While we might be saying that the Iowa Caucuses are now behind us, many problems still remain. Earlier this week I posted about how the largest news paper in the state, which endorsed Hillary Clinton in the caucus, is saying something smells with the results and following reactions. Now we are starting to see the source of some of that smell:
In the Iowa Democratic party’s chaotic attempt to report caucus results on Monday night, the results in at least one precinct were unilaterally changed by the party as it attempted to deal with the culmination of a rushed and imperfect process overseeing the first-in-the-nation nominating contest.
In Grinnell Ward 1, the precinct where elite liberal arts college Grinnell College is located, 19 delegates were awarded to Bernie Sanders and seven were awarded toHillary Clinton on caucus night. However, the Iowa Democratic party decided to shift one delegate from Sanders to Clinton on the night and did not notify precinct secretary J Pablo Silva that they had done so. Silva only discovered that this happened the next day, when checking the precinct results in other parts of the county.
The shift of one delegate at a county convention level would not have significantly affected the ultimate outcome of the caucus, but rather, it raises questions aboutthe Iowa Democratic party’s management of caucus night.
Now in the grand scheme of things, this won’t change the final outcome, but in the perception game, this really tarnishes Democrats as a whole.
After the elections of 2000 and 2004 the Democrats have made it a platform to ensure “every vote counts”. Now I know that in Iowa they don’t technically “vote”, but that is also a wonkish cop out of the larger issue. In my last post I mentioned the perception problem this presents. Let me put that into a little more perspective:
- Monday night Hillary Clinton declared victory long before there was a clear, decided winner. This declaration put every single pundit into a “WTF” mode.
- Late Monday night news broke that the Iowa Democratic Party was having trouble getting results from some of their people at around 90 precincts.
- Early Tuesday morning, the IDP declard Hillary Clinton the victor.
Then we can add to the perspective of this with something that horrible fails the optics test. That is the news that came out yesterday that the chair of the Iowa Democratic Party has vanity plates on her car, which read “HRC 2016”. Now does that mean the chair swayed the results towards Hillary? Not really. It’s more circumstantial than anything, but again, we’re talking about optics and perception.
This is why it’s time for Debbie Wasserman Schultz to put on her Chair of the DNC hat and step in as a defense of something the party has tried to fight for for years now – making sure every vote counts!
We’re in the middle of a highly publicized primary; one that is pulling in countless young, first time voters. These are the cynics that dismiss elections as “being rigged”. By ignoring the now evident problems in Iowa, the Democratic Party is reinforcing those views and risking ailenating a generation of future Democratic voters, activists and even leaders. This can not be allowed to happen.
The DNC must send people to Iowa to conduct a full audit of the results. If it is found out that some funny business did occur, then the DNC must invoke the only punishment they really can – removal of Iowa delegates at the convention. In the very extreme circumstance that people with the Clinton campaign colluded with the IDP to alter this outcome, then delegates should be taken away from Clinton as well. Same thing as if it happened with the Sanders campaign.
This isn’t about Bernie or Hillary. This is about the future of our party and gaining the trust of the vital, young vote. Ignoring what happened in Iowa is unacceptable and risks hurting the party for several years to come. It also reinforces the main message of the Sanders campaign that we need to return politics to the people.