Trump and that you (probably, knowing the demos of the people who do this kind of thing the most) are not a member of that group
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 1:49 PM on February 5 [4 favorites]


Troy Price and Tom Perez need to resign, today. Even if this is just incompetence rather than something more nefarious, which is getting harder and harder to believe, it's at the point where there needs to be leadership accountability. The DNC owns this too, especially after stepping in to "take over" the counting today.

The DNC should bring in independent forensic auditors to review both the results and all of the breakdowns in the process, and release the findings publicly.
posted by strangely stunted trees at 1:50 PM on February 5 [9 favorites]


A continued display of incompetence from demonstrably incompetent people has led you to conclude that what's happening is not incompetence?

At this point it's naive to NOT think there's something intentionally shady going on here.

I mean, is there ANYTHING that you wouldn't excuse away like this?

I guess I'm just a loony conspiracy theorist though!
posted by One Second Before Awakening at 1:52 PM on February 5 [5 favorites]


They just gotta keep fucking up the election results until the OAS declares the results invalid, Iowa's democracy hopelessly corrupted, and sets it up as a soft landing spot for Guaido.
posted by Copronymus at 1:53 PM on February 5 [16 favorites]


A continued display of incompetence from demonstrably incompetent people has led you to conclude that what's happening is not incompetence?

I think it's not the display of incompetence, but rather that said incompetence only breaks one way. It's not like "whoops, votes for all candidates equally were being misreported". Just one. Multiple times in multiple areas.
posted by FakeFreyja at 1:54 PM on February 5 [4 favorites]


David Shuster @DavidShuster
Initially wasn’t inclined to believe the Iowa dem party deliberately sabotaged #caucus numbers to sandbag @BernieSanders. But day 3, the party is still at 71% results? WTF? This is moving well past “innocent mistakes with the app” and into something deliberate + disgusting.
9:39 AM · Feb 5, 2020·Twitter for iPhone
2.2K Retweets 8.1K Likes
posted by Ahmad Khani at 1:55 PM on February 5 [4 favorites]


They just gotta keep fucking up the election results until the OAS declares the results invalid, Iowa's democracy hopelessly corrupted, and sets it up as a soft landing spot for Guaido.

For real though: if this primary were an election in a center-left Latin American country, most of the Democratic Party establishment would already be recognizing Adolf McCIA as its rightful leader
posted by Rust Moranis at 1:56 PM on February 5 [12 favorites]


The Obama years brought DACA and the attempt at DAPA and the immigration enforcement priorities. They also brought many deportations and the continued terror of ICE. Both are true. Is there a single immigration activist in this country who wouldn't prefer to go back to the Obama years right now? And then go right back to using every lever of power they can to push that administration to do better and call out the abuses?

But we're not going back to the Obama years. We're stuck in the Trump years and - although this isn't how I'm thinking in terms of voting - you could pretty easily say that electing a Democrat who does nothing to fix the current situation isn't actually an improvement and may be a worsening, since it will convince people who don't pay much attention that things must be better, because Democrat.

I think this is probably wrong, but just how much incremental change you can get through activism if you elect Biden or Bloomberg is not clear to me. And then if you have a Democrat who doesn't dismantle the camps they're all ready for the next GOP fascist.

But something is really wrong with this country, you know? We really should not have it be the norm that you're some kind of weasel if you object to voting for people who make you morally sick.
posted by Frowner at 1:57 PM on February 5 [14 favorites]


It's amazing how different people read the same conversation. I see almost zero really anti-Bernie comments in this whole long thread. The point being made is that some Sanders supporters (like the Chapo Trap House guy) are saying it's Bernie or Bust and seem the most intent on tearing down the other candidates, so in doing so they are setting us up for another 4 years of Trump. Which, YMMV, seems like a shot to your own head. Is Mayor Pete or Bloomberg going to usher in fully automated luxury gay space communism? No. Are they going to give FUCKING RUSH LIMBAUGH the presidential medal of freedom? Also no.

I'm a Warren supporter and totally happy to vote Bernie if she drops out or falls way behind. It's a full month till my primary though. I mentioned upthread that I voted for Nader in 2000 because I was like "fuck centrism" and I used to get really defensive about it, but you know what? I fucked up in the heat of youth. And today if we get a centrist candidate, I will vote for that person. If I don't, I'm saying I think the only way out of the system is a socialist revolution outside the political system. Which would be great in a lot of ways. But the chance of that happening is about 0.000000001% in this country.
posted by freecellwizard at 1:59 PM on February 5 [20 favorites]



If this was a fix, then it was an incredibly incompetent fix. The flaming dumpster has taken flight, and is headed straight for that mountain over there.
posted by johnny jenga at 1:59 PM on February 5 [1 favorite]


I'm not a Sanders supporter at this time, and I'm not generally a conspiracy theorist, but I do want to point out that Incompetence and Corruption Aren't Mutually Exclusive.
posted by tonycpsu at 2:00 PM on February 5 [6 favorites]


Folks, it's clear that Bernie is the best candidate in this race, and he's the most ideologically pure. That's why we should stop bickering and just follow his advice: Vote For Warren.
posted by explosion at 2:01 PM on February 5 [9 favorites]


Yeah, too bad she didn't run at that time and instead waited for him to pave the way first so she could try and jump on the bandwagon he started.
posted by One Second Before Awakening at 2:03 PM on February 5 [6 favorites]


> Then what is constantly criticizing someone for bringing voters into the anti-Trump camp who otherwise wouldn't be there?

Something that I haven't done or said and generally a bad idea? I think that we aren't all having the same conversation.
posted by MysticMCJ at 2:03 PM on February 5 [1 favorite]


Folks, it's clear that Bernie is the best candidate in this race, and he's the most ideologically pure. That's why we should stop bickering and just follow his advice: Vote For Warren.

Kind of weird to immediate jump to suggesting Warren should settle for vice president, which is the context of that video? I think it might be too early to give up the shot at the big chair.
posted by FakeFreyja at 2:04 PM on February 5 [3 favorites]


Yeah, too bad she didn't run at that time and instead waited for him to pave the way first so she could try and jump on the bandwagon he started.

Ah yes, women are always followers pulling on the man's coattails.
posted by chris24 at 2:05 PM on February 5 [8 favorites]


Ah yes, women are always followers pulling on the man's coattails.

Don't be a jerk, I'm referring to the fact that in 2015 before starting his campaign, Sanders asked Warren to run as the progressive alternative to Clinton. She declined, so he ran.

You know, that was REALLY shitty to try and insinuate I'm being a misogynist for pointing this out. It's the kind of disingenuous weaponization of social justice language to try and smear your political opponents that is far too prevalent in this race.
posted by One Second Before Awakening at 2:08 PM on February 5 [19 favorites]


so she could try and jump on the bandwagon he started.

Yeah, you're not gonna change my mind on your intent with this.
posted by chris24 at 2:10 PM on February 5 [7 favorites]


It would not be at all surprising to me that someone tried to rig the Iowa caucus and ended up bungling it so badly the entire process broke down.
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 2:10 PM on February 5 [10 favorites]


Yeah, not gonna change my mind on your intent with this.

In 2015 Sanders asked Warren to run in his place. She didn't, so he ran. His campaign was surprisingly successful, and sparked an enormous revitalization of the left, including the renewed popularity of the DSA and the election of AOC.

In this primary, Sanders is attempting to ride the wave he started. So are Warren, Yang, Williamson, Gabbard, and (for some reason), Steyer.

But OK, read me in the most uncharitable way possible if you're gonna be a jerk about it.
posted by One Second Before Awakening at 2:14 PM on February 5 [17 favorites]


you could pretty easily say that electing a Democrat who does nothing to fix the current situation

That Democrat presumably also will have zero chance of starting a nuclear war over a Twitter beef, which matters.
posted by PMdixon at 2:16 PM on February 5 [5 favorites]


Chris Schwartz, Black Hawk County Supervisor (a Sanders supporter):

The state party is now being forced to walk back their error of giving @BernieSanders delegates to @DevalPatrick who received zero votes in Black Hawk County. Press can dm me.

Just for clarity's sake, here are the numbers that the IDP is saying now require a "minor correction":

Caucus vote as reported by the Black Hawk County Supervisor:
Sanders 2,149
Buttigieg - 1,578

Caucus vote as just reported by the Iowa Democratic Party:
Sanders - 1638
Buttigieg - 1588

That's not a minor correction.
posted by mediareport at 2:17 PM on February 5 [19 favorites]


This debacle may be a good trial run for what is likely to happen in November the day after the election. I expect to see the same vicious electoral fog of war descend in multiple states; it seems bad actors don't need to hack the voting, just create enough of a perception of foul play to trigger a barely-latent insanity in the respective campaigns and voting blocs. Iowa demonstrates that the bar for creating that insanity is very low. I'd say it makes me more concerned, but I'm not sure I can get any more concerned after three years of this shit.
posted by lefty lucky cat at 2:19 PM on February 5 [8 favorites]


[I'm gonna need everybody to go ahead and go back to their respective corners and hit pause on this whole dynamic. MetaFilter is not the battleground on which this election, let alone past ones, is going to be fought and I need folks to keep that in sight and behave accordingly. The way today has gone in here is a good reminder of why the megathread process was so draining and unsustainable, and as the primary season proceeds it's going to be really important that everybody makes an effort to not conflate "I have thoughts and feelings about politics", which is fine and valid, with a broad license to make these discussions a wrestling match over those thoughts and feelings.

Tracking the actual details and content of the Iowa situation is great. Going to mat with or taking shots at one another or making the conversation a referendum on whatever shitty thing someone else somewhere else said is not. Please refocus or take a step back if that doesn't feel possible.]

posted by cortex (staff) at 2:20 PM on February 5 [49 favorites]


Can you imagine what Super Tuesday is going to be like? Especially with Texas upfront saying weeks in advance they're not going to release the results in a timely manner?
posted by FakeFreyja at 2:22 PM on February 5 [1 favorite]




Once I vote I don’t see any more comments telling me how to vote in the primaries, right? Is that how this works?
posted by Huffy Puffy at 2:27 PM on February 5 [3 favorites]


Per the above tweet, the errors in the "corrected count" are:

Sanders -24
Buttigeig +10
Warren -9
Biden -6
Klobuchar -114
Steyer +16
Yang +10
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 2:28 PM on February 5 [3 favorites]


Also, Warren lost 9 votes, somehow, between the caucus report and the IDP release.
posted by mediareport at 2:29 PM on February 5


Once I vote I don’t see any more comments telling me how to vote in the primaries, right? Is that how this works?

Correct. At that point, you start getting the comments telling you how you should have voted.
posted by tobascodagama at 2:32 PM on February 5 [5 favorites]


On the plus side, you get to tell everyone that they are some manner of -ist for voting differently than you did.
posted by FakeFreyja at 2:34 PM on February 5 [4 favorites]


In another powerful blow for the credibility of this process from the IDP side, apparently if news organizations had accepted today's updated results as valid, it almost certainly would have triggered them to call the election for Buttigieg.

I don't recommend thinking too long about living through the 2000 Florida un-call again but with everyone already fired up and on Twitter yelling about it, because it did not do great things for my psyche.
posted by Copronymus at 2:37 PM on February 5 [9 favorites]


People who are firmly committed to the Way of Chapo Trap House are very few

On their most recent show CTH estimated that about a third of the out-of-state volunteers for Bernie in Iowa were CTH listeners. (The hosts of the show were in Iowa themselves and did a live show shortly before the caucus.) They get over $150,000 per month from their subscribers. It may have started as a niche online left-wing politics/comedy podcast, but it's getting much more influential.
posted by Noisy Pink Bubbles at 2:47 PM on February 5 [7 favorites]


The flipping of votes between Patrick and Sanders, along with other changes from original precinct counts, is happening elsewhere, too:

Across Iowa, across multiple data dumps, the official results consistently under/miscount Bernie and Warren votes.
posted by mediareport at 2:51 PM on February 5 [5 favorites]


I think people who will travel long distances to do primary-level political organizing is a pretty small subset of people. And those doing it specifically for Sanders is an even smaller subset. And then an estimate of 30% of those are even listeners. And I imagine a smaller subset of THAT are serious listeners, rather than those who just have it in their rotation.
posted by FakeFreyja at 2:52 PM on February 5 [1 favorite]


They get over $150,000 per month from their subscribers. It may have started as a niche online left-wing politics/comedy podcast, but it's getting much more influential.

Yes, but the distinction I was trying to make was between people who might, eg, listen to the podcast and people who will uncritically do what CTH tells them because CTH says it - "firmly committed to the Way of Chapo Trap House". I don't think there are a lot of people who listen to CTH who were thinking "gee, I guess I'll have to suck it up and vote for X because of [reasons]" who were suddenly convinced to stay home if they can't vote for Sanders merely because they're puppets of CTH. I think there's a perception that a few influencers among the Bernie Bros are just pied-pipering away a bunch of nice young people who would otherwise suck it up and vote for Buttegieg and that is factually wrong and IMO kinda rude.
posted by Frowner at 3:02 PM on February 5 [10 favorites]


Hi! Actual Iowan, here! As you can see upthread, I participated in the caucus Monday night. I also, as luck has it, have a coworker whose brother is head of legislative services for the the Democrats in the Iowa House of Representatives. As a result, he’s pretty tuned in to party happenings in Des Moines.

1. The state party knew the app shit the bed early Monday night. They then panicked and waited three hours before fessing up the the press and candidates. Lots of jokes in my office about spending three hours jiggling the charger cable and/or rebooting the phone, hoping that this time the app will finally work.
2. The Iowa Democratic Party, in its infinite wisdom, decided that the only results they will release are physically counted and verified ballots. Thus, precinct reports and county summaries aren’t considered “good enough”. They have to verify they have physically counted their ballots. So, are those numbers the Black Hawk County supervisor is tweeting the verified ballot counts or their initial canvas?
3. The Iowa Democratic Party has 18 paid staffers. To cover 99 counties. The reality is the caucus is run largely by volunteers. The quality and speed of the official count depends on those volunteers and as badly as you and I want answers right now, dammit! they still have job and family obligations to tend to.

Please tone it down on the conspiracy theories—there is neither the time, resources, or inclination to put the fix in for your candidate. As to why the state party went all in on an unproven app without maintaining former reporting systems as a backup is beyond me but I’m going to guess lack of resources in the form of time or money (see #3, above) played a strong factor.

Is this the death of the Iowa Caucus and/or its status as first in the nation?

¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Honestly, I’m fine, either way.
posted by Big Al 8000 at 3:07 PM on February 5 [47 favorites]


All this shit just scares me. I feel like our basic institutions are breaking down. Where do we go from here?

And I’m sorry, but Buttegeig scares me too. At least with Biden he just seems like your run of the mill corrupt dumbass. Buttegeig is crazy smart, and I truly have no idea what he believes beyond attaining power at any cost. Certainly, his actions against anyone who wasn’t a (probably white) property developer or police officer in South Bend has isn’t encouraging.

Still, I get the feeling he’d get destroyed by Trump.
posted by eagles123 at 3:10 PM on February 5 [9 favorites]


The flipping of votes between Patrick and Sanders, along with other changes from original precinct counts, is happening elsewhere, too:


If this is a conspiracy it's a very bad one given that they're publishing the results for everyone to see.

I wish that guy expanded the field of view, because that could either be flipping--or it could be the data for that block got shifted one column over. It would be interesting to see if all the results for the candidates in that block were shifted or whether it was just for those four candidates--because the former sounds like a data entry error to me. We can't check now because it's already been corrected.
posted by schroedinger at 3:13 PM on February 5 [3 favorites]


Certainly, his actions against anyone who wasn’t a (probably white) property developer or police officer in South Bend has isn’t encouraging.

Yeah, that's the other piece. Let's assume that a bunch of centrist hacks pull this off and he's the nominee and we are all in the position of saying "okay, let's all vote for the guy who has actively been racist and actively sustained police brutality in the city where he was mayor". I mean, it's that kind of thing that is so gross and awful and do I really have the sheer face it would take to urge, for instance, Black voters to vote for someone who literally supports police brutality against Black people? That's really the kind of thing that a lot of this comes down to because of the nature of our political class. And I can see the logic of saying to people "if you have to choose between being punched in the face and being knifed in the stomach you choose the face" but it just starts to eat away at you after a while.

If it's not Sanders, what if it's him or Bloomberg? Like, I don't feel good about this at all, and I feel so ungood about it that it will be very hard for me to make myself do it, never mind whoop it up to get others to.
posted by Frowner at 3:15 PM on February 5 [21 favorites]


Yeah, we haven’t even reckoned with Bloomberg yet. He drew more people to his kickoff event in Philly then I think even Biden did. The guy is just basically brute forcing the primary with TV ad buys and throwing money at campaign staffers.

Regarding the vote irregularities, it could very well be the case that Sanders and Warren are more likely to have errors occur against them because they did better in areas with larger populations that were therefore harder to count.

Edit: I still have a bad feeling about the vote though. Can’t shake it.
posted by eagles123 at 3:20 PM on February 5 [1 favorite]


Also I think we should remember that sometimes if we're surrounded by people who all have approximately the same outlook it is really easy to ramp each other up around a single train of thought. Everyone gets each other more and more worked up, and then an opinion like "Buttigieg seems smarmy" escalates to "Buttigieg is an evil genius bent on destroying all that is good in the world" or "these caucuses are poorly run" becomes "these caucuses are being run by people trying to play three-dimensional chess in order to undermine my preferred candidate". Sometimes it is a good idea to turn off the computer, put down the phone, and go for a walk.
posted by schroedinger at 3:21 PM on February 5 [32 favorites]


And to be clear: I am not a Buttigieg fan. I just don't think he's worse than Trump.
posted by schroedinger at 3:23 PM on February 5 [10 favorites]


The Iowa Democratic Party, in its infinite wisdom, decided that the only results they will release are physically counted and verified ballots. Thus, precinct reports and county summaries aren’t considered “good enough”. They have to verify they have physically counted their ballots.

What makes the above less soothing than it otherwise might be is the tremendous confusion we've seen reported about how the preference cards have been handled (we can't call them ballots, Iowa columnist Lyn Lenz has pointed out, because New Hampshire will get very mad). They were handed out, marked, handed in, counted, then handed back out to each person to re-vote, then handed back in again....

Scroll down to the section titled, "Democrats not enthused about 'card games' at caucus" in this collection of caucus reports from the Iowa City paper to get a sense of just how mangled and unclear the ballot counting was *at the precincts*, let alone a day or two later after they'd been delivered to central HQ.

Such an awful, awful, stupid, stupid system.

(For the record, I'm squarely in the "chaos and incompetence" camp, with a possible sprinkling of "occasional bad actor taking advantage of the chaos and incompetence to massage things a bit.")
posted by mediareport at 3:30 PM on February 5 [2 favorites]


> Yeah, that's the other piece. Let's assume that a bunch of centrist hacks pull this off and he's the nominee and we are all in the position of saying "okay, let's all vote for the guy who has actively been racist and actively sustained police brutality in the city where he was mayor". I mean, it's that kind of thing that is so gross and awful and do I really have the sheer face it would take to urge, for instance, Black voters to vote for someone who literally supports police brutality against Black people?

Let me first stipulate: fuck Mayo Pete. Other than Tulsi he's the worst option. Worse than Bloomberg, worse than Biden.

With that said, there's kind of an exponential leap between Pete's badness on policing and Trump's pervasive, multi-pronged assault on all people of color. It's a much more nuanced argument to make to voters, but at the same time, with something like 8% support among Black voters, I don't feel like you'll have to do much convincing in the first place. Will Buttigieg motivate Black voters to volunteer the way a Sanders, Warren, or even Biden would? I don't think so. But there is a world of difference between Buttigieg's passive indifference toward suffering and Trump's active pursuit to maximize it.
posted by tonycpsu at 3:35 PM on February 5 [11 favorites]


With that said, there's kind of an exponential leap between Pete's badness on policing and Trump's pervasive, multi-pronged assault on all people of color. It's a much more nuanced argument to make to voters

It's getting increasingly harder to nuance the "if you don't vote for the We'll Let You Die Party's candidate then the We'll Kill You Party will gain even more power" argument.
posted by Rust Moranis at 3:39 PM on February 5 [11 favorites]


Lamenting the regrettable choice between bad and worse doesn't change the distance between the two. Maybe in the next reboot of the simulation, we can include a "no two party system" patch.
posted by tonycpsu at 3:42 PM on February 5 [8 favorites]


The nuclear arsenal doesn't have a lot of nuance to it, and it genuinely confuses me that it's typically left out of these conversations.
posted by PMdixon at 3:43 PM on February 5 [10 favorites]


We're stuck in the Trump years and - although this isn't how I'm thinking in terms of voting - you could pretty easily say that electing a Democrat who does nothing to fix the current situation isn't actually an improvement and may be a worsening, since it will convince people who don't pay much attention that things must be better, because Democrat. I think this is probably wrong, but just how much incremental change you can get through activism if you elect Biden or Bloomberg is not clear to me. And then if you have a Democrat who doesn't dismantle the camps they're all ready for the next GOP fascist.

This is accelerationism (and I totally grant it's not how you're thinking). The argument boils down to "it's better that Stephen Miller is in charge of immigration in this country because at least more people are mad about it now. Maybe if it gets really really bad, people will be mad enough and will somehow make it stop." And I haven't heard any full-time immigration activists/people directly in harm's way make anything remotely resembling that argument, presumably because "we'll let the fascist get even more powerful and then we'll fight him" isn't just terrible strategy; it leaves an awful lot more vulnerable people trampled in the meantime. Perhaps "at least more people care now" is a thin silver lining on the present awful situation, sure, but that's not an argument against even bland centrist incrementalism. The parties are not both the same.
posted by zachlipton at 3:48 PM on February 5 [14 favorites]


A lot of people would probably be more motivated to vote for the merely "bad" option if it cared whether they (or 75% of the planet) live or die.
posted by Rust Moranis at 3:50 PM on February 5 [1 favorite]


Still, I get the feeling he’d get destroyed by Trump.

I’m very much of the “not Pete, please, dear god” sort, for many, many reasons (the racism in the SBPD and his response to it coming to light is just one thing that should have been instantly disqualifying, and that it wasn’t tells you a good deal about his base), but dear lord, have we all forgotten what happened last time we ran smart, yet smarmy/smartest-guy-in-the-room against dumb? And Gore could have actually been decent (though it prob would have been 4-8 more years of Clinton GOP-lite, at least with some sort of green tinge). Pete against Trump would be a massacre. There’s the perception that people voted for Bush because they thought the smart guy was bullying the doofy likeable guy. Now it’s people voting for the asshole because they like seeing the taunts they used in grade school validated because they’re coming from the president. Running teachers pet against the rich class bully is a fucking disaster waiting to happen. There’s very little more unifying to large parts of the American population more unifying than hating the smart guy who shows off how smart he is.

And yeah, to me, the only way to fight off the bullying bullshit is earnestness and passion, which Pete lacks utterly, and Warren and Sanders have. Anyone but Trump, but lord don’t let it be Pete.
posted by Ghidorah at 3:53 PM on February 5 [12 favorites]


And to be clear: I am not a Buttigieg fan. I just don't think he's worse than Trump.

I dunno, I kind of like the guy's ideas.
posted by FakeFreyja at 4:01 PM on February 5


A lot of people would probably be more motivated to vote for the merely "bad" option if it cared whether they (or 75% of the planet) live or die.

Honesty, I don't know what action I'm supposed to take based on this line of argument. The candidates are who they are. It would be extremely difficult to change them at this point in time, so we make the choices we make of what's in front of us. If this election is lost, there is unlikely to be any opportunity to do anything meaningful in 2024 so it's not even like it's advice that can be taken on board for next time. Who are you trying to persuade to do what with these statements?

Moreover, they are who they are because the immoral status quo fetishists who are a plurality of the voting public want them that way. Yes, the electorate is a nightmare of white supremacy. What do you want anyone to do about it? This is America. That's why I'm actively planning to leave it.
posted by PMdixon at 4:01 PM on February 5 [3 favorites]


538 turned their model back on.
Chances of winning the required majority of delegates:
Sanders 37%
No one 27%
Biden 21%
Warren 10%
Buttigieg 6%
Somebody else 0.6%
posted by Huffy Puffy at 4:02 PM on February 5


Responding to something I caught way upthread. Sanders is certainly not the only candidate who would put an end to the abuses of ICE etc. Warren would come down on ICE like a fucking thunderbolt. And she has a plan for structural change that is badly needed.
posted by prefpara at 4:03 PM on February 5 [27 favorites]


I mean, is there ANYTHING that you wouldn't excuse away like this?

Speaking for myself, some actual evidence of wrongdoing would be nice? As opposed to the kind of thing that happens in every single election but usually doesn'