O.K., I suppose it really is time I stopped talking about Iowa and moved on. I’m not going to ‘forget about it’ like some people are suggesting, they would like us to forget any crooked thing the DNC does, but we need to talk about something else, there’s no more to be done or said about it at this point anyway, and Bernie did win Iowa, largely due to the vigilance and perseverance of Bernie’s Iowa people.
But, since it seems to have elevated cheatin’ Pete into an actual contender, it’s totally fair game to scrutinize the Blue Lives Matter former mayor of South Bend, Indiana a little bit closer. Which is why it’s so totally weird that he would do this thing here.
I mean, he must have realized that people would spot that, because Berner’s with computers following the election with the intensity of a computer game is a very real group of people, and kind of out to get him at the moment. Anyway, as per the link, he added applause in the studio, and then aired a little segment of a town hall speech as an ad. But, in the original speech, there had been no applause.
Now, TV uses that all the time, and canned laughter, it’s standard. But when you do it in a presidential election, that is super lame. Back in the days when people expected a bit of a higher standard from their politicians, that would have been disqualifying.
Coupled with Shadowgate, and the thing a while back where he said a bunch of people in South Carolina had endorsed him and they all said “Whoa, hang on there a second, guy, we didn’t endorse you, we never said anything even close to endorsing you and we’re not even sure we like you,” a pattern is starting to emerge. And it isn’t pretty.
Let me start with the positive. Bernie won Iowa. It took a lot of yelling and screaming and fighting with people who are supposed to be in the same party to do it, but Bernie won Iowa. It took him having his own app, built in house, to combat the Shadow app the IDP paid $60,000, and Buttigieg paid $42,500, for, but Bernie won Iowa.
Now for the negative. The worst thing about this whole debacle, in my view, is what it says about the American voters. Pete Buttigieg just got caught, red handed, cheating his ass off, and he got an 8 point bump in New Hampshire.
Now, I’m not too worried about Pete winning New Hampshire, or any future races, but you never know. Voting machines can be hacked, probably even easier than a caucus vote where there are lots of witnesses, but team Bernie is apparently being much more vigilant, and combative, than they were in 2016, so that’s a good thing.
But, Pete cheated. That should be the main thing people remember about Iowa. Unfortunately, only the Bernie people see it that way.
A lot of people seem ready to just forget about Iowa and move on. I’m not, quite. First, it’s not over. They’re up to 80 something percent as I write this, but it’s been two days. Then, since there have been so many questions about Shadow, like what is it, what does it do, how does it do it, and why did Pete Buttigieg pay it $42,500 dollars?, that it seems only fair that they take another half day to compare the figures from Shadow with the paper record from the precinct county chair and see if they match. Maybe then they could all publish these figures online, in a clear format, precinct by precinct, so people who were actually there could compare and if everything matched, computer, paper, memory, then we’d have to say “Well, even if it seems strange that they blocked the Des Moines Register poll, and then that premature victory speech with almost zero reporting, I guess we have to admit that Pete didn’t actually cheat.”
If there are discrepancies, and there will be because there already have been, then they need to be corrected for sure, but also those responsible need to be called out.
Then we need to have this app examined. Tested. Analyzed. Whatever you do with an app to figure out just exactly how it was switching votes.
O.K., the Iowa precinct caucuses were a huge fuck up. There are a couple of silver linings, but I’ll get to those at the end.
The problem, so they say, was an app that didn’t work properly. Now, I admit I don’t know anything about the design and development of apps. Not a computer person. But an app that just registers the number of votes in each precinct when a precinct chairman keys them in strikes me as a pretty simple thing. It’s basically a spreadsheet.
But the Iowa Democratic Party paid a company named Shadow (first suggestion – don’t do business with anybody called ‘Shadow.’ They are actually TRYING to convey an image of shadiness, darkness, secrecy, etc.. Things done in the shadows are not good things) $63,000 for the app, so they wouldn’t have to use the old, primitive (but entirely functional) method of counting the votes on paper and then phoning them in. Oh, and did I mention that Shadow is managed by a bunch of people from Hillary’s 2016 campaign? Probably worth mentioning. Then, Pete Buttigieg also chipped in $42,500. I can’t imagine why a candidate would do that, but I suppose he had reasons.
Then, with less than 1% of the precincts reporting, Pete gives a speech claiming victory. While he was doing that, a lot of precincts were trying to enter their numbers and having no luck, because nobody had thought to actually test the app or anything like that, and when they just tried to phone the numbers in, they wound up on hold for hours.
So, things were looking bad. But, Bernie had had observers in every single precinct. People were recording votes and taking pictures. So, the results were delayed, and aren’t even all in and official yet, but it’s clear that Bernie Sanders has won Iowa. That’s part of the silver lining.
People are angry at the party and many are calling for Tom Perez’ (DNC chairman) resignation. I doubt that will happen, although it should. Also, Pete has been exposed as kind of a cheating low life. I don’t know that he actually did anything illegal and in today’s morally compromised politics, he might not be forced from the race. But, he just might. At any rate, he is going to be known as Pete the Cheat from this point forward. It was bad. The other part of the silver lining has nothing to do with the app, and was not too surprising. Biden got crushed. Didn’t break 15%. And he probably won’t in New Hampshire, either. He’s toast.
So, essentially the race is now between Sanders and Warren, and Warren tends to lose voters as fast as she gains them. Bernie’s going to win this thing.
It’s after midnight and I need to get to bed now, so I won’t see any of the results from the Iowa precinct caucuses until the morning, but I’ve got a pretty good feeling about them. To manage my own expectations: I’ll be disappointed if Bernie gets less than 30%, I’ll be stunned and horrified if he actually doesn’t win, and contrariwise I’ll be ecstatic if he gets over 50%, a clear majority, topping everyone else combined, and I think that’s a definite possibility.
Why do I think he can do so much better than the polls?
1. I think the polls are lying
2. He got 50% in 2016, and most of those people are still with him
3. The big rally in Cedar Rapids a couple of nights ago. Bernie filled an arena, there were 3,000 people there to see him speak. That’s a bit short of the 20-30,000 he can draw in L.A. or New York, but it’s not bad for Iowa. Also, on the same night Biden, Warren, and Buttigieg also had rallies. None of them had over 500. If all of those 3,000 people show up to caucus (and there’s no reason why they wouldn’t) we will simply overwhelm the opposition.
4. Early reports look good. I’d never heard of these ‘satellite’ caucuses before and I’m still not sure they’re a good idea, but they definitely seem to be breaking Bernie’s way. At 2 locations, he got 100% of the delegates.
5. The opposition has already started damage control. “Most (Biden aides) feel it’s not going to be great,” one Biden insider admitted. You’d think they wouldn’t admit to such pessimism before the night has even begun, but there’s a real possibility they could fail to break 15%, and then they’re going to look ridiculous.
So, we will see. Whatever the results we will talk about them tomorrow for a bit but then the focus will shift, almost immediately, to New Hampshire. And then, for the next 4 years, nobody will pay attention to Iowa again.
“In ancient Rome, there was a poem, about a dog who found two bones. He looked at one. and then the other. Turned round in circles, and he dropped dead” -Devo
People are like that, sometimes. They’ll be talking about one thing and then somebody will bring up some totally unrelated thing and everybody switches to that and conversations, and plans, and projects fade into nothingness.
It gets used in politics a lot. Change the subject to your favorite subject, and all else is forgotten until somebody changes it back and you’re arguing back and forth about which things you should be arguing about, instead of arguing about what you should be arguing about. Paralysis sets in.
I was just in a discussion about Bernie’s plan to legalize marijuana by executive order on his first day in office, which I think is awesome of course because marijuana should have been legal always, and can have medicinal uses which will help lots of people, and mostly it will get a lot of people out of jail who shouldn’t be in there. Most people were in agreement, a few were worried that he was moving too fast, and then one person said “I don’t think marijuana should be legalized until after he’s closed the camps on the border.”
Of course I want to see something done about the camps, and Bernie is aware of that issue and also wants to find a humane solution. But these two things have nothing to do with each other.
Let’s not devolve into arguments about which issue is more important than the other. As Bernie himself is fond of saying “You have to be able to walk and chew gum at the same time.”
Today, someone pointed out to me on Facebook, is a big day. It’s Groundhog Day, of course. It’s also Super Bowl Sunday. And, it’s a palindrome. 020220.
They said it’s the only palindromic date of this century, but that’s not true. December 11th of next year will also be a palindrome (121121) if you’re using American date notation (month/day/year) and November 12th of next year if you’re using European notation (day/month/year). So, it’s kind of fun to note, but not really a big deal.
The Super Bowl is kind of a big deal for millions of American football fans and the residents of the cities represented, but I haven’t seriously followed American football for years and didn’t know it was Super Bowl Sunday until this morning when I saw the post. So, good luck to all, may the best team win, and it will be cool if there are some spectacular plays for highlight shots, but for the most part I don’t care much.
Groundhog Day is a holiday I take note of, largely because Groundhog Day was one of the greatest movies of all time, but I’ve kind of ruined it for my kids, because they’re so committed to the concept that anything I like must be super lame. Also, I do tend to pay attention to the Groundhog’s prediction even though I know it’s a load of old bollocks. Sort of like the Horoscope, or Facebook quizzes. Not scientific, just a conversation starter.
So, it’s a big day, kind of, due to the convergence of several unimportant events, but tomorrow will be a big day, really and truly.
The Iowa Precinct Caucuses. I am nervous and excited already.