Iowa Democratic Party Botches Caucus
(UnitedVoice.com) – Just when we thought the election process couldn’t get any worse, the Iowa Democrats proved us wrong.
The Iowa presidential caucuses have been completely botched as inconsistencies were discovered in a new app for precinct reporting. Meanwhile, the Democratic presidential campaigns are claiming victory and are upset with the Iowa Democratic Party for putting them in a bad position. Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (D-VT) supporters are already claiming the system was rigged against them as President Trump relishes in the unfolding drama.
What Caused the Chaos and Embarrassment?
Iowa Democratic Party officials claimed on Monday night that “inconsistencies” were found in the reporting of results. Iowa state Democratic party communications director Mandy McClure said, “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.”
However, that’s a very different story from election workers who said they had challenges using a new smartphone app created to calculate and report results. Some workers said that they couldn’t trust the numbers coming in through the app and that a backup phone line to transfer information wasn’t working either.
At one point in the day, some precinct leaders and county chairs said they were unwilling or unable to use the app.
As of Tuesday morning, officials said it may be late Tuesday before numbers could be verified, confirmed, and released to the public.
In 2016, 90% of caucuses had already reported the vote total by 11 pm on caucus night.
The delay appeared to get under the skin of some campaigns. The Biden camp released a letter sent to the state party expressing deep concerns.
“The app that was intended to relay Caucus results to the Party failed; the Party’s back-up telephonic reporting system likewise has failed. Now, we understand that Caucus Chairs are attempting to — and, in many cases, failing to — report results telephonically to the Party. These acute failures are occurring statewide.”
Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s (D-MA) campaign manager said, “With every passing minute that there is a delay, we worry that the process will lose credibility.”
Buttigieg and Sanders Declare Victory
Without official vote totals, both former Mayor Pete Buttigieg (D-IN) and Sanders declared victory.
In particular, Buttigieg said that Iowa “shocked the nation.” An aide to Buttigieg said, “We believe we’re on our way to winning the SDE [State Delegate Equivalent] count.”
Sanders released his own internal data claiming they were winning with 40% of precincts reporting:
— People for Bernie (@People4Bernie) February 4, 2020
Sanders Supporters Revive Conspiracy Theories
Late Monday, Washington Examiner reporters said they “overheard several field organizers for the Vermont senator complaining that supporters of rival candidates were conspiring to block them from winning delegates.”
In Des Moines, a woman spoke of blatant bias by precinct captains against Sanders:
“We put up our signs to show undecided caucusers and others during the realignment where to stand for Sanders, but then, supporters of Buttigieg rushed us and put stickers over the sign,” the woman said. “When it was our turn to give a speech, the Buttigieg supporters kept interrupting us, and the campaign didn’t do anything.”
In 2016, the Sanders campaign alleged that the Democratic National Committee (DNC) rigged the primary in favor of Hillary Clinton.
Trump Campaign Relishes
Late Monday night, Trump tweeted his reaction to the mess:
Big WIN for us in Iowa tonight. Thank you!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 4, 2020
Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale said in a statement, “Democrats are stewing in a caucus mess of their own creation with the sloppiest train wreck in history. It would be natural for people to doubt the fairness of the process. And these are the people who want to run our entire health care system?
On Tuesday morning, Trump questioned on Twitter, “When will the Democrats start blaming RUSSIA, RUSSIA, RUSSIA, instead of their own incompetence for the voting disaster that just happened in the Great State of Iowa?”
A very good question indeed.
By Don Purdum, Freelance Contributor
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