Chaos Isn’t a Ladder, It’s a Caucus in Iowa

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Andrew Donaldson

Born and raised in West Virginia, Andrew has since lived and traveled around the world several times over. Though frequently writing about politics out of a sense of duty and love of country, most of the time he would prefer discussions on history, culture, occasionally nerding on aviation, and his amateur foodie tendencies. He can usually be found misspelling/misusing words on Twitter @four4thefire and his writing website Yonderandhome.com

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  1. Avatar Brandon Berg
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    says:

    Reportedly there was a typo in the design doc for the app: The developers thought that they were supposed to deliver an app to facilitate a caucup.Report

  2. Avatar Oscar Gordon
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    says:

    The statement said the snafu, which left cable anchors with hours to fill and nothing to say

    OH THE HUMANITY! Won’t you please think of the journalists and anchors who have nothing to say!?Report

  3. Avatar Oscar Gordon
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    says:

    I’m not sure why the primary voting can’t be a rolling, or a random, schedule? This year it’s IA, then NH, then… Next year it’s FL, then WI, then…

    Pretty sure my son could hack up a program that randomly orders the states in about an hour, and he’s still playing with Lego Boost.Report

    • Avatar Michael Cain in reply to Oscar Gordon
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      says:

      Iowa has a state law binding the state political parties that says they must schedule their caucuses earlier than any other state. I’m looking forward to Iowa v. Democratic National Committee after the DNC announces that if Iowa goes first, their delegates won’t be seated by the national convention.Report

      • Avatar LTL FTC in reply to Michael Cain
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        says:

        That’s what I was thinking too – what’s the plan for doing this?

        The fact that Iowa has a Byzantine caucus system and insufficient cumulative melanin for modern media optics is not news and hasn’t been for a long time.

        The difference here is that the complaint is about competence and can’t completely be chalked up to special pleading from losers. More likely, there will be some “reforms” that solve this years’ problems, but come January 2024, we’ll be back among the cornfields.Report

        • Avatar LTL FTC in reply to LTL FTC
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          says:

          It’s also worth noting that NH and IA are routinely have some of the closest margins in general election presidential races. If the dems move to a regional system or simply switch to a safe state, all that campaigning and organization goes away and two purple states go red.Report

        • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to LTL FTC
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          says:

          Eh, the *best* thing about Iowa going first is the Caucus system.

          There’s something exactly right about the first time people officially state their preferences that it be done live, in person, and as a rolling ranked choice process.

          Ironically, technology should make it even more interesting by capturing not just the results, but the very first outline of preferences, and then tracking the (anonymous) movement of votes from group to group x1700 caucuses. Simple Web interfaces could easily capture all this data and make the Caucus system even more interesting in post-analysis.

          The fact that their tech for reporting broke doesn’t mean it couldn’t be done or that caucusing should be abolished.Report

          • Avatar LTL FTC in reply to Marchmaine
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            says:

            It’s a unique spectacle, that’s for sure. But for a person like me who knows not to have any political opinions under a real name because doing so is equivalent to painting a huge target on your back, the secret ballot has its appeal.Report

            • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to LTL FTC
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              says:

              Sure, I suppose in this era of phones/social media that’s a new(er) dimension to consider. But, I do think its fair to recognize that this is an internal meeting to express preferences for a party you’ve already declared for. How one votes in the general? That’s secret.

              But, one way to address those concerns might be a virtual caucus with a phone app…Report

              • Avatar LTL FTC in reply to Marchmaine
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                says:

                It’s even worse within the party than cross-party these days. Imagine doing something like that in a lefty stronghold instead of a place where you’re more likely to know your neighbor. I’m a lifelong Democrat, probably to the left of the median national Democrat in many issues, and there is no way I’d state a preference in front of my neighborhood’s “activists.”

                I see the community board meetings in my neighborhood and see the chaos, rage, and entitlement.

                If there was a California caucus, would I be surprised if someone tried to prevent the tabulation of results at some SF precinct because the preferences of trans women of color weren’t “centered” because candidate that the loudest among their number preferred lost? Heck no. Or that some dumb procedural decision with no effect on the outcome is “white supremacy” if the wrong candidate wins? You can’t tell me it isn’t extremely easy to picture.

                I’ve seen people picket outside someone’s employer for having the wrong opinion on a zoning question at a community board meeting, for chrissakes. When the personal is political, you can win the politics by destroying the person.

                Re-read Freddie DeBoer’s “Planet of Cops” essay and tell me again that a secret ballot isn’t necessary within a party. This one specifically.Report

              • Avatar Slade the Leveller in reply to LTL FTC
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                says:

                We’re already seeing this in IA, where people are complaining about disabled people being excluded from the caucuses.Report

              • Avatar LTL FTC in reply to Slade the Leveller
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                says:

                To be fair, accessibility of polling places is a nationwide issue.Report

      • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Michael Cain
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        says:

        Oh funReport

  4. Avatar Marchmaine
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    says:

    This is how you get Biden.Report

  5. Avatar InMD
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    says:

    Allegedly the tech company who built the app is run by…. veterans from the tech arm of HRC’s 2016 campaign…

    http://www.latimes.com/business/technology/story/2020-02-04/clinton-campaign-vets-behind-2020-iowa-caucus-app-snafuReport

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to InMD
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      says:

      In the DNC’s defense, this is more likely to be evidence of staggering arrogance coupled with off-the-scale incompetence than it is likely to be malice.Report

      • Avatar InMD in reply to Jaybird
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        says:

        I strongly doubt malice. Just really staggering incompetence.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Jaybird
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        says:

        It’s interesting to notice how often off-the-scale incompetence can be traced back to people on Hillary Clinton’s team, isn’t it?Report

      • Avatar Pinky in reply to Jaybird
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        says:

        I hope so. Andrew’s passing comment about conspiracies is something I hadn’t thought about. But that’s the era we live in, right? We spread them because we think they make us sound clever, as if fooling yourself has more dignity than being fooled by someone else. We collect and trade them like baseball cards. We don’t even stop to think if we believe them, much less if they’re right.Report

        • Avatar InMD in reply to Pinky
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          says:

          I think that’s absolutely what’s coming next, the conspiracy theories that is. We’re just waiting to see what the DNC claims the results were so that they can take the appropriate shape.Report

        • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Pinky
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          says:

          The conspiracy theory is comforting, because it implies grown-ups in charge that are competent enough to make the things that they want to have happen, happen.

          If only we could influence these grown-ups! Perhaps even join their circle!Report

        • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Pinky
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          says:

          Five days ago: Polling shows Bernie *surging* in Iowa, taking the lead only days before the caucus.

          Four days ago: Final polling showing that Bernie is, in fact!, leading is suppressed by a major Iowa Newspaper.

          Two days ago: John Kerry is overheard saying he might enter the primary to save the Democratic Party from being destroyed by Bernie.

          {{Yesterday: Clinton-affiliated Dem establishment insiders who created the phone app access the code to sabotage data collection on election night}}

          Last night: “Official” vote counts can’t be declared, thereby denying Bernie Sanders of a Democratic Party-destroying victory in the Iowa caucus.

          Sounds pretty good, right? Right?Report

          • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Stillwater
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            says:

            A good, solid conspiracy theory. And the best part is that it’s comforting.

            Here’s something that I saw that made my brain break due to how bad it must be given that I am not assuming malice on any level:

            Report

            • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Jaybird
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              says:

              Well, Bernie supporters are primed to think Iowa may be best explained by DNC shenanigans because they’ve already been through some DNS shenanigans.

              I don’t think they would embrace the above “conspiracy” theory because it’s comforting, I think *they* think it’s backed by evidence.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Stillwater
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                says:

                One thing that does seem to be popping up over and over again is that maybe there isn’t some deep and dark conspiracy theory going on… but what would a deep and dark conspiracy theory be doing differently?

                If I went into the Iowa Caucus asking myself “how will the DNC spin Bernie’s win into a Nothingburger?” I’m not sure how I’d see these events as anything but evidence that the DNC is actively malicious.

                (Remember the impeachment? How boring would a “Senate acquits Trump” headline be right now? Assuming a Bernie nomination, making the Impeachment boring is the best gift the DNC could possibly give any enemy of Sanders!)

                (Oh, God. Now I’m doing it.)Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                A deep dark conspiracy would be slick and not a bucket of cluster forks. Having the caucus look disorganized and screwed doesn’t move things along smoothly in the conspirators direction. It is a pall of smoke which is not how you run a good conspiracy.

                Also since the caucuses are public seems like a hard thing to manipulate.

                Bernie folks should be trying to figure out the turnout numbers. The premise of his campaign was he will bring out all sorts of new voters. Of course caucuses suck in general and especially the way they are done in Iowa.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to greginak
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                says:

                To tie into Pinky’s comment below:

                Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                I’d just say that “elite incompetence” and “institutional rot” are *in many cases* harder to believe (as a complete accounting of an event or state of affairs) than the conspiracy theory, especially when the so-called “conspiracy theory” includes institutional rot as a basic premise.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Stillwater
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                says:

                Thank goodness we have quality journalism keeping tabs on both the elites and the institutions!

                (Holds hand up to earpiece)Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                Yeah if only the media was covering this episode. Sadly it is covering it all up and not reporting on it.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to greginak
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                says:

                Counterpoint:

                Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                Additional Counterpoint:

                Report

              • Avatar George Turner in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                My, that does give off quite a whiff of something, doesn’t it?

                Someone high up in the party or in the US government apparently lied to the Times and said the ap had been vetted by Homeland Security, when it hadn’t. The higher ups in the DNC obviously overruled Iowa’s preference to keep doing things by phone, which was tried, true, and unhackable.

                The only reason the national party might want to insist on such a change is if there intent was to alter the caucus results, because the old system wasn’t broke and didn’t need fixing. That Hillary’s 2016 people were behind the ap is even more troubling.

                Combine that with the rumor that the reports were flowing until Bernie’s people flagged discrepancies between the reports and reality, and you can paint a pretty clear picture of an attempt to rig an election.

                It might steam Bernie’s folks enough to make him go third party this time, in which case you can go ahead and book your hotel rooms for the Trump inauguration parties.

                I will also note that we’ve had reliable ways to communicate critical information, and to verify the correct receipt of that critical information, and some of these ways have been in constant use for centuries. “Right full rudder!” “Right full rudder, aye!”

                In British elections they have a phone banks staffed by people who dutifully right down the results from each riding, then read those results back to verify them, etc, with all the import and certainty they used calling out the speeds and positions of German bombers heading towards London.

                It works, and there was no reason to change it. If somebody had urged the Brits to switch to a phone ap, they’d probably have arrested them on the spot as a German spy or saboteur.Report

              • Avatar CJColucci in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                You mean the part where they say “as our team has been noting all week”?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to CJColucci
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                says:

                Yeah, the part where they said “this stuff that is happening? We knew about it beforehand!”

                Without, you know, a story demonstrating that, it’s the equivalent of showing up to a “Lay Down Your Marker” thread after the fact with a comment that says “As I predicted” without having a previous comment.Report

              • Avatar CJColucci in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                You picked the source, not me. I hadn’t heard about this previously because I haven’t been following the Iowa caucus. I have a life and it has been unusually busy lately, so I can’t say from what little I’ve seen whether the guy who says they’ve “been noting all week” stuff about a f****d-up app was lying or not. You picked him, you vet him.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to CJColucci
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                says:

                CJ, I did. I could find no mention of doubts about the app before the fact. Only after.

                Have you ever read the 2003 editorial from Eason Jordan “The News We Kept To Ourselves“?

                I think you’d like it.Report

              • Avatar CJColucci in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                I read it at the time. Nice piece, but nothing in it that isn’t obvious. There are things you can’t report for a variety of reasons. One of them, not really Jordan’s point, is that you haven’t run down the rumors and sourced a proper story. If you have any information on the Iowa rumors, feel free to share. Along with any reasons news organizations might have not to run this story if they had it nailed down.Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                So. How sure were they? Should the DHS have been certifying it? All the clip says is people were concerned before hand. The media is reporting on this cluster. So does that prove the media is covering it up or not covering it?

                What is this supposed to prove?Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to greginak
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                says:

                What is this supposed to prove?

                Well, Robby Mook (Hillary’s 2016 data guy) “rigorously” tested the app and – presumably – gave important feedback to Shadow’s ownership team (also HIllary 2016 alums) regarding the app’s you know what it doesn’t really matter anymore the app sucks and the Dems look like fools or worse because of it.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Stillwater
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                says:

                Getting flashbacks from 2016 yet?Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                Not yet, but we’re a “how does the failure of the app make Dems look like fools?” comment away and I can feel it coming.Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to Stillwater
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                says:

                Oh yeah, that without question. And the media is covering which is what they should be doing. Seems pretty clear at this point. I just can’t figure out whether the media reporting is evidence of a conspiracy or , i guess, also evidence of some other conspiracy.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to greginak
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                says:

                Greg, my argument is not that journalism is involved in some sort of conspiracy.

                My argument is that they are a (redacted) joke.

                My original comment mocked the idea that they were any good at this sort of thing. Here, I’ll copy and paste what I said again:

                “Thank goodness we have quality journalism keeping tabs on both the elites and the institutions!”

                That isn’t mocking the idea that they aren’t engaged in a conspiracy.

                That’s mocking the idea that they are keeping tabs on both the elites and the institutions.

                Indeed, it’s mocking how they are a (redacted) joke.Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                That is your belief. Fine. You take whatever happened as proof of your belief. People do it all the time. They report; it proves you were right. They don’t report: it proves you were right. They report accurately; it proves you were right. They report poorly; it proves you were correct. If they uncover something; it proves you are right….etc. etc.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to greginak
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                says:

                I just want you to acknowledge that my belief is “they’re a (redacted) joke” rather than “they’re engaged in a dark conspiracy”.

                Once we have that down, I’m good.

                (And, yeah, their coverage on the whole Iowa thing does kinda confirm my biases.)Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                Well if we were to point and mock I would start by pointing and mocking the media who breathlessly cover this as a Big Event with Significant Meaning And Portent For The Election.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                Hey, if we agree that they’re a (redacted) joke, I find myself in the delightful place where we’re in agreement.

                It’s not important to me that we agree on why.Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                Well we agree on confirming your biases. Exactly. That is what i’m seeing.

                The “media” goes from shitty to meh to good. Sometimes in the same hour or edition. Some are typically bad, some are typically good.

                It a classic tool of authoritarians to want people to doubt any media that isn’t on The Team. That is what Fake News is all about.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to greginak
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                says:

                …You think that my complaining that the media is a (redacted) joke would be mitigated if they were more like Fox and/or more like Democracy Now! on NPR?

                I’m honestly thinking that you don’t comprehend my criticism of the media.Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                I’m honestly sure you didn’t understand what i said.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to greginak
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                says:

                Reading again… So my saying “the media is a joke” plays into Trump’s hands.

                You admit that, yes, sometimes the media is bad. But sometimes it’s good! And, yes, sometimes it’s mediocre.

                But me saying it’s a joke is playing into Trump’s hands.

                Did I get your point this time?Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                Blanket statements that the media is a joke is playing into the hands of any authoritarian. Authoritarians want to be the only source of information. Anything that is critical is ungood is to be ignored. Doubt everything but what the leader says. Insert Orwell quotes here. This isn’t new.

                Saying the media is a joke without actually knowing whether the reporting in question is good or bad, accurate or inaccurate is a sweet bias you got going there. Collapsing all media into “the media is a joke” is a time saver.

                Shorter: you want a simple ideological statement to cover everything instead of examining the facts in a specific case.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to greginak
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                says:

                You know what also plays into the hands of authoritarians? The media being a joke.

                “Shorter: you want a simple ideological statement to cover everything instead of examining the facts in a specific case.”

                No.

                I want a news media to report on stuff like “there are concerns about the app” before the caucus and then report “like we said, there were concerns about the app, and those concerns have now been realized” instead of reporting on the chaos and pointing out that “hey, we heard about this”.

                But we’ve got a ways to go before October.

                I’m sure I’ll get you to agree that the media is a joke before then. (I’ll probably have to settle for something like “okay, political media isn’t very good but stuff like weather reporting is good!”)Report

              • Avatar George Turner in reply to greginak
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                says:

                I remember when everyone took the media seriously because the media was trustworthy and journalists oozed integrity. Those days are long past. Over time they shed their integrity and their ethical system collapsed, as “gotcha” journalism and made-up hit pieces made media stars, while the dedicated drudges who got their facts right eventually got laid off as the Toledo Times and Oakville Gazette shut down.

                Under Obama the national press became willing spigots of state propaganda. Even comedians wouldn’t question him. Now they’re just a fifth column, Democratic operatives with bylines, that lie without an ounce of shame or remorse.

                The Times, WaPo, and CNN spent two years exclaiming that they had hard proof that Trump colluded with Russia to win in 2016, and despite the Mueller report it’s still their fall-back position. I’m just waiting for CNN to bring on a military analyst who will explain how Russian military satellites are capable of hacking smart-phone voting aps from orbit.Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to George Turner
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                says:

                Generic fox news koolaid. Bring the really fermented stuff.Report

              • Avatar InMD in reply to greginak
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                says:

                This is the nerdiest thing I’ve ever said here but so be it. The conservative media (Fox News, Talk Radio, etc.) is sort of like Sauron. It can’t do journalism in a real sense (not in any consistent way), it can only make a mockery or cynical immitation of it, like orcs are of elves.

                The non expressly ideological media on the other hand can do real journalism if it choses to. And sometimes it still does!

                But, like the good guys, it has a choice to use its powers for real journalism (dedication for example to accuracy and the public’s right to know) or to itself fall into the same traps as that which it rightly derides as dangerous. The easiest way for it to stray is to believe too strongly in its own righteousness and need to win at all costs. That’s when it starts to slip up, use the dark arts of the enemy, and put its fingers on the scales.

                This is a problem because the ostensibly small-l liberal media is necessary in a democracy in a way that the orcish version just isn’t. Its already corrupt and its continued corruption doesn’t change anything whereas the failures of the MSM fairly or unfairly gives a little bit of truth to forces like Trumpism. That nihilistic relativism is exactly what it feeds on, and the more fodder its given the more it grows.Report

              • Avatar Aaron David in reply to InMD
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                says:

                I’m going to disagree, InMD. Not with the dorky part, I mean, you do you, right? But with the general idea that the only good media is small L. News media can either be The View From Nowhere (ie no point of view, just the facts) or it cane be perspective media, but used in the service of truth (FCVOT.)

                The problems falls into the fact that the country is roughly divided on conservative and liberal grounds. If you want to have a baseline of truth, many of the assumtions of society need to be shared, as they aren’t actually truths, but rather opinions. IE what is racist, the proper use of violence, the role of the state, etc. If those assumptions are not shared by the people consuming your media, than you are no longer a truth teller If You Insist On Those Truths.

                The “orcish” version is just as important to truth telling due to the simple fact that if you assume something, you have a blind spot to it. And the more viewpoints looking at an action/object the greater truth can be percieved about that.

                Now, over the last several decades, the media environment winnowed itself, self-selecting for one viewpoint. And this led the other half of the country to go “this is BS” when they would hear the news. Which creates a need for news that doesn’t present in the same way. Thus, FOX, talk radio, etc. These will be more bombastic, in much the same way that Rolling Stone was back in the sixties, due in part for a need to set itself apart, but also due to the seeming disconnect between it and the “elven” media. Which, from another point of view, were the “orcs.”

                Also, nihilistic relativism is, frankly, an opionion. An opinion much like it being corrupt. Because, again, many people think much of the tradional media, such as NPR, NYT, CNN is infinitly more corrupt than,say, Rush or Fox. Mainly due to the fact of being involved in such activities as the correspodents dinner, embeding in gov’t actions, the revolving door between the Obama admin and many of these media groups. And as we saw last night with CNN having knowledge about issues with the caucus counting app, of the open secrets of Weinstein and John Edwards and Bill Cosby, etc.

                Indeed, we need other media with conflicting POV’s to keep the favored medias in check.Report

              • Avatar InMD in reply to Aaron David
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                says:

                I think what you’re describing is more reflective of the corruption of institutionalized liberal journalism than a defense of Conservative(tm) media. You won’t get much disagreement from me that it’s pretty darn corrupt but there are still real distinctions.

                Conservative(tm) media isn’t really capable of an ideologically unsympathetic scoop, much less one that harms the GOP. NYT and WaPo, compromised as they are, can still do real, hard journalism that is dangerous to the establishment. It’s just easier and more fun to be a courtier which is why we are where we are. For example, Jane Mayer could write about the Obama administration’s various attacks on civil liberties in the New Yorker. But there’s no one on Fox News who would be capable of doing something like that about Trump or any Republican and even if there were Fox would never invest in the investigative work or publicize it.

                My point is that variation in editorial stance is not the same as disciplined adherence to principles of transparency, fact finding, and getting it right, whatever the cost or wherever the chips fall. Multiple sources can even reach differing conclusions when dedicated to that type of approach, and build credibility from it. Ideologically committed organizations on the other hand have a much lower ceiling and are much more limited in the good they can do. All perspectives aren’t created equal, and hard, conscientious work is more valuable than the lazy variety.Report

              • Avatar Aaron David in reply to InMD
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                Well, no. All perspectives ARE equal. That is what people as individuls are, valid perspectives. That you would separate that, indeed deem anyone outside of the “liberal intitutional jouralism” lesser, speaks volumes. Of course, you are free to agree of disagree, acept of reject, any and all news sources. But to call one off limits due to ideology does more damage to the root of the forth estate than one limited point of view having semi truthy entertainment programs does. Programs no different than Morning Joe or Freshe Aire.

                Of course Jane Mayer can critique the O admin, but so can Fox, so can Rush, becasue if we have seen nothing over the last few years of the relentless Russia tales, never backed up and never disowned, they show that this truthyness is endemic to both points of view. And as you point out, it is the consumer of that news who is at fault for rejecting out hand information if they don’t like the source.

                But to speak to your specific example, FOX critising Trump, they do have Tucker Carlson, who does criticise Trump, they have been attacked by Trump for this when they are not seemingly on his side, such as standing in unison with other journalists. So the examples fall down there. Are they attacking from the right? Sure, but they are presenting news from the right.

                And in the same vein, as the New Yorker has (sadly) aligned itself with the resistance it has taken itself out of news game and put itself into the propaganda arena. Much the same way the MSNBC and CNN have. It cuts both ways.

                “My point is that variation in editorial stance is not the same as disciplined adherence to principles of transparency, fact finding, and getting it right, whatever the cost or wherever the chips fall.”
                But we have seen that the news media ™ as of now does not do this, it is no better than what is currently your view of the Other media, and that is what is killing the trust on the other side of the fence. There is no commitment to transparency, no fact finding, only raw adherance to Twitter.

                Alsotoo, the right wing media is different that the left in that while the right has political power, they do not have social power. So, as needs must, they are focused on gaining that power, and by knocking down many of the leftist shibboleths they are reaching toward that. But, they do have things such as The Daily Caller News Foundation, which handles that deep research you were questioning, or the lifestlye section at PJmedia. Plus hundereds of independant conservative bloggers covering all lifestyle and entertainment niches.

                So, yes, they are equal, they do work hard, they don’t always toe the line. And to say other wise puts one squarely in the camp of the orc. Whatever that is.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Aaron David
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                says:

                All perspectives ARE equal.

                “Hey Dad, what perspective should I take on stealing and murder and such?”

                Aaron: “Doesn’t matter son. All perspectives are equal.”Report

              • Avatar Aaron David in reply to Stillwater
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                says:

                I was wrong, Stillwaters perspective is not equal.Report

              • Avatar InMD in reply to Aaron David
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                says:

                I’m still unconvinced and I think there’s a distinction that maybe I’m not being clear about.

                Criticism in an editorial
                or pundit sense does not equal journalism. Go back to the Tucker Carlson v. Jane Mayer example. Jane Mayer went out and uncovered information that the public previously didn’t know and published it. The public learned facts about, for example, how drone strikes are conducted, and those facts tended to paint the Obama administration in a negative light. All we learn when Tucker Carlson criticizes Trump about some highly publicized statement or action, from whatever perspective, is Tucker Carlson’s personal opinion. Which he is entitled to and people are entitled to listen to (never have said anything is off limits). But what he isn’t doing is anything truly vital in that 4th Estate sense, which is going out into the world, finding out whats going on, and getting that information to people who didn’t have it before, regardless of how it reflects on any person, party, movement, etc.

                I’ll give another example I think is illustrative. Take the UVA Rape hoax a few years ago. A handful of people voiced skepticism, but the real reporting that took apart the story was conducted by WaPo regional writers who went down there and got the facts. Another good one was NPR actually calling all of the schools commonly and uncritically cited as the scene of school shootings, and publishing its findings that very few of them could actually be substantiated.

                These are the kinds of things that to my knowledge something like Fox or talk radio does not do and would certainly never publish if what they found was in conflict with their editorial stance. Maybe a couple of those other sources you mentioned actually have gone out into the world, done the hard work, and found out things we didn’t know before that complicate or even go against the conservative perspective. No one knows everything that comes out but if this was going on in any regular way I’d have to think at the very least that the fallen rump of establishment media would be all over it.

                Again, my point isn’t that the MSM couldn’t quite accurately be accused of virtually all of the ills of Conservative media and more, due to their institutional clout. If CNN really did withhold reporting then that is a sin well beyond being sycophants. My point is that establishment media still, sometimes, when it feels like, does journalism which as best as I can tell Conservative media does not. Where establishment media absolutely kills itself, its credibility, and feeds post-truth movements like Trumpism is when it stands smugly on the laurels of its journalism work in support of a more partisan or ideological mission, as though these things are one in the same, even when they obviously aren’t.Report

              • Avatar Aaron David in reply to InMD
                Ignored
                says:

                I think it is more a case of insider v. outsider status than anything else. As I have shown, both sides do original reporting, both sides do disagree with the president (though obviouly at vastly different levels.) But, and this is important in my opinion at least, having an alternate take on anything is a universal good.

                But, to dig a little deeper with something I said in earlier posts, the MSM (for lack of a better term) isn’t especially left/liberal per se, but it is wholly establishment. It is just that the current establishment is mainly left/liberal. And the conservative media is outside that ken.

                Every morning one of my first “news” stops is Instapundit. Not to get my lastest talking points, but to get a feel for what is happening on that side of the aisle. Much of it is dreck, but there is a lot of good reporting; reporting on what is happening on campuses, looks into legislation, reports of shenannigas of various peoples, left and right. And I do this as much of what I am reading gets “missed” by the MSM. So, unless you go looking for this reporting, you will miss it.

                Now, much of it is simply paper chasing, or in this day and age tweet chasing, but that is the reality of our culture. For example, the IRS scandel was going on for much longer than reported in the MSM, but due to its nature it was followed rather closely in the C press.

                But, to circle around, that outsider status is important to focus on, for a couple reasons. 1) a view from outside is always important if only from that change in perspective. 2) The methodogy is different, the concerns are different, and thus the final product is different. Good or bad, only you can judge that.Report

              • Avatar CJColucci in reply to InMD
                Ignored
                says:

                Tucker Carlson himself made roughly the same point, and got booed for it, at a 2009 CPAC convention, urging the conservative media to go into the field and find things out, like the New York Times (his example), rather than just attitudinizing about information they get from, among other places, the New York Times. One of these missions, however, is hard work; the other is something any barstool blowhard or Twitteratus can pull off.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Aaron David
                Ignored
                says:

                Data point: American conservatives have a generally positive view of Vladimir Putin and the Russian government;

                Data point: Putin and many Russians view Josef Stalin positively as a great hero;

                Prediction: Within a decade American conservatives will “rehabilitate” Stalin casting him as a flawed but misunderstood great champion of traditional values who was in fact, trying to fight communism from within.

                Liberal critics will assail this view with data and facts, but the “view from nowhere” will be ridiculed in favor of alternative facts.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Well I would ask you the same thing I ask my lefty friends over at LGM who angrily assail the NT as a “joke”.

                If it is a “joke” then what will you cite as a reliable source next time you want to assert something?

                Or are they only a “joke” when they say something you don’t like?

                Maybe its better to say that the media often are biased, often get things wrong, often have a poor perspective or focus.

                And maybe some news outlets are more accurate than others- maybe there is no such thing as “The Media” but many different news sources that can be regarded differently.

                Maybe for the most part, the big outlets- NYT/ WaPo, CNN/MSNBC get the facts right.

                So, no I don’t agree that they are a “joke”.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                As a reliable source? Depends on what I’m arguing.

                If I were arguing that “X Happened”, I’d rather post video than an article.

                But if I wanted to argue that the NYT was arguing something?

                There is no better source than the NYT for that.

                Additionally, if you argue with certain types of folks about certain things, sometimes you’re stuck saying “X happened” and then having to post an article instead of posting a video.

                You’re better off quoting the NYT or CNN (or Wikipedia) because if you post Fox or JoeBlow.livejournal.com’s site, there are people who will yell “FOX?!?!?!?” even if it’s the score from a sporting event.

                (A couple of weeks ago, I posted a link to CNN and I had someone try to dismiss the topic based on how they saw that Fox talked about the subject of the report too. Which, seriously, is NUTS.)Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                If you seriously want to mock the news media, you might do better to note something like this, where a lot of news people met with the President over lunch and groveled while he insulted them.

                https://www.thedailybeast.com/trump-had-americas-top-tv-news-anchors-over-for-lunch-and-ate-them-aliveReport

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                Chip, it’s enough for me to know that we agree that we should hold them in contempt.

                It’s not important to me that we agree on why.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Last weekend my wife and I were listening to an NPR segment about a sting run by the Chicago Sun Times hack in the early 80s. They rented a bar, paid to employ bartenders and waitresses, paid to stock the place with booze, obviously paid rent on the building for four months, paid to install cameras in two or three locations. The point of the sting was to catch grifty inspectors in the act of extorting bribes from shop owners. And they did.

                They wrote, I think, a 24 part series about their experiences at this bar, and – I guess! – sold a lot of papers. I was living in Chicago at the time and don’t remember that series being published, but the contrast between then and now really hit me.

                No one does this kind of stuff anymore. For pretty obvious reasons, reporting is largely, not entirely of course, based on access. And you can’t maintain access if you piss everyone off.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                Access can be purchased multiple ways.

                “Credibility” used to be the big one.

                There are smaller ones.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                No, we don’t agree. Read what I wrote above.

                “Holding them in contempt” is the all-knowing gullibility of people who assert that “all politicians are corrupt” the sort of statement where they” think it makes us sound clever, as if fooling yourself has more dignity than being fooled by someone else”.

                You’re fooling yourself, thinking that you have perceptively seen behind the curtain when in truth there is no curtain.
                Its only the rubes and marks who think there is a curtain.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                No, we don’t agree. Read what I wrote above.

                It’s like Ronan Farrow and Harvey Weinstein never happened.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                That only happened once!Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                People want to believe in order so conspiracies are easier to swallow. Doesn’t that really cover it.

                I’m sure i’ll be alone on this but “elite” is reaching that status of being a useless label. We’re talking about the “elites” of the Iowa Dem party who are mostly volunteers running caucuses. Calling everything elite doesn’t make a comment smart.Report

              • Avatar George Turner in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                Look on the bright side. It’s good to know that those Obamacare software designers are still finding work.Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Meh. As far as i can tell most or all of the bollocks relates to a shitty app. This is all a major fork up, but shitty apps are not exactly unknown. My wife has to use citrix for work which seems to be less stable then some exotic isotope of Uranium. The explanation seems more prosaic and typical to daily life then anything unusual: convoluted rules and craptacular tech that people get suckered into based on out-sized promises and the cool factor.Report

              • Avatar Pinky in reply to greginak
                Ignored
                says:

                I’ve used Citrix three times. You’re not wrong.Report

              • Avatar George Turner in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                What happened with the ap was the same as in all those B-grade sci-fi shows where something or someone is trying to take control of the ship’s computer.

                The Romulan sleeper agent is trying to use his secret back door into the computer system, but the Ferengi is going in through a different back door that he bought from a hacker, but the alien entity is using a command override code, the captain is fighting to counteract that command override, and the ship’s engineer is trying to reroute the command authority to his console… and then the ship just blows up.Report

              • Avatar Pinky in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                Yeah. I believe that Epstein killed himself, but at times it feels like I’m arguing against the evidence.Report

            • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Jaybird
              Ignored
              says:

              The Iowa Democratic Party says it plans to release at least 50% of results from caucuses on Tuesday at 4 p.m. CT. Follow @AP for full coverage. https://t.co/8Rn42zbD4W— AP Politics (@AP_Politics) February 4, 2020

              https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

              Unbelievable.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                I suppose that the point of the caucuses isn’t to “help” any given candidate, but releasing a mere 50% of the outcomes helps no one.

                Well, Trump, maybe.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Horseback and telegram could have done that by then.Report

              • Avatar George Turner in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                To be fair, each result has to be run past Joe Biden’s legal team before being released.

                If anyone needed a reason to make sure Joe Biden doesn’t become President, this is as probably a pretty good one.

                Under no penumbra of American democracy should a candidate get to “approve” the release of election results. If the party’s reply to his request wasn’t a string of four letter words, then the folks in charge are complicit in the rot.Report

          • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Stillwater
            Ignored
            says:

            Via the Twitters:

            🌹 Salem Snow For Congress:

            I am now hearing that the Sanders campaign sent workers to every caucus to record the live results.

            The DNC was unaware of this. When their early tallies did not match the recorded results from campaign workers, his campaign had 5 lawyers contact the DNC. Now they’re meeting.

            The plot thickens….

            I should add, no confirmation of this anywhere.Report

            • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Stillwater
              Ignored
              says:

              I won’t quote more BernieBro comments about this SNAFU, but instead only note that their belief the Dem establishment has intentionally, willfully, hosed their candidate has *dug in*. I don’t think there’s any coming back from it.Report

              • Avatar JS in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                My experience with the online legions of Sanders supporters is they believe everything, including bad weather and bird flu, is a DNC conspiracy against Sanders.

                It’s like someone took the essence of a 20 year old’s first political crush, and distilled it, and then created a bot to spam it online at everyone every 20 seconds.

                I swear, sometimes I think someone — somewhere — spent millions on a social media buy wherein they paid for people to pretend to be paranoid Sanders supporters, just to drive voters away from Sanders. A conspiracy which means, clearly, they’re getting to me.

                I had one Sanders supporter tell me, to my actual face, that nobody could have voted against Sanders in 2016 unless they were a ‘corporate shill’. Which made over half my state primary voters corporate shills, as Sanders lost that primary.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to JS
                Ignored
                says:

                That’s my experience as well, and I think that Bernies appeal to the people is that very same sense of combativeness.
                Unlike say, Warren whose appeal (for me) is her clearheaded ability to work within the existing power structures.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to JS
                Ignored
                says:

                “Which made over half my state primary voters corporate shills”

                Not impossible. California, for example, has a ton of corporate shills. Virginia too. Massachusetts and Delaware also likely meet this threshold.Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                it would be a lot easier to argue against conspiracy theorists’ theories if the things that the conspiracy theorists theorized would happen are in fact happening just as the conspiracy theorists theorized they would.Report

        • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Pinky
          Ignored
          says:

          “We spread them because we think they make us sound clever, as if fooling yourself has more dignity than being fooled by someone else. ”

          I’m appropriating this comment in the name of the people.Report

  6. Avatar North
    Ignored
    says:

    Ugh, well if it knocks Iowa off its perch it might be worth it. What a fish up.Report

    • Avatar Stillwater in reply to North
      Ignored
      says:

      Every candidate: “I spent three months humiliating myself to fluff a handful of middle-aged white people for this?”Report

    • Avatar InMD in reply to North
      Ignored
      says:

      Could be wrong but my gut is telling me this is going to be on a long list of bullet points coming out in November describing how Trump got re-elected.

      The sentiments expressed here strike me as entirely too plausible:

      https://www.theweek.com/articles-amp/893559/trump-just-won-iowa-democratic-caucusesReport

      • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to InMD
        Ignored
        says:

        I think the writer needs to set down their phone and take a walk outside to get some fresh air.Report

        • Avatar InMD in reply to Chip Daniels
          Ignored
          says:

          Hey maybe so. I just know what I thought in 2016 and how wrong I turned out to be. If I were a person of any consequence in the party the last thing I’d want is to be caught complacent. People should already be getting fired and losing contracts.Report

      • Avatar North in reply to InMD
        Ignored
        says:

        I’m not ready to get that despondent. Primaries aren’t so easy to fish up. I have always hated caucuses and this will further diminish caucus states. As for the overall election- unless there’s an absolute parade of fish ups noone will be thinking about this a week from now let alone in November.Report

        • Avatar Michael Cain in reply to North
          Ignored
          says:

          Primaries aren’t so easy to fish up.

          Primaries have millions of dollars of government money behind them defining processes, acquiring software, testing, implementing audit processes, staffing, etc. Caucuses are done on the (extreme) cheap by the parties. Give me a few million dollars and I’ll provide Iowa with the smoothest running caucus anyone has ever seen.Report

          • Avatar George Turner in reply to Michael Cain
            Ignored
            says:

            I wonder how much our national ethanol subsidies are worth to Iowa? This caucus screw up could easily cost Iowa its prominent place in campaigns, and it’s Iowa’s oversize political importance that makes prominent politicians say they’re all in for ethanol. Heck, I think the whole program started as a bribe to Iowa farmers.

            Legally, I don’t think there’s any way a court would find a proximate cause in the eventual end of ethanol subsidies and the Iowa DNC’s incompetence, but all the agricultural workers will know it. Heck, more than one top Democrat might want to end subsidies just to spite Iowa.

            That’s an easy one to spin, too. “Donald Trump: Protecting corn farmers from from Biden’s wrath!”

            But seriously, there’s a train of consequences that could see a lot of farmers and processors take a pretty big hit from this, and that’s probably not the only federal program that tilts Iowa’s way just because of the early caucus.Report

  7. Avatar Aaron David
    Ignored
    says:

    “Summer Is Coming”

    Report

  8. Avatar Brandon Berg
    Ignored
    says:

    Really, though, why do we care? There are still months of primaries to go. We already have a general idea of how things went; does it really matter if we have to wait a day or two to find out that candidate A got one or two fewer delegate and candidate D got one or two more than predicted by the unofficial counts?Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Brandon Berg
      Ignored
      says:

      Because one of the arguments we’re counting on for the upcoming fight against Trump is “Vote for the Democrats: At least they’re competent!”Report

    • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Brandon Berg
      Ignored
      says:

      I’m kinda with Brandon here.
      But then, my perspective is one from a guy who isn’t on Twitter or Facebook, I don’t watch cable news shows or listen to political talk radio.

      In short, I’m like most Americans who woke up this morning hearing something about a snafu in the caucus in Iowa, then ate breakfast and went to work.

      The pundits and twitterati want this to be The Big Defining Moment but hey, they always do don’t they?

      By tomorrow they will be hyperventilating over some other Defining Moment.Report

      • Avatar Andrew Donaldson in reply to Chip Daniels
        Ignored
        says:

        State of the Union tonight and the acquittal in the Impeachment trial tomorrow, so yes news cycle and public conscience wise this will have a short self life except for the conspiracy theorist and excuse makers.Report

      • Avatar JS in reply to Chip Daniels
        Ignored
        says:

        Twitter rots the brain. It’s like the 24/7 news channel on steroids.

        It’s designed for mindless, gut-level hot takes in the absence of facts. And what gets retweeted and promulgated is the most hyperbolic version of those.

        I’ve yet to meet anyone whose use of Twitter as “source of news and analysis” has aided in their ability to deal with reality. It’s occasionally useful in aggregate, especially from countries restrictive states, but in America?

        It seems to encourage shallowness, hyperbole, and an utter lack of thought.Report

        • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to JS
          Ignored
          says:

          You say these things as if they’re criticisms.

          Seriously, Twitter is for hanging out with your friends and meeting celebrities; where else would you have the chance to talk baseball with Bill James and SF with Harry Turtledove? But it’s neither a news source nor a place for reasoned discussion.Report

  9. Avatar LeeEsq
    Ignored
    says:

    Veterran OTer James Hanley’s hot take is that we need to ditch causes and primaries and go back to National Conventions where party leaders select the Presidential candidate through wheeling and dealing. He believes that this will produce less narcissitic candidates for some reason.Report

    • Avatar Jesse in reply to LeeEsq
      Ignored
      says:

      That’s basicallly impossible w/ the Internet and a more connected world. That’s the road to third, fourth, and fifth parties, and somebody becoming President with 29% of the vote and 293 electoral votes.Report

      • Avatar North in reply to Jesse
        Ignored
        says:

        Hanley would describe those all as features, not bugs.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Jesse
        Ignored
        says:

        I think it’s a non-solution to. People have more free time to participate in politics. Not everybody does obviously. I think the percentage of Americans who never vote is around 60% or something but those that do will not take well to be told not to participate in their party’s candidate selection process for the good of the party and the nation.Report

      • Avatar Pinky in reply to Jesse
        Ignored
        says:

        I would assume that, if there were more significant minor parties, we’d be seeing candidates receive less than 270 EV. The Electoral College might cease to serve a function, but it would be replaced by the House of Representatives with no obligation or inclination to vote for the candidate who receives the most votes in his state. In this scenario, the rise of third parties would actually strengthen the two largest parties.Report

    • Avatar Stillwater in reply to LeeEsq
      Ignored
      says:

      He believes that this will produce less narcissitic candidates for some reason.

      No electoral system, actual or possible, could produce less narcissistic candidates than Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. Can’t be done!Report

    • Avatar JS in reply to LeeEsq
      Ignored
      says:

      You know what they should do? Switch to a primary using Ranked Choice Voting.

      It’d be exactly like a caucus, except it’d take about 20 minutes and without the peer pressure from other voters.

      Instead you have to trudge out in crap weather, get jammed into a room with the neighbors you hate, and argue politics for 4 hours.Report

      • Avatar George Turner in reply to JS
        Ignored
        says:

        Well, there is, or was, a clear security advantage in the caucus system.

        Everybody gets together in rooms across the state, they divide themselves up by “tribe”, and then count each other until everyone is satisfied that the headcount, as recorded on a big tote board, is 100% correct. Then that number is transmitted to the state headquarters, and it can be read back and forth so everybody and their mother can verify that all the numbers are correct, and accurately reflect where everyone is standing in that room. Other than slipping in thousands of Russian agents dressed as Iowans, there’s no way to hack it without getting caught.

        The primary, and secret ballots in general, have the problem that nobody gets to see all the votes and tie each vote to a person. It’s all done on trust, trust that people aren’t stuffing the ballot box, trust that people aren’t dumping out valid votes that were cast, trust that those votes were accurately counted by some vote counter somewhere, and trust that the count was accurately transmitted and recorded.

        If I was trying to hack Iowas vote and had millions of dollars in black money to do it, whether through hacks or bribes, I would urge them to use a conventional primary because, as I said, a caucus is an unbreakable system.

        Yet somehow the DNC managed to break it.Report

  10. Avatar George Turner
    Ignored
    says:

    Last night mayor Pete rushed out an announced that he had won it. I think shows his lack of political skills because that surely pissed off the four out of five Iowa Democrats who voted for someone else – and are pretty sure Pete did not in fact win it. Last night’s debacle was instead a prime opportunity for a candidate to come out, share the voter’s frustrations, and then say something that was sage, wry, amusing, and reaffirming. Taking advantage of the confusion to try and steal the football and make a quick break for the exit just doesn’t look good.Report

  11. Avatar Chip Daniels
    Ignored
    says:

    The sliver lining may be that this demonstrates the weakness of high tech election systems and the resiliency of paper ballots.

    Even if the software wasn’t rigged or hacked, that it could so easily fail makes the case for continued low tech systems.Report

    • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Chip Daniels
      Ignored
      says:

      After one of W’s elections (I think it was the first) enough Diebold shenanigans were reported that a group called Black Box Voting formed, which tested those machines and found that any ole minimally proficient hacker could gain access to every area of the voting process, from recording votes to precinct totals to state wide tabulations. That was twenty years ago.Report

    • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Chip Daniels
      Ignored
      says:

      The sliver lining may be that this demonstrates the weakness of high tech election systems and the resiliency of paper ballots.

      HA! No, it won’t.

      No matter what anyone does, no matter the actual computer security experts say, we will continue idiotically keep moving forward on stupid technical things for voting.

      My state, after _finally_ having the courts say to it ‘You absolutely cannot use your crappy black box voting system for another election, or we will throw you all in jail’, is moving to a system that prints ballots…except for the utterly idiotic fact we’re talking about doing counts using the unreadable barcodes printed on them.

      I can’t even deal with the complete disconnect from reality. A decade of complaint that we can’t we confirm how we’re voting, and they’re switch to a system with a paper ballot…where we still can’t see how we’re voting, because it’s actually a barcode. Oh, but they’ll print the name on there, so we _think_ we know how ballot will be counted, but they literally will never look at that name, not even during a recount.

      It’s a constant, literal fight that governments have had, for decades, to run elections in literally the shittiest way possible, getting sued repeatedly, and spending way more money than just print and having people mark them. It’s actual complete insanity, it is the stupidest thing I have seen or heard of, literally incomprehensible.

      I’m sorry, I’m a little incoherent it, but words cannot express how stupid this two decade long fight has been, and it keeps going on.

      For a while there, I was saying ‘Hey, let’s just have a machine mark human readable paper ballot’. Screw that. They already figured out some way to screw that up, by making the part that does the actual vote unreadable, and I’m not going to sit there and patch every moronic loophole they figure out.

      I want a constitutional amendment that only allows pencil and paper voting. Period. (And, yeah, I know that sucks for disabled people, that you won’t be able to vote without assistance, but but I’m sorry, trying to solve that problem has somehow rendered literally the entire voting system untrustable. And we can’t do that. I will demand that all locations provide someone to help you mark it. We will figure something out. But it can’t be computers no one can inspect…not even disabled people!)

      But back to the topic at hand: What is _actually_ going to happen is more states will start using random apps to do this, and things will get worse and worse. Because, again, what is happening is sort of massive stupidity bubble around electronic voting that no one can do anything about.Report

  12. Avatar Jaybird
    Ignored
    says:

    Shadow Inc, the company who made the app that ruined everything, has apologized.

    Report

  13. Avatar Jaybird
    Ignored
    says:

    With 5/8ths of the numbers in:

    Report

  14. Avatar greginak
    Ignored
    says:

    I saw this noted on the Twitters. In the 2012 Republican Iowa caucus there were allegations of inappropriate behavior, a fustercluck and it took a couple weeks to get the results out. People said the process was amateurish and made the results in doubt.

    As i clearly remember when Obama beat Romney the universal 100% opinion was that a borked Iowa caucus was entirely the reason for that. And what are the chances my memory is wrong.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to greginak
      Ignored
      says:

      From the Wikipedia:

      The 2012 Iowa caucuses took place on Tuesday, January 3, starting at 7 p.m. CST. Incumbent president Barack Obama only faced minor opposition in the Democratic caucus and received 98% of the vote, but the Republican caucus was heavily contested between several challengers. Initial results reported that Mitt Romney beat out Rick Santorum by just 8 votes, but when the final results came out two weeks later Rick Santorum secured the victory over Romney by a margin of 34 votes with Ron Paul in a strong 3rd. Results were certified by the Caucus, but not by the Republican party, who declared it a split decision due to missing reports from 8 precincts, but who later certified the caucus as a win for Santorum. The caucus winner changed yet again when the Iowa delegate totals were finally determined giving Ron Paul the win along with several other states that same weekend.

      Report

  15. Avatar George Turner
    Ignored
    says:

    CNN reported that Biden’s folks had tried to file an injunction to stop this afternoon’s release of the caucus results, but he later denied it after everybody hammered him.

    As I’ve said, that kind of attitude should be disqualifying in our democracy, because no matter who you think the voters should support, you have to tally the votes promptly and accurately instead of essentially tossing those votes in the trash until you get the result you want. Even if you get bad and tainted results, you put those out there as a starting point for a recount. Of course the Iowa DP didn’t help things with their “partial release”, which could be like releasing just the more urban precincts, or the pro-Bush counties in Florida while holding back the pro-Gore counties.

    And of course Biden’s stance just plays into the age-old idea that if Democrats are slow counting the votes, it’s because they’re still busy stuffing boxes with fake ballots.Report

  16. Avatar Jaybird
    Ignored
    says:

    I was pointed to this thread that discusses what likely went wrong with the App. (TL;DR: They’re constantly re-inventing the wheel with in-house proprietary software because open-source software can be used by Team Evil and they want to make tools that are only used by Team Good.)

    Report

    • Avatar George Turner in reply to Jaybird
      Ignored
      says:

      There needs to be much more money in order to sustain things. The Obama and Clinton campaigns spent tens (maybe hundreds) of millions of dollars on tech but it was building tech which was mostly thrown away.

      … after they smashed it with hammers so the FBI couldn’t access it. ^_^

      It sounds like they have something akin to a pointed-haired boss problem.

      Let me suggest that freeware is the way forward. If they’re worried about the opposing side using their tech, well, with freeware it really wouldn’t matter, and the opposing side can use freeware anyway. If they’re worried about the tech somehow being turned against them, just use whatever freeware the local drug cartels use and trust that the cartels’ IT folks stayed on top of things so they wouldn’t get shot. I
      think a season three episode of Narcos is about this very thing. In fact I don’t see capabilities a political campaign would need that a drug cartel wouldn’t, from organizing, conducting research, planning events, fund raising, or distributing massive amounts of illegal money.

      They should take advantage of El Chapo being in federal custody and save the themselves and their donors some money.Report

    • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Jaybird
      Ignored
      says:

      Well! Looks like they have learnt a lesson from the last half-dozen times they built a Death Laser. (One wishes that the lesson were “stop building Death Lasers” but, y’know, we see now that learning is possible…)Report

  17. Avatar Mike Schilling
    Ignored
    says:

    There’s a paper trail; that means that, screwed up as it was, the final tally will be more reliable than that of any state that uses purely electronic machines in their general elections.Report

  18. Avatar Jaybird
    Ignored
    says:

    Given the impeachment, I imagine that the best time to have released the numbers would have been in the middle of Romney’s speech (where Romney’s vote would have overshadowed them).

    As it is:

    Report

  19. Avatar Jaybird
    Ignored
    says:

    A guy got sent a copy of the app. He wrote a series of tweets about it. Those of you who remember my (brief) foray into game development might see some parallels:

    Report

    • Avatar George Turner in reply to Jaybird
      Ignored
      says:

      That was very informative. There are many products like that, where many on the team have just learned a bit about the tools they’re supposed to use, and are basically modifying a tutorial to make it fit what they’re trying to do.

      Who doesn’t do this? Top IT guys for narco-Columbian drug lords. Just sayin’.Report

  20. Avatar Jaybird
    Ignored
    says:

    Math is hard. Let’s go to the mall!

    Report

    • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to Jaybird
      Ignored
      says:

      I don’t think it’s a rounding error (I mean, it is, but that’s not the problem).

      The question is what you do with Klobuchar’s 30 votes which don’t meet the threshold.

      If you simply eliminate them (do they keep re-aligning until no groups are under the threshold?) then your denominator can’t be 204, but needs to be 171… in which case, the split is correct!

      But, if Klobuchar’s team is entitled to re-allocate in another division, then we don’t even have a valid caucus.

      …or so it seems from the instructions that are visible. Basically, depending on how you treat the non-compliant votes after the second division will make every submission that followed the instructions wrong… which is probably why they are having such a hard time figuring out what to do with all the nuked Klobuchar people (or whomever).Report

      • Avatar Ozzzy! in reply to Marchmaine
        Ignored
        says:

        Nah it’s just unallocated delegates to the highest remainder below 0.5.Report

        • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to Ozzzy!
          Ignored
          says:

          Can there be unallocated delegates? That would make sense too… looks like they just tried to figure out a way to allocate the 7 delegates. Perhaps all this is spelled out in detail below the section shown in the picture.Report

          • Avatar Ozzzy! in reply to Marchmaine
            Ignored
            says:

            Short answer seems to be no, there cannot be unallocated delegates. Long answer is that the instructions below in the first image refer to the caucus rule book when there are unallocated delegates after rounding to integers, which in turn goes through the method of highest remainder below 0.5 allocation. Rule book is available online if you are interested, or just read more of the replies below JB’s tweet someone linked a pic there or the relevant page.Report

    • Avatar Road Scholar in reply to Jaybird
      Ignored
      says:

      This is a classic apportionment problem that practical math nerds have been gnawing on for a very long time. There are about a dozen or so distinct methods which divide into two main categories — quota methods and modified divisor methods. This looks like a modified divisor method, specifically Webster’s method (yeah, Daniel Webster), and that’s fine, it’s arguably the best of them.

      The problem, IMO, with the way the Iowa system works is that it’s a multi-level thing. The precincts choose delegates to the county conventions, which select delegates to the district conventions, which select delegates to the state convention, which choose the delegates to the national convention. At each level you have a (AFAICT) a similar apportionment process and errors just accumulate. And by “error” I don’t necessarily mean mistakes, just the way the math works, like how 1.499 gets rounded down and 1.500 gets rounded up. The math is legitimate at each level but the end results don’t necessarily reflect the initial precinct-level votes very accurately. It’s entirely possible for two candidates to have the same number of precinct-level votes but different delegate counts, or even for a candidate to get allocated more delegates than another candidate that got more votes.

      It’s just unnecessarily complicated.Report

  21. Avatar Ozzzy!
    Ignored
    says:

    IDK Jack, but it looks like most of those images are showing the awarding of unallocated delegates. Whatever. Reading instructions is actually pretty hard to get people to do.Report

  22. Avatar Jaybird
    Ignored
    says:

    Shot: Everything above.

    Chaser:

    Report

  23. Avatar Jaybird
    Ignored
    says:

    An alternate theory of what happened:

    Report

  24. Avatar Jaybird
    Ignored
    says:

    Holy crap. It’s still 2016.

    Report

    • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Jaybird
      Ignored
      says:

      Democratic Party internal politics is so vicious because the stakes are so small.

      No, that’s not right. The Democratic Party is comprised of big and small fiefdoms each pissing on each to retain scraps of self-serving power. {{Closer. It may take a few more snafus to really dial in on this.}}Report

  25. Avatar George Turner
    Ignored
    says:

    Matt Taibbi of Rolling Stone has penned a long and excellent look at the Iowa caucus and the various campaigns and candidates. It lets you feel like you were one of the foot soldiers in the run up and the chaos.

    I highly recommend it, especially as a way to spend part of your slow Sunday.Report

  1. February 4, 2020

    […] and losing the nomination, is not good, despite the spin and confusion of the disaster the 2020 Iowa Democratic Caucuses turned into. In the absence of actual results — which we are still waiting on at this writing and frankly […]Report

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