Electoral Farce Fails to Launch as First Presidential Primary Results Shrouded in Chaos

Photo: Media filing center in Des Moines, screen reads “Results Coming Soon”

By Mike Talavera

What was supposed to be an inspiring kickoff to the 2020 Democratic Presidential Primary has ended in a train wreck that has worsened people’s already weak confidence in the US election process. As the Iowa Caucus wrapped up Monday night, a few seemingly sporadic errors in reporting turned into a system-wide problem that has put all results on hold, with no clear winner crowned.

As a countermeasure to the Russian hacking of the 2016 elections (largely centered around leaking emails and did not actually change vote tallies), the Iowa Democratic Party, with the assistance of the Democratic National Committee, intended on safeguarding their vote tally from interference by using a new secure smartphone application. This plan backfired stupendously when precinct chairs across the board had difficulties logging in or using the app, leading to inconsistencies in the overall reporting.

Iowa Democratic Party Chair Troy Price announced in a press call early this morning that the results would be released later today. “We are validating every piece of data we have within that paper trail,” he said. “[It] is taking longer than expected [to] ensure we are eventually able to report results with full confidence.”

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Iowa Democratic Party Chair Troy Price

The lack of official results did not stop almost every Democratic presidential candidate from declaring victory in a chorus of delusional self-aggrandizement. “What a night. Because tonight an improbable hope became an undeniable reality,” said candidate Pete Buttigieg. “So we don’t know all the results, but we know by the time it’s all said and done, Iowa, you have shocked the nation.”

“We just had an excellent night tonight in Iowa,” said candidate Amy Klobuchar. “Of course, we don’t know the results yet. Minor problem. But other than that we know that we did incredibly well.”

Adding to the confusion, Bernie Sanders’s campaign released its own ‘internal’ numbers, showing Sanders as the winner. “We recognize that this does not replace the full data from the Iowa Democratic Party, but we believe firmly that our supporters worked too hard for too long to have the results of that work delayed,” campaign adviser Jeff Weaver said.

Behind this veil of deranged positivity, however, the campaign teams were ganging up on the Iowa Democratic Party, with Weaver telling Price over the phone that the problems made it seem like “the whole process has been a fraud for 100 years.”

“If you have a process where you can’t be confident that the results are being reported are reflective of the votes that people cast last night in the process,” Joe Biden’s deputy campaign manager Kate Bedingfield told CNN, “that’s a real concern.”

While the Biden team’s criticism of the Iowa Caucus is likely an effort to downplay his projected poor performance in the state, it is undoubtedly true that the mayhem has raised doubts about an already heavily scrutinized electoral process. The majority of people in the US did not vote in the 2016 presidential election, and this abstention is even more true for the Iowa Democratic Caucus, where only 7% of those eligible to vote participated in 2016. Initial reports have confirmed the turnout was the same this year.

The Democratic Party has never served the majority of people in the US. Its interests lie with party elites backed by imperialist donors who wield the most influence over who will become the presidential nominee. The party bureaucrats that do their bidding would rather put their faith in faulty technology than the collective will of the people. Even when the process goes smoothly, the whole thing is rigged.

So-called ‘outsiders’ like Bernie Sanders, despite their ‘revolutionary’ rhetoric, are still betrothed to this electoral racket that makes a horse race out of ‘democracy’ with no real connection to working people or the poor.

The Iowa Caucus debacle signifies that now more than ever the voice of the majority that does not vote and does not buy into this scam must be organized and individual abstention must be transformed into a united and active boycott of the electoral farce.