The utter disaster of the Iowa caucuses may have fatally wounded Joe Biden’s 2020 presidential bid and revived the specter of 2016 for Sanders supporters. Most of all, it shows that the Democrats still have no clue why Trump won.
The latest news coming out of Des Moines is showing former South Bend mayor Pete Buttigieg and Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) jockeying for the win, with Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts) in third place and former VP and presumed “front-runner” Biden bringing up the rear. That’s with only 71 percent of the precincts reporting, however, amid “unacceptable” delays in reporting caused by a “coding error” in the app used to tally the results, according to Iowa party chair Troy Price.
America reacted with “you had one job” and “dumpster fire” memes – with President Donald Trump himself retweeting the latter at one point on Tuesday – but the entire fiasco is no laughing matter.
If this happened literally anywhere else in the world, the State Department would be calling for regime change and Treasury would be imposing sanctions, all while the Pentagon counts the ammunition to make sure it has enough for some ‘kinetic’ democracy promotion.
Fortunately for the US, no other country wishes to do unto it what it does unto others. That still leaves the fallout from the Iowa disaster, however – which looks pretty bad for pretty much everyone involved.
Take Joe Biden: a faithful agent of the Democrat establishment, the “minder” foisted upon Barack Obama in 2008 to ensure that the man who beat DNC darling Hillary Clinton doesn’t bring too much hope and change. He didn’t run in 2016, letting Clinton and Sanders clobber each other. When he did announce for 2020, he was conspicuously not endorsed by Obama.
His status as front-runner in national polls has been invoked by House Democrats to declare any probing into his family’s business dealings overseas would be “foreign meddling” in the election and literally a pretext to impeach Trump. Yet in Iowa, he finished behind a small-town mayor from Indiana and two out of three sitting senators running for the DNC nomination.
Even the mainstream media outlets, that have until recently acted as his bodyguard, are now turning their backs on Uncle Joe.
What about Warren? She may have come in third overall, but data coming in from Iowa shows she is nobody’s first choice. Buttigieg, Sanders, Biden and even Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minnesota) have at least one county where they’re in the lead; not Warren.
As for “Mayor Pete,” he rushed to claim victory on Monday evening, long before any data from the caucuses was actually available – further fueling speculation about his campaign’s shadowy relationship with the company contracted to develop and run the app used to report the votes.
The “expert” staff behind the app had previously worked for Clinton’s campaign – that notable bastion of computer competence and cybersecurity – so it surprised precisely no one when the Iowa party blamed “coding errors” for the reporting fiasco.
What may yet doom Buttigieg’s candidacy is the uncanny memetic similarity between him and the self-styled “interim president” of Venezuela Juan Guaido.
Initial reports that Sanders had more votes than Buttigieg but was still behind – thanks to the arcane caucus system, which sometimes involves coin tosses – must have raised the spectre of 2016 for many of his supporters. While that may be a cause for concern to Sanders, it’s truly bad news for the Democrats.
Four years of Democrats shouting “RUSSIA” and “Orange Man Bad” haven’t erased the memories of Sanders supporters who saw evidence that their candidate was cheated in emails and documents published by WikiLeaks. The DNC never denied those revelations; in fact, subsequent testimonies by former party officials only confirmed them further. The party doesn’t seem to have done anything to address this “cancer.”
As someone who reported from both party conventions in 2016, I saw firsthand how Trump won in Cleveland by charming the GOP holdovers into supporting him in the end – and how Clinton triumphed in Philadelphia not by winning over, but by completely alienating the ‘Berniecrats.’ The difference in energy and tone from one to the other was unmistakable.
That, and not “Russia” – or Facebook memes, or Twitter trolls, or Jim Comey, or any other excuse offered by Hillary Clinton – is why Trump won. If he is anywhere as bad as the Democrats say he is, all the Democrats had to do was not screw up their 2020 nomination process.
To quote Glenn Greenwald, “They’re off to a spectacular start.”
By Nebojsa Malic