62% of Iowa is in

At least that’s what Tony Price, the chairman of the Iowa State Party says.  I just watched his press conference and now I’m waiting for the actual results to be announced.  Not surprisingly, Price came across as being annoyed with everything during his press conference.  I would to if I were in his shoes.

This has been a disaster for the Iowa Democratic Party.  (As has been pointed out, the Republican caucus went off without a hitch but, in all fairness to the Democrats, the Republicans only had 3 candidates to keep track of and it’s not like anyone was expecting a sudden surge for either Joe Walsh or Bill Weld.)  Nearly 24 hours later and there’s still questions about not only why the app failed but also who was responsible for building the app in the first place.  It’s a mess and we’ll be hearing conspiracy theories about this for years.

The results are now coming in and right now, Buttigieg has very narrow delegate lead over Sanders, 26.9% vs. 25.1%  Warren has 18% and is just barely over 15%.  Klobuchar has got 12%, so it’s possible that everyone overestimated her Iowa ground plan.

When the results first came in, I thought Buttigieg had won 26.9% of the votes cast but no, that 26.9% means that he’s won the majority of state delegates so far.  Sanders, as of right now, is leading the popular vote but he’s running second in the delegate count.  So, in other words, nobody knows anything and the caucus system is stupid.  Thank you for confirming that, Iowa.

Last Night’s Caucus

At least on the Democatic side, last night’s Iowa caucus was an amazing clusterfuck.

For reasons that still aren’t clear but which are being blamed on failure of the new, heavily hyped app that was supposed to make voting easier and more transparent, a total of zero votes have been officially counted in Iowa.  That’s as of this morning.  Zero votes have been released.  Zero delegates have been awarded.  Buttigieg gave a strange speech last night in which he said that anecdotal evidence led him to believe that his campaign had won Iowa.  The campaigns have little choice but to move on to New Hampshire while the Iowa results are still up in the air.

Two thoughts:

  1. This is the latest example of people automatically assuming that the answer to every issue is new technology.  People of a certain age put too much trust in the idea that there’s an app for everything.  Sometimes, the old ways — like writing down a name on a piece of paper and then letting someone else count the results and announce the vote totals — are still the best way.
  2.  The rest of the country is having a good laugh at Iowa’s expense right now but I feel sorry for the volunteers who sacrificed the last few months of their life to work in Iowa and I feel bad for everyone who went to the not-inconsiderable trouble to attend a Democratic caucus last night.  This morning, they’re essentially being told that all of their efforts were pointless.

It’s time to reconsider not only the caucus system but why we allow two states to have such an outsized role in our presidential selection process.  Reform needs to happen but it probably won’t.

For now, everyone’s just waiting to see who supposedly won last night.  I say supposedly because, after all this, no one but the declared winner is going to accept the totals as being accurate.

Waiting on Iowa

In two hours, we should start getting some results from the Iowa Caucus.  For me, this is the most exciting part of any campaign.  This is when anything is still possible and you know that you’ll soon find out if all of your efforts made any difference or if you gave up your holidays in vain.

Soon, we’ll know which campaign was able to get their supports to show up and who did the best job of reaching out to the undecideds.  Iowa can be unpredictable and just because you do well in the initial caucus doesn’t mean that you’ll pick up the delegates you need to stay alive in the race.  But a good showing here can make a minor candidate (like Amy Klobuchar, for instance) a major one.  It can also provide the final nail in the coffin of a once-strong campaign that’s been treading water for the past few weeks.

Soon, we’ll have the results.

It’ll all be downhill from there.

Iowa Predictions

Really?  We’re just three days away from the Iowa Caucus?

I’m shocked that it slipped my mind.  I guess with the Super Bowl this weekend, the Oscars next week, and the news being dominated by the coronavirus, it’s easy to forget that the first Democratic nominating contest is on Monday.

I’m going to go ahead and predict that Sanders will win but probably not by as much as some people are expecting.  Biden will probably be a little bit stronger than the polling indicates. Warren will probably underperform while Buttigieg and Klobuchar will do just well enough to keep their campaigns alive.

If Biden’s campaign underperforms or if Sanders turns out to be stronger than expected, which is always a possibility because Iowa is not always easy to poll, look for a lot of anti-Bernie Democrats to suddenly develop a strange new respect for Michael Bloomberg.