Tuesday, February 4, 2020

It's Time Now For The Iowa Caucuses To Go To The End Of The Primary Line

It is no surprise that the words "chaos"  and "caucus"  sound very similar.   This is given the latter is actually a form of semi-organized chaos in which voters go to their appointed venues and try to haggle and thrash out their choices with other voters. "I want Bernie, 'cause he stands for my priorities!"  "Hell no, he's too extreme I want Amy!"  "Hell with that, I want Joe Biden, no woman gonna beat Trump!" 

"Can we all just get along and pick someone?"


And so they go at it for hours hoping ultimately for some kind of resolution and consensus toward a majority pick. If there isn't, well then they all haggle and bark again over their "second choices".  In other words, it is the furthest thing from being a straight vote,  i.e. each person voting one candidate - say using a paper ballot- who has the most (oh, with no ensuing argument on reaching that destination.) As you can see the whole process is ripe for confusion and chaos and that's what happened last night and why there's no clear winner yet today. (Yes, a new app also played a role in the confusion, but to me it merely magnified the defects in an already hazy, fluky process.)

 W e learned last night that the results in the Iowa Democratic caucuses were delayed Monday evening, creating widespread confusion among the presidential campaigns. Party officials said the results had been delayed due to “inconsistencies” in the reporting of the results. The reporting problems are believed to have only delayed the results, not called them into question.

According to Mandy McClure - as reported in The NY Times:

We found inconsistencies in the reporting of three sets of results. 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.”

I have a hunch the problem is more fundamental:  We need to ditch the whole caucus routine and either bring Iowa into the 21st century (like Colorado has done)  or let them follow the blue states in  primary voting order.   First clue?   As we learn from the Times: "On a conference call with the presidential campaigns, Iowa Democratic Party officials said the delay was because of the new rules requiring caucus leaders to report three sets of numbers to party headquarters, rather than just the delegate totals."


"Representatives from the campaigns became angry at the party officials, who hung up after being asked about when results might be known, according to two people who listened to the call."

What the hell happened? How did this fiasco get started?  From the Times' piece:

Since the caucuses began 50 years ago, Iowa Democrats reported only one number: the delegate count from each of the state’s precincts. But after the razor-close 2016 race in Iowa between Hillary Clinton and Mr. Sanders, Mr. Sanders’s allies pushed the Democratic National Committee to require caucus states to track and report the raw numbers of how many people backed each candidate.

For Iowa, the new reporting standards meant counting how many people backed each candidate on the first and second alignment. That change, requiring the reporting of three separate numbers from each of the state’s more than 1,600 precincts, has slowed the gathering of data to a crawl.
Additionally, many precinct chairs across the state abandoned the new app that was built to help tabulate and report results as they struggled to log in. They opted instead to use the telephone hotline to report."

To me it suggests that previously quoted prominent Democrats are spot on in their assessments of Iowa's importance in the primaries.  In fact, given the state's size, population etc. it is an exaggerated importance. Hence, we ought to question the role of the state in casting the first ballots in the primary season.  This is especially given the largely white, older  demographic of the state as unrepresentative of the diversity of the Dem party. (Oh there are more young people now, see the link at bottom, but the whole event is still rife with problems and hiccups, and again awards disproportionate weight to a minor state.)

 I agree with that take and have indicated in the past the antiquated nature of the caucus in the modern era. It's past time to get back to plain, regular voting modes - you pick candidate X, Y or Z on whatever ballot (preferably paper)  and deliver your choice, no bickering, arguing or haggling. 

If Iowans  - mostly Trump supporters now anyway - wish to keep their ancient primary process, fine. But put the other blue and Dem states (CA, NY etc.) voting first.  We don't need these hayseeds to dictate to us who to vote for or what the national priorities ought to be . Hell, in the CBS spot yesterday morning at some diner or other most didn't even believe impeachment of the orange imp was important.  (If he gets re-elected and cuts their Medicare - as he now plans to do  - they may wish to rethink that but by then it'll be too late.)

Others affirmed to the CBS point guy they were still voting for the Dotard, this is despite many of these (farmers) are still suffering from his tariff war with the Chinese.  That leads me to believe this state will still go to Trump given so many suffer from the mental disease of Trumpism

 Local political columnist Mike Littwin  believes the mental disease of Trumpism is with us to stay, e.g.


See also:

No comments: