[guest post by JVW]
We haven’t talked about it yet, but what a friggin’ mess. I’m going to assume that everyone here is generally conversant with the big picture: we’re now more than sixty hours removed from the end of Monday’s Iowa Caucuses (or, as Rush Limbaugh always styled them, “the Hawkeye Cauci”) and the Iowa Democrat Party is still unable to give a final tally. At this writing, nearly 97 percent of the votes have been reported, and it would appear that Bernard Sanders and Peter Buttigieg are battling it out for the final lead. There doesn’t appear to be any schedule for finalizing the results.
A few random tidbits for discussion:
– This is a huge embarrassment for the Iowa Democrat establishment. As plenty of wags have pointed out, a party that wants to manage a health care system for 350 million Americans can’t even figure out how to count the votes of roughly 170 thousand caucus participants. Some long-time Iowa caucus observers believe that this is the end of Iowa’s first-in-the-nation status in the Presidential sweepstakes, and that the state will move to a primary system next cycle.
– With failure of the caucus app, produced by Clinton campaign team alumni, precinct chairmen have been reporting final numbers either through call-ins or via email. But the New York Times is suggesting that these reports are not always tabulated correctly at the precinct level, and that some of the reported results are not possible under the caucus rules. It’s worth noting too that apparently Bernard Sanders has received the greatest number of votes in first-round voting, but Mayor Petey has surpassed him as “non-viable” candidates’ votes get reapportioned. Shades of 2016 for some Bernie Bros and Babes, no doubt.
– DNC Chairman Tom Perez is now “ordering” a recanvass of Iowa, but the state party does not believe that he has that authority and will only consider this request if it comes from one of the candidates. The Joe Biden campaign has been the most vociferous in questioning the results, but most observers at this point believe that was more of a strategy for trying to explain away his tremendously unimpressive performance.
– Speaking of Slow Joe, pundits (who, we can’t stress enough, are quite often dead wrong) are starting to draft his campaign obituary. The only silver lining for the former VP is that it appears likely he will avoid finishing fifth by staying ahead of Amy Klobuchar, thus avoiding a repeat of his 2008 finish which brought his second Presidential campaign to a swift end. Polls released since Monday suggest that the Boy Mayor and Comrade Bernard are surging in New Hampshire, and that the surge is coming at the expense of Barack Obama’s former insurance policy and comedy relief running mate.
Anyway, pop the popcorn and settle in for the rest of the fun.
UPDATE – The Sanders campaign claims to have raised $25 million in the month of January. That is an awful lot of lettuce coming allegedly from small donors, but if true then I think we need to see Senator Sanders as a very formidable candidate. Indeed, Nate Silver now has Comrade Candidate as the favorite to win the nomination.
UPDATE II: Uh-oh, Lieawatha reportedly has had — ahem, ahem — “women of color” resign from her Nevada campaign over the past several weeks because they believe they are being marginalized. I guess when your base consists of college professors and entitled middle-class feminists it can be difficult to get the hierarchies of intersectionality just right.