February 4, 2020

Iowa Caucus Results Delayed

“The Iowa Democratic Party said Monday night that results from the state’s first-in-the-nation caucus were indefinitely delayed due to ‘quality checks’ and ‘inconsistencies’ in some reporting.” AP News

Incumbent President Donald Trump won the Republican caucus with 97% of the vote. Iowa GOP

Both sides criticize the reporting failure and the caucus model in general:

“At a moment when public faith in American institutions is declining, what could be more fitting than a colossal screw-up in counting the votes for the very first election of the new presidential election cycle?”
Allahpundit, Hot Air

“As early as 8:48 pm Eastern time, the New York Times was already reporting that problems with the app were giving rise to conspiracy theories… A viral tweet suggested, without evidence, that the app was being used to somehow rig the process against Bernie Sanders. It’s really hard to imagine that the Democratic Party would alter the results in such a blatant fashion. But many of Sanders’s supporters bear a grudge against the party from the 2016 primary, and in the absence of a clear explanation for what’s happening, it’s likely conspiracy theories like these will continue to spread. That’s really bad for the public’s faith in the fairness of the process

“In an emotional and heated election, against the backdrop of a process that many Sanders fans thought was unfair in 2016 and a president who constantly accuses his opponents of cheating, it’s important that the US electoral system seem functional. The Iowa delay seems to be, so far, a step in the wrong direction.”
Zack Beauchamp, Vox

“Caucuses are a terrible way to pick a nominee. There is no secret ballot, so every nosy neighbor and busybody who prefers another candidate knows who you’re supporting. There is no access for those who work nights or need babysitters. And this year, Democrats have a fairly arbitrary 15 percent threshold — no delegates for anyone who falls below that line…

“The two rounds of reallocation meant that supporters of those below the viability line started trying to form alliances out of Survivor, attempting to block delegates for other candidates. Apparently many Democrats believe the electoral college is some sort of unfair menace, but they’re just fine where neighbors are trading snow-shoveling or chocolate cookies in exchange to join their faction… One group of supporters of unviable candidates decided to back Cory Booker, who quit the race on January 13. This is the best day for his campaign in weeks! Pete Buttigieg won a delegate on a coin toss… And now, apparently, the results are being held up for ‘quality checks.’”
Jim Geraghty, National Review

“The caucuses -- especially in this cursed year -- demand hours of commitment. This limits the number, and kind, of people who can attend, despite Iowa Democrats allowing satellite caucuses this year. Many people who work at night still cannot attend. People who care for children or other relatives cannot attend. People who have other commitments cannot attend. Those who cannot attend tend to be lower income, of course, and those people are supposedly the base of the Democratic Party. It's madness to effectively exclude them from the caucus process… It's time for a change.”
Jeffrey Toobin, CNN

“Nothing could have more effectively underscored the ultimate irrelevance of Iowa than a non-result allowing everyone not named John Delaney to claim a victory of sorts, express their sense of ‘optimism’ going forward, and otherwise ignore the question of who actually won… the message people are likely to take away from Monday's contest is that the caucus is the worst of both worlds, an ill-understood, antiquated, anti-democratic mess that systematically excludes parents, working-class people, the shy, and the otherwise socially well-adjusted that has been taken over by well-meaning tech consultants.”
Matthew Walther, The Week

Other opinions below.

See past issues

From the Left

This was not the first time the Iowa caucuses have gone awry. In 2012, Republicans never truly knew whether Rick Santorum or Mitt Romney had gained more support. And four years later, confusion about the close gap between Clinton and Sanders led Iowa Democrats to reform their process with the hope of providing a more precise picture of which candidate had won the most votes and which candidate would receive the most delegates. As Monday turned into Tuesday, that picture had yet to emerge, and Iowa Democrats will have to regroup yet again to figure out what went wrong. Whether they get another chance to get it right four years from now is another question entirely.”
Russell Berman, The Atlantic

It’s worth noting that “Dozens of caucus sites reported little or no Biden support, and there were suggestions he may even finish in fifth place behind Amy Klobuchar. This is probably because his ground game is weak, and the argument for his candidacy is based on fear of Trump rather than genuine enthusiasm. His campaign was reduced to limply complaining about process to distract from the epic loss. It's not a coincidence that both of Biden's previous campaigns for president were disastrous flops… for the moment, everything is coming up Bernie.”
Ryan Cooper, The Week

From the Right

“For six months, some of President Trump's most implacable foes have invested great hope in two Republicans -- former Rep. Joe Walsh and former Massachusetts Gov. William Weld -- who are challenging the president for the GOP nomination. Could they do some damage to Trump's re-election prospects? Tonight, in Iowa, that hope was put to a first test. It failed…

Trump won 97.16 percent of the vote, to Walsh's 1.08 percent and Weld's 1.27 percent. Others -- write-ins of various people -- totaled 0.47 percent. It was [a] striking show of strength for the president. Beyond that, turnout was high for a year in which an incumbent president is assured of re-nomination… The last time there was a non-competitive GOP caucus, that is, a caucus with an incumbent president, was in 2004, when President George W. Bush was in the White House. That year, about 8,000 Republicans showed up for what were essentially meaningless caucuses. This year, the turnout was 32,004.”
Byron York, Washington Examiner

“Only one candidate was truly able to declare himself victor on Monday night. ‘Big WIN for us in Iowa tonight. Thank you!’, tweeted President Trump.”
Matt McDonald, Spectator USA

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