Joe Biden means to win even if it kills the voters

Pandemic

The bipartisan malfeasance exacerbating both the COVID-19 pandemic and its resulting economic collapse has already been documented at considerable length[1] and Aaron Blake pulls some of it together to offer a damning timeline of Donald Trump’s responses diminishing and downplaying the crisis.[2]

But when Joe Biden insists on obvious and blatant bullshit that it is safe to line up to vote in person at a starkly reduced number—from 180 to five—of polling places in Wisconsin,[3] the message is clear that he means to win even if it kills off the entire electorate. This virus is an indictment of our entire political system and Blake’s article[4] is only part of the story.

Scott Bixby and Hunter Woodall, “Biden: Voting in Wisconsin Is Safe. Locals: It Could Kill Us,” Daily Beast, April 7, 2020, https://www.thedailybeast.com/joe-biden-says-voting-in-the-wisconsin-primary-is-safe-locals-say-it-could-kill-them

Aaron Blake, “The timeline of Trump’s coronavirus response is increasingly damning,” Washington Post, April 7, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2020/04/07/timeline-trumps-coronavirus-response-is-increasingly-damning/

John McCormick and Alexa Corse, “Wisconsin Voters Go to Polls Despite Coronavirus Pandemic,” Wall Street Journal, April 7, 2020, https://www.wsj.com/articles/wisconsin-holds-election-despite-coronavirusafter-efforts-to-delay-failed-11586270200


  1. [1]David Benfell, “Why do Republicans seem better prepared to present proposals on coronavirus relief than Democrats?” Irregular Bullshit, March 20, 2020, https://disunitedstates.com/2020/03/20/why-do-republicans-seem-better-prepared-to-present-proposals-on-coronavirus-relief-than-democrats/; David Benfell, “While neoliberal hot air floats over gig workers’ heads, here’s the Trump administration,” Not Housebroken, March 23, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/03/23/while-neoliberal-hot-air-floats-over-gig-workers-heads-heres-the-trump-administration/; Adam Gaffney, “Trump sees the coronavirus as a threat to his self-interest – not to people,” Guardian, March 17, 2020, https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/mar/17/trump-sees-the-coronavirus-as-a-threat-to-his-self-interest-not-to-people; Susan B. Glasser, “A President Unequal to the Moment,” New Yorker, March 12, 2020, https://www.newyorker.com/news/letter-from-trumps-washington/a-president-unequal-to-the-moment; Sarah Jones, “Dear Rich People: Please Stop Hoarding Things,” New York, March 30, 2020, https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2020/03/things-are-bad-and-rich-people-arent-helping.html; Nick Martin, “This Is Crisis Colonization,” New Republic, March 30, 2020, https://newrepublic.com/article/157091/crisis-colonization; Dana Milbank, “For Trump, a reckoning has come,” Washington Post, February 28, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/02/28/trump-reckoning-has-come/; Ashley Parker, Yasmeen Abutaleb, and Lena H. Sun, “Squandered time: How the Trump administration lost control of the coronavirus crisis,” Washington Post, March 7, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-coronavirus-response-squandered-time/2020/03/07/5c47d3d0-5fcb-11ea-9055-5fa12981bbbf_story.html; David Remnick, “How the Coronavirus Shattered Trump’s Serene Confidence,” New Yorker, March 22, 2020, https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2020/03/30/how-the-coronavirus-shattered-trumps-serene-confidence; Paul Waldman, “How coronavirus has deeply flummoxed conservative media,” Washington Post, February 28, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/02/28/how-coronavirus-has-deeply-flummuxed-conservative-media/; Kevin D. Williamson, “History Called — and Senator Burr Called His Broker,” National Review, March 20, 2020, https://www.nationalreview.com/2020/03/history-called-and-senator-burr-called-his-broker/
  2. [2]Aaron Blake, “The timeline of Trump’s coronavirus response is increasingly damning,” Washington Post, April 7, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2020/04/07/timeline-trumps-coronavirus-response-is-increasingly-damning/
  3. [3]Scott Bixby and Hunter Woodall, “Biden: Voting in Wisconsin Is Safe. Locals: It Could Kill Us,” Daily Beast, April 7, 2020, https://www.thedailybeast.com/joe-biden-says-voting-in-the-wisconsin-primary-is-safe-locals-say-it-could-kill-them; John McCormick and Alexa Corse, “Wisconsin Voters Go to Polls Despite Coronavirus Pandemic,” Wall Street Journal, April 7, 2020, https://www.wsj.com/articles/wisconsin-holds-election-despite-coronavirusafter-efforts-to-delay-failed-11586270200
  4. [4]Aaron Blake, “The timeline of Trump’s coronavirus response is increasingly damning,” Washington Post, April 7, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2020/04/07/timeline-trumps-coronavirus-response-is-increasingly-damning/

Sowing discord and confusion

Bernie Sanders

I think I’m not quite sure what the fuss is about. I had understood from the report I read that the Russians aimed to sow discord by boosting Bernie Sanders’ campaign[1] and frankly hadn’t bothered with reports that the Russians were at again also on behalf of Donald Trump.

Apparently, the correct interpretation, at least for now, is indeed that this mischief is aimed at sowing discord. But other folks understood that this meant the Russians want either Sanders or Trump to win and apparently these are not conclusions that U.S. intelligence has reached.[2] Maybe I missed something.

Jeremy Diamond, Jake Tapper and Zachary Cohen, “US intelligence briefer appears to have overstated assessment of 2020 Russian interference,” CNN, February 23, 2020, https://www.cnn.com/2020/02/23/politics/intelligence-briefer-russian-interference-trump-sanders/index.html


Richard Nixon’s posthumous impostor

Holy shit:

This is just about the last place I’d expect an endorsement of a John F. Kennedy assassination conspiracy theory. The posthumous Ron Ziegler replies,

But in the comments, it is clear that Nixon’s impostor meant that exactly as it sounds.

I have long suspected that we’ll never know for sure what happened on that day.


  1. [1]Shane Harris et al., “Bernie Sanders briefed by U.S. officials that Russia is trying to help his presidential campaign,” Washington Post, February 21, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/bernie-sanders-briefed-by-us-officials-that-russia-is-trying-to-help-his-presidential-campaign/2020/02/21/5ad396a6-54bd-11ea-929a-64efa7482a77_story.html
  2. [2]Jeremy Diamond, Jake Tapper and Zachary Cohen, “US intelligence briefer appears to have overstated assessment of 2020 Russian interference,” CNN, February 23, 2020, https://www.cnn.com/2020/02/23/politics/intelligence-briefer-russian-interference-trump-sanders/index.html

Look at all the flawed Bernie Sanders comparisons

Bernie Sanders

It’s a little worrying to see Bernie Sanders assume frontrunner status. Not because I oppose him—on the contrary, he’s the least awful major party candidate, even if he’s still to my right—but rather to see how it’s all playing. I probably just have some learning to do.

One thing that worries me is the comparisons. Some are pretty obviously to be expected. All are dismaying.

I started off last night with David Roth’s extraordinarily well-written takedown of Donald Trump, of Democratic Party “centrists,” and of comparisons between Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump,[1] which for completeness’ sake, I’m including below. In this category, we can now add the accusation that Russians are supporting Bernie Sanders, which I address in a new blog post entitled, “Attacking the man for who supports him.”

This morning, I’ve found a couple more bullshit comparisons, one from a few days ago of a billionaire comparing Sanders to the Coronavirus,[2] and another comparing him to George McGovern, who lost in a landslide to Richard Nixon in 1972.[3] The former article simply reports the comparison; the latter rebuts it. I also briefly address the former in that new blog post (see the part about capitalist libertarians).

Gotta tell you, these comparisons just ain’t looking good.

Bess Levin, “Cranky Billionaire Warns Bernie Sanders is ‘a Bigger Threat than the Coronavirus,’” Vanity Fair, February 18, 2020, https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2020/02/leon-cooperman-bernie-sanders-coronavirus

Shane Harris et al., “Bernie Sanders briefed by U.S. officials that Russia is trying to help his presidential campaign,” Washington Post, February 21, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/bernie-sanders-briefed-by-us-officials-that-russia-is-trying-to-help-his-presidential-campaign/2020/02/21/5ad396a6-54bd-11ea-929a-64efa7482a77_story.html

David Roth, “Bernie Sanders Is No Donald Trump,” New Republic, February 21, 2020, https://newrepublic.com/article/156639/bernie-sanders-no-donald-trump

Ed Kilgore, “Why Bernie Is Not George McGovern and 2020 Isn’t 1972,” New York, February 22, 2020, https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2020/02/why-bernie-is-not-george-mcgovern-and-2020-isnt-1972.html


Pennsylvania

WTAE, “New bill to legalize recreational marijuana unveiled by state lawmaker from Pittsburgh,” February 20, 2020, https://www.wtae.com/article/recreational-marijuana-bill-pittsburgh-state-rep-jake-wheatley/31025380


  1. [1]David Roth, “Bernie Sanders Is No Donald Trump,” New Republic, February 21, 2020, https://newrepublic.com/article/156639/bernie-sanders-no-donald-trump
  2. [2]Bess Levin, “Cranky Billionaire Warns Bernie Sanders is ‘a Bigger Threat than the Coronavirus,’” Vanity Fair, February 18, 2020, https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2020/02/leon-cooperman-bernie-sanders-coronavirus
  3. [3]Ed Kilgore, “Why Bernie Is Not George McGovern and 2020 Isn’t 1972,” New York, February 22, 2020, https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2020/02/why-bernie-is-not-george-mcgovern-and-2020-isnt-1972.html

A lack of journalistic imagination

Bernie Sanders

I believe this[1] is likely the same Margaret Sullivan who criticized New York Times coverage of Bernie Sanders in 2016 as the paper’s public editor.[2] If I’m right, she’s back, criticizing media coverage of Sanders more broadly.[3] But to illustrate her point,

I tend to disagree with Nate Silver on methodology, because I think appallingly low response rates in survey research[4] eviscerate the rationale for this type of research, but his reply here is well taken:

In the wake of an election that Sanders just won, a McClatchy newsletter manages to cover campaign news for ten, count ’em, ten whole paragraphs before Sanders’ name even appears.[5]

Sullivan notes that Sanders does not bother to massage journalists’ egos and I would hope we can all agree that some self-reflection may be long overdue when framing may be determined in whole or in part by whether a candidate congratulates reporters on their birthdays.[6] Here’s Jon Allsop at the Columbia Journalism Review who, having noted numerous complaints from Sanders and his supporters and a number of specific possible causes,[7] concludes,

In a broader sense, such parts of the media often have a hard time conceiving of possible worlds beyond the status quo. Inevitably, that failure of imagination has limited our coverage of [Bernie] Sanders. That’s not to say Sanders shouldn’t face scrutiny—his agenda is highly ambitious, and we should ask sharp questions about its political viability as well as its logistics. But those aren’t the questions we’re asking; not consistently, at least. Instead, when he toured the Sunday shows this past weekend, Sanders faced questions about remarks he made 50 years ago, competency concerns raised by the mess in Iowa (for which he was not responsible), his hostility toward billionaires (They’re People, Too! Chuck Todd said), and the likelihood of Trump weaponizing the toxicity of “socialism” to harm him. (This is a fair point, but in making it incessantly, we risk wielding the weapon on Trump’s behalf.) Too often, we channel a world in which the status quo is neutral; where action always costs money but inaction does not.

Do we ask other politicians to justify capitalism every time we interview them? Do we ask how much not doing Medicare for All or the Green New Deal would cost as often as we ask the inverse? Again, this isn’t about advocacy; it’s about recognizing that, at present, we tend to talk about such ideas, and the politicians who espouse them, in a one-sided way. “Imagination” might not seem a desirable trait to fact-based journalists, but without it, our coverage is constrained by the deadweight of conventional wisdom, which is a bias in itself. It’ll take imagination—more than we’re currently showing—to adequately frame, and interrogate, the choice facing America this year.[8]

However we attribute the causes, mainstream journalism has been downplaying Sanders’ unconventional candidacy, betraying a bias that Allsop sees in its treatment of his unconventional proposals.[9] It should go without saying that if you’re going to call yourself “objective” and “unbiased,” you need to be doing better than this.

Jon Allsop, “Coverage of Bernie Sanders suffers from a lack of imagination,” Columbia Journalism Review, February 11, 2020, https://www.cjr.org/the_media_today/bernie_sanders_media_new_hampshire.php

Alex Shephard, “Bernie Sanders Has an MSNBC Problem,” New Republic, February 12, 2020, https://newrepublic.com/article/156545/bernie-sanders-msnbc-problem

Margaret Sullivan, “The media keep falling in love — with anybody but Bernie Sanders,” Washington Post, February 12, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/the-media-keep-falling-in-love–with-anybody-but-bernie-sanders/2020/02/12/0f55cc12-4d9c-11ea-bf44-f5043eb3918a_story.html


Iowa

On Wednesday, the [Iowa Democratic Party] said it had agreed to conduct the recanvass of certain precincts as requested by the [Bernie] Sanders and [Pete] Buttigieg campaigns.

The party said the recanvass, which is a less-involved check of the results than a formal recount, will start Sunday and take about two days.[10]

Also, the state party’s chairman, Troy Price, will resign.[11]

John McCormick, “Iowa Democratic Party Chairman to Resign Position After Caucus Debacle,” Wall Street Journal, February 12, 2020, https://www.wsj.com/articles/iowa-democratic-party-chairman-resigns-position-after-caucus-debacle-11581548239


  1. [1]Margaret Sullivan, “The media keep falling in love — with anybody but Bernie Sanders,” Washington Post, February 12, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/the-media-keep-falling-in-love–with-anybody-but-bernie-sanders/2020/02/12/0f55cc12-4d9c-11ea-bf44-f5043eb3918a_story.html
  2. [2]Margaret Sullivan, “Has The Times Dismissed Bernie Sanders?” New York Times, September 9, 2015, http://publiceditor.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/09/09/has-the-times-dismissed-bernie-sanders/
  3. [3]Margaret Sullivan, “The media keep falling in love — with anybody but Bernie Sanders,” Washington Post, February 12, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/the-media-keep-falling-in-love–with-anybody-but-bernie-sanders/2020/02/12/0f55cc12-4d9c-11ea-bf44-f5043eb3918a_story.html
  4. [4]Courtney Kennedy and Hannah Hartig, “Response rates in telephone surveys have resumed their decline,” Pew Research Center, February 27, 2019, https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2019/02/27/response-rates-in-telephone-surveys-have-resumed-their-decline/
  5. [5]Emily Cadei to Impact2020 list, “On to Nevada, and South Carolina, and California, and Florida,” February 12, 2020, https://m1.news.mcclatchydc.com/nl/jsp/m.jsp?c=%40HaihNrJgXP9DKJOMklZgSPecJyZURC%2FWyrMcimAku28%3D&ac_cid=DM136835&ac_bid=2041820311
  6. [6]Margaret Sullivan, “The media keep falling in love — with anybody but Bernie Sanders,” Washington Post, February 12, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/the-media-keep-falling-in-love–with-anybody-but-bernie-sanders/2020/02/12/0f55cc12-4d9c-11ea-bf44-f5043eb3918a_story.html
  7. [7]Jon Allsop, “Coverage of Bernie Sanders suffers from a lack of imagination,” Columbia Journalism Review, February 11, 2020, https://www.cjr.org/the_media_today/bernie_sanders_media_new_hampshire.php
  8. [8]Jon Allsop, “Coverage of Bernie Sanders suffers from a lack of imagination,” Columbia Journalism Review, February 11, 2020, https://www.cjr.org/the_media_today/bernie_sanders_media_new_hampshire.php
  9. [9]Jon Allsop, “Coverage of Bernie Sanders suffers from a lack of imagination,” Columbia Journalism Review, February 11, 2020, https://www.cjr.org/the_media_today/bernie_sanders_media_new_hampshire.php
  10. [10]John McCormick, “Iowa Democratic Party Chairman to Resign Position After Caucus Debacle,” Wall Street Journal, February 12, 2020, https://www.wsj.com/articles/iowa-democratic-party-chairman-resigns-position-after-caucus-debacle-11581548239
  11. [11]John McCormick, “Iowa Democratic Party Chairman to Resign Position After Caucus Debacle,” Wall Street Journal, February 12, 2020, https://www.wsj.com/articles/iowa-democratic-party-chairman-resigns-position-after-caucus-debacle-11581548239

Larger lessons

Iowa

Much of what’s in the New York Times article[1] had been previously reported,[2] but there is a little more detail.

The widespread lack of faith in the Iowa results has shaken many Americans’ confidence in their electoral system. Mr. Trump has reveled in the meltdown. Democrats have proposed abolishing caucuses and ending Iowa’s time at the front of the presidential nominating calendar.

Even as party officials scramble to contain the fallout, the full extent of the problems in Iowa is still not known.[3]

The Times doesn’t say so, but folks who work for a living and fans of Scott Adams’ Dilbert cartoon will recognize the pattern. This is meritocracy at its finest.[4] Naturally, we will not be absorbing the larger lessons even in the primary contest, let alone in our system of social organization at large.

Reid J. Epstein et al., “How the Iowa Caucuses Became an Epic Fiasco for Democrats,” New York Times, February 9, 2020, https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/09/us/politics/iowa-democratic-caucuses.html


Veganism

I’m not seeing the Vitamin B-12 line here:

An issue is of ethical concern when there is a choice: Do we have alternatives?

On May 5, I will have been vegan for 12 years, despite not liking vegetables. In 2008, I went cold turkey from a “meat and potatoes” diet in which I considered green the color of decay.

Going vegan remains the single most effective action an individual can take to counter the climate crisis and the other forms of environmental catastrophe humans wreak upon the earth. It does so not only in terms of practical action but also in a recognition that this planet, the only planet we have, and the life on it do not exist for our exploitation. The latter rebuts a presumption that leads to pervasive abuse not only of our fellow human beings, but of the environment and of other species.[5]

I don’t care who you are. You have a choice. You need to be doing the right thing for yourself, for your fellow human and non-human animals, and for the environment.


  1. [1]Reid J. Epstein et al., “How the Iowa Caucuses Became an Epic Fiasco for Democrats,” New York Times, February 9, 2020, https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/09/us/politics/iowa-democratic-caucuses.html
  2. [2]Nate Cohn, “New Doubts From Iowa Caucuses: How ‘Satellite’ Votes Are Being Measured,” New York Times, February 6, 2020, https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/06/upshot/iowa-caucus-satellite-votes.html; Nate Cohn et al., “Iowa Caucus Results Riddled With Errors and Inconsistencies,” New York Times, February 6, 2020, https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/06/upshot/iowa-caucuses-errors-results.html
  3. [3]Reid J. Epstein et al., “How the Iowa Caucuses Became an Epic Fiasco for Democrats,” New York Times, February 9, 2020, https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/09/us/politics/iowa-democratic-caucuses.html
  4. [4]David Benfell, “Bipartisan ‘meritocracy’ and ‘vote Blue no matter who,’” Not Housebroken, February 6, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/02/06/bipartisan-meritocracy-and-vote-blue-no-matter-who/
  5. [5]Steven Best and Anthony J. Nocella, II, eds., Terrorists or Freedom fighters? (New York: Lantern, 2004); Greta Gaard, “Vegetarian Ecofeminism: A Review Essay,” Frontiers 23, no. 3 (2002): 117-146.

An Iowa-sized yawn

Iowa

Apparently, this (figure 1) is final for state delegate equivalents. The Associated Press has apparently not provided final results for the popular vote; that page still indicates results for one precinct shy of 100 percent.[1]
FireShot Capture 072 - Election Results - U.S. ELECTIONS - elections.ap.org
Fig. 1. Screenshot of Associated Press Iowa Caucuses state delegate equivalent result, 8:46 pm.[2]

If there are no requests to recanvass or recount, Buttigieg would be the winner of the Iowa caucuses. Though Sanders campaign manager Faiz Shakir told CNN Sunday night that the Sanders campaign plans to ask for a partial recanvass of the results on Monday.

“You can expect us to be asking the Iowa Democratic party for a recanvass of the discrepancies that we have identified and found tor them. We’ll be searching for and identifying even more. It’s been handled incompetently from our perspective, and we’ll be asking them to take a look at some of these obvious discrepancies that have affected our count and I think after it is all said and done, it should be the case that we have the same number of national delegates as Pete Buttigieg,” Shakir said.

According to the Iowa Democratic Party, he will claim 14 delegates. Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders will receive 12, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren will get eight, former Vice President Joe Biden will receive six, and Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar will get one.[3]

It doesn’t seem like this is getting a lot of coverage. I think probably everyone holds these results in low esteem.

There is a new blog post, written before the results above, entitled, “The Democrats don’t need ‘election interference’.”

Jennifer Agiesta et al., “Buttigieg gets the most delegates and Sanders comes in second, Iowa Democratic Party says,” CNN, February 9, 2020, https://www.cnn.com/2020/02/09/politics/iowa-democratic-party-precincts-review/index.html


  1. [1]Associated Press, “Iowa Elections Results,” February 9, 2020, https://elections.ap.org/dailykos/results/2020-02-03/state/IA/race/P/raceid/17278
  2. [2]Associated Press, “Iowa Elections Results,” February 9, 2020, https://elections.ap.org/dailykos/results/2020-02-03/state/IA/race/P/raceid/17275
  3. [3]Jennifer Agiesta et al., “Buttigieg gets the most delegates and Sanders comes in second, Iowa Democratic Party says,” CNN, February 9, 2020, https://www.cnn.com/2020/02/09/politics/iowa-democratic-party-precincts-review/index.html

Monday maybe?

Iowa

So does this mean we’ll actually have final results Monday?

“The [Iowa Democratic Party] has initiated the process of review of the requested precincts, and any corrections will be released before Monday at 12pm CST in a single update – reported prior to the allocation of national delegates,” an unsigned statement from the state party read.[1]

Zach Montellaro, “Iowa Democratic Party reviewing results from 95 precincts,” Politico, February 8, 2020, https://www.politico.com/news/2020/02/08/iowa-democratic-party-reviewing-results-112532


Gig economy

U.S. District Judge Dolly M. Gee said during a hearing in Los Angeles that it was “a steep hill to climb” for Uber and Postmates to argue that the statute [California’s AB 5] irrationally targets the app-based companies on the grounds that many workers in other industries were exempt from it.

“I can’t second guess the legislature unless you show me an example of an exemption that absolutely doesn’t make sense,” Gee said.[2]

Thud.

Joel Rosenblatt and Edvard Pettersson, “Uber Falters in First Legal Attack on California Gig Worker Law,” Bloomberg, February 7, 2020, https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-02-07/uber-poised-to-lose-bid-to-block-california-gig-worker-law


  1. [1]Zach Montellaro, “Iowa Democratic Party reviewing results from 95 precincts,” Politico, February 8, 2020, https://www.politico.com/news/2020/02/08/iowa-democratic-party-reviewing-results-112532
  2. [2]Joel Rosenblatt and Edvard Pettersson, “Uber Falters in First Legal Attack on California Gig Worker Law,” Bloomberg, February 7, 2020, https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-02-07/uber-poised-to-lose-bid-to-block-california-gig-worker-law

Looking at South Carolina

Iowa

Sometimes, even on Twitter, somebody comes along and really hits the nail on the head:

I actually almost forgot to look, but no, there is no further progress to report in Iowa,[1] which leaves us with not so much of a picture of who’s winning as it does who’s losing.

I’m seeing a lot of punditry about New Hampshire now but for me, the real question is South Carolina, allegedly Joe Biden’s “firewall.” I don’t know who those voters will ultimately turn out for, but I’m pretty sure it won’t be Pete Buttigieg.

Longer term, I’m wondering if this race really devolves into Bernie Sanders versus anybody-but-Bernie. It calls to mind the Republican dilemma in 2016, with important differences: Republicans were complacent about Donald Trump; when #NeverTrump, a largely neoconservative project, finally arose, it was much too little, much too late. Democrats are anything but complacent; Sanders already has the neoliberals in a panic.

And for me, here in Pittsburgh, it looks tough. I see more enthusiasm for Trump than anyone else. In itself, that doesn’t say much: The Republican field consists of Trump; Democrats have yet to settle on a single candidate and it isn’t yet clear who that is.

The dynamic comes down to this: If, as some predict, Sanders does indeed win the nomination, will the desperation to be rid of Trump outweigh neoliberal and so-called “moderate” loathing for Sanders? Would neoliberals stay home? Would they, as I’m inclined to think, actually vote for Trump because he advances at least some of their project?

Conversely, say Buttigieg wins the nomination. Will the desperation to be rid of Trump be sufficient to bring Sanders supporters to the polls? There’s a lot of suspicion of the Democratic National Committee right now. #BernieOrBust might alienate many so-called “moderates,” but #VoteBlueNoMatterWho is not looking like a winner either.

If I were a betting man, my money would be on Trump winning re-election.


  1. [1]Associated Press, “Iowa Elections Results,” February 7, 2020, https://elections.ap.org/dailykos/results/2020-02-03/state/IA/race/P/raceid/17275; Associated Press, “Iowa Elections Results,” February 7, 2020, https://elections.ap.org/dailykos/results/2020-02-03/state/IA/race/P/raceid/17278

Keep it simple, Iowa

Iowa

It appears I went to bed just a little too early. The Clintonista New York Times had already reported discrepancies in the Iowa count.[1]

They’ve found more, enough, potentially, to tip the race in state delegate equivalents from Pete Buttigieg to Bernie Sanders. It appears the applicable rule is poorly worded and ambiguous. “[W]ith so many other irregularities in the results, one wonders whether the Iowa caucuses will have a definitive winner at all.”[2]

The Times is still not alleging intentional bias. The trouble lies in the preponderance of these irregularities and the simple fact that this shouldn’t be nearly so hard as the Democrats have made it.

One of the other things I remember from my programming days is the acronym KISS: “Keep It Simple, Stupid.” Failing that simple edict, the Democrats invite suspicion. And my Twitter feed is full of just that.

Nate Cohn, “New Doubts From Iowa Caucuses: How ‘Satellite’ Votes Are Being Measured,” New York Times, February 6, 2020, https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/06/upshot/iowa-caucus-satellite-votes.html


  1. [1]Nate Cohn et al., “Iowa Caucus Results Riddled With Errors and Inconsistencies,” New York Times, February 6, 2020, https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/06/upshot/iowa-caucuses-errors-results.html
  2. [2]Nate Cohn, “New Doubts From Iowa Caucuses: How ‘Satellite’ Votes Are Being Measured,” New York Times, February 6, 2020, https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/06/upshot/iowa-caucus-satellite-votes.html

Maybe we’ll have final results from New Hampshire before we get them from Iowa

Reminder: There was a new blog post this morning entitled, “Bipartisan ‘meritocracy’ and ‘vote Blue no matter who’.”


Iowa

There has been no further progress in the count. None.

In the meantime, as the doubts I predicted[1] spread on Twitter, where some point to what they think is dubious rounding that somehow very often seemed to work against Bernie Sanders, Tom Perez is calling for the math to be done again.[2]

Despite Perez’ embarrassment, it’s not yet clear to me that the ‘recanvass’ will actually occur. Apparently, a campaign has to request it and foot the bill for it.[3]

Rod Dreher, at the American Conservative, suspects the timing of Perez’ call, coming as it does, just as Sanders is beginning to look like he might pass Pete Buttigieg.[4]

Rod Dreher, “DNC Sandbagging Bernie?” American Conservative, February 6, 2020, https://www.theamericanconservative.com/dreher/democrats-dnc-sandbagging-bernie/

Isaac Stanley-Becker, “DNC chair calls for recanvass in Iowa,” Washington Post, February 6, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/dnc-chair-calls-for-recanvas-in-iowa/2020/02/06/0ec4dc4c-4906-11ea-9164-d3154ad8a5cd_story.html


  1. [1]David Benfell, “Neoliberal hubris and the Iowa fiasco,” Not Housebroken, February 5, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/02/05/neoliberal-hubris-and-the-iowa-fiasco/
  2. [2]Isaac Stanley-Becker, “DNC chair calls for recanvass in Iowa,” Washington Post, February 6, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/dnc-chair-calls-for-recanvas-in-iowa/2020/02/06/0ec4dc4c-4906-11ea-9164-d3154ad8a5cd_story.html
  3. [3]Isaac Stanley-Becker, “DNC chair calls for recanvass in Iowa,” Washington Post, February 6, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/dnc-chair-calls-for-recanvas-in-iowa/2020/02/06/0ec4dc4c-4906-11ea-9164-d3154ad8a5cd_story.html
  4. [4]Rod Dreher, “DNC Sandbagging Bernie?” American Conservative, February 6, 2020, https://www.theamericanconservative.com/dreher/democrats-dnc-sandbagging-bernie/