The idea of allowing people to phone it in during the Iowa and Nevada primaries is like the worst idea ever, and they’re probably going to get away with it.
First, it’s changing the rules after the game has started, which is almost always dirty pool. You just shouldn’t do that, it’s not sportsmanlike.
Second, it changes the character of the precinct caucuses, their basic value. The whole idea is for one night out of their godforsaken lives, people should get up out of their chairs and go meet with people in a public place and hash it out. Phoning it in diminishes the value of it. It’s no longer a face to face, in person meeting. It not only change the tenor of the meeting itself, it adds a whole new group into the mix. People who don’t really care that much about politics, but are willing to make a phone call. Like maybe because somebody promised them $10, or a couple bottles of wine. Also, it puts a lot of vote tabulating power in the hands of the one who’s receiving the phone calls, like maybe the county chairman, who is more likely than the average voter to be an establishment Democrat.
On the one hand, it’s encouraging. They are so scared of an unstoppable Bernie juggernaut that they are prepared to use blatant, strong are tactics as early as Iowa, as early as now, in fact. They will implode. They will crash and burn. The people will not stand for it.
On the other hand, it’s very disconcerting. Because they probably will get away with it.