Orwell Goes to Iowa

Yves here. Team Dem is in deep denial about how bad their Iowa conduct makes them look.

By Thomas Neuburger. Originally published at DownWithTyranny!

The latest final results from Iowa as of the February 9 (source, also here, though the Des Moines Register begs to differ). Despite having a lead of less than 1% in SDEs, Buttigieg has now been given a lead of two national delegates (16% more delegates than Sanders is given).

I can’t leave the Iowa Caucus story without noting this. According to Trip Gabriel of the New York Times, the Iowa Democratic Party will not change even blatant errors in its report of results because it wants to “ensure the integrity of the process” — while at the same time saying that “The Iowa Democratic Party continues to be fully committed to ensuring the accuracy of the caucus data that we report”.

You read that right. Mr. Orwell would be proud.

Gabriel writes via Twitter, quoting the opinion of the IDP attorney:

The incorrect math on the Caucus Math Worksheets must not be changed to ensure the integrity of the process. … The IDP’s role is to facilitate the caucus and tabulate the results. Any judgement of math miscalculations would insert personal opinion into the process by individuals not at the caucus and could change the agreed upon results. That action would be interfering with the caucus’ expression of their preferences.

There are various reasons that the worksheets have errors and may appear to not be accurate, however changing the math would change the information agreed upon and certified by the caucus goers. If campaigns want further recourse they will need to work all of the way through the process to a Recount where the Presidential Preference Cards are opened and counted.

But there’s a problem with those Presidential Preference Cards. Gabriel notes that “going back to the “presidential preference cards” that each caucus-goer was supposed to turn in — wouldn’t be definitive either. Random caucus chairs I interviewed said several people in the room who voted never turned in their cards for whatever reason.”

As Gabriel notes in his NY Times piece on the same subject:

“The incorrect math on the Caucus Math Worksheets must not be changed to ensure the integrity of the process,” wrote the party lawyer, Shayla McCormally, according to an email sent by Troy Price, the chairman of the party, to its central committee members. The lawyer said correcting the math would introduce “personal opinion” into the official record of results.

It’s a “personal opinion” that 1+1=3 is incorrect?

The Boldest of Catch-22s

This is the boldest of Catch-22s. To ensure the “integrity of the process, worksheets that “have errors and may appear to not be accurate” cannot be changed, since they are a legal record of the caucus.

So, for example, an error as obvious as this one…

Via Jordan Chariton (source)

…might never be corrected. Ryan Grim has noted via his newsletter: “Certifying knowingly false election results is arguably against federal election laws, and the Iowa Democratic Party is playing with fire here,” but that seems to have stopped no one at the IDP.

Sanders To Ask for a “Partial Recanvas”

The latest news is that Senator Sanders has asked for a partial recanvas of the Iowa vote:

A campaign aide confirmed the plans Sunday night, ahead of a Monday deadline for candidates to ask the Iowa Democratic Party to recanvass the results. A recanvass is not a recount, but a check of the vote count to ensure the results were added correctly.

The state party released updated results on Sunday showing Pete Buttigieg leading Sanders by two state delegate equivalents out of 2,152 counted.

The Associated Press remains unable to declare a winner because it believes the results may not be fully accurate and are still subject to potential revision.

I’m not sure what good that will do in producing an outcome that can be believed, and in the end the one or two delegate difference won’t make much difference at all at the Convention, but we can applaud, at least, the effort to save face for the Iowa Democratic Party, whose own face it’s determined to tar.

A Clown Show Performance Without Appearance of Impartiality?

The Iowa Democratic Party seems intent on proving all suspicions of bias correct, despite an overwhelming number of commenters willing to offer the lesser explanation, incompetence. As Matt Taibbi astutely put it, in the end the Iowa Caucus was a “clown show performance by a political establishment too bored to worry about the appearance of impartiality.”

Though we may close the book at some point soon on this sad open to the 2020 Democratic Primary, voters may not. By the time the Convention chooses its nominee, the clown show performance in Iowa, with no appearance of impartiality may come to characterize the whole of the rest of the exercise.

If it does, if the Milwaukee end of the process looks as false as its corn field start, the effort to defeat Donald Trump may well have received its final, fatal blow a full nine months before the first November ballot was cast.

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  1. JBird4049

    “Orwell comes to Iowa?” Okay, ma’am you have just hit some kind of milestone with that title. And yes, saying 1+1=3 is incorrect is not a statement of fact just as saying the Sun rises in East and sets in the West is not a statement of fact. It is a lie.

    If this stands and anymore state primaries are stolen, which I expect California’s to be, the party is done even if Trump somehow loses the election.

    1. Acacia

      The party is already done — stick a fork in it —, but tens of millions of people are in denial. What to do?

      1. FlameGraph

        The only words I would accept from Perez at this point are, “I resign, I’m so sorry.”

        The one good thing about this election is how obvious the flagrancy has become in the establishment’s attempts to subvert the Democratic process. My favorite moment recently was when Chris Matthews started claiming (in so many words) that he disliked Bernie Sanders because he and his friends would start executing people in Central Park if he were to win the White House. The mess in Iowa obviously speaks for itself.

        I am hoping beyond hope that Bernard takes NH by storm, and then NV. I’d grab my bowl of popcorn and nervously enjoy the show, but somehow I don’t have an appetite anymore.

        1. Kevin Hall

          Chris Matthews, as usual, has it backwards. There will be no executions if Bernie gets into the White House. No, it is when people like Chris make it impossible for peaceful revolution to take place that violent revolution will be necessary. But you couldn’t make him see what he won’t see for the likes of his salary. (net $60mil – $5mil/yr for Hardball)

          He is right about one thing I believe, there will be violent revolution. Kafka is applicable here: There is an infinite amount of hope in the universe – but not for us.

    2. Shiloh1

      Not to worry. This is being set up so that Hillary rides into the Milwaukee convention on a white horse like Lady Godiva to save the day.

    3. Michael Fiorillo

      Wait, you mean to say that you trust the language that underpins the universe (aka math) over the word of the Iowa Democratic Party?

      I assume your Russian control agent made you say that.

  2. Edward

    The Democratic party should probably change its name to the Know-Nothing Party. This argument about math errors being “opinion” is about on par with the other explanations we have had so far. How do they even know the “errors” are errors? Some partisan could deliberately alter the results and claim it was a mistake. I am still waiting to find out what “state delegate equivalents” are. I have a simple proposition for the IDP: one person, one vote. The good news is how dumb and obvious these crooks are. At this rate Sanders’ political platform is going to include the radical idea of bringing democracy to the United States. I look forward to hearing the press complain some more about conspiracy theorists. With people like this no wonder Gerrymandering and bribery is so widespread.

    1. kevin

      Good point–if allowed to stand it sets a precedent for whoever is in charge of publishing the results to just make up whatever they want and letting the “errors” slide

  3. The Rev Kev

    Love the logic. They are saying that they have to maintain the corruption in the results in order to maintain the integrity of the election. Yeah, a lot of people will buy that. I guess the strategy is to thoroughly mess up the caucus votes in as many States as possible so that delegates are taken away from Bernie. But the electoral gods have already shown their displeasure-


    Now anybody want to go to Hillary Clinton and tell her that, after reviewing all the votes from 2016, that she actually won the Presidency after all but that any judgement of math miscalculations would insert personal opinion into the process by individuals not in the elections and could change the agreed upon results. And that action would be interfering with the elector’s expression of their preferences. So tough luck, Hilz.

    1. tegnost

      There are apparently two definitions for integrity, one means “the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness”, while the other is more appropriate here…”the state of being whole and undivided.” (defs from oxford). The IDC/DNC are unabashedly and wholly corrupt.

      1. pretzelattack

        i was thinking of “the integrity of the hull has been breached captain! to the transporter room!” which is i guess the second.

  4. anonymous

    Other lawyers do not agree. From Gary Dickey, former legal counsel to Gov. Vilsack, to Laura Belin of Bleeding Heartland:
    “I have not seen the letter from IDP, I have only seen the reporting from Trip Gabriel. The belief that IDP legally cannot correct mistakes is not a plausible interpretation of the law. Nothing in chapter 43 prevents the party from correcting mistakes in the tabulation and reporting of the presidential nominating process. More importantly, the First Amendment right to association gives political parties wide latitude to decide their presidential party nominating process. No court is going to interfere with a party correcting obvious mistaking in data reporting. In anything, the party exposes itself to a potential due process and equal protection challenge if its refuses to correct the errors.”
    Setting the legal analysis aside, it is political malpractice not to correct obvious mistakes in the results. The purpose of the nominating process exists to make sure the party’s nominee is the product of the will of the people. Ignoring obvious mistakes runs contrary to that purpose.”
    I don’t think we’ve seen the end of this.

    1. mpalomar

      “I don’t think we’ve seen the end of this.”

      I hope you’re right. What Sanders appears to need is a team of tenacious legal bulldogs.

      1. funemployed

        Alas, the DNC already won a legal ruling that, essentially, the Democratic party is a private organization that can nominate whoever they want however they please.

        They have also been very public in their intention to stop Bernie by any means fair or foul.

        Only feasible strategy I see is that Bernie wins by a margin much larger than phallus of an NY subway rat.

        1. inode_buddha

          Only problem with winning by huge margins is that those margins depend on who is counting. In this case, the DNC.

          Regardless of who gets their nomination, I hope the can get a landslide in the general, even if it is via write-ins. And then watch the entire establishment of the last 40 years have a collective Karl Rovian meltdown, screaming and soiling themselves the entire way, about how the country is falling apart.

          1. Hepativore

            I still think that if it came to it, Perez would basically yank the nomination from Sanders via the “nuclear option”. The public would be fuming with rage, and the Democrats would probably be over or severely damaged as a party for a few decades, but they probably feel that it would be worth the cost rather than let the money tree be cut down.

            I could be wrong, and I hope that I am, but even I am surprised by how brazen the Democratic Party has been in its hatred of Sanders. Still, this was the best choice among limited options as running as a third party candidate would have made it even easier for Sanders to be side-lined due to ballot-access laws in various states and the fact that it would be even easier for the media to completely ignore him as they generally do with third-party candidates.

            1. False Solace

              The Democrats are far happier to lose to Trump than to win with Sanders.

              They don’t need to win, they need to be the only alternative to the Republicans. That’s what keeps their cushy paychecks intact.

              1. Copeland

                The Democrats are far happier to WIN with Trump than to win with Sanders.

                Wadyall think…makes a certain amount of sense? Trump didn’t hurt them where it counts last time, he wont this time either, indeed he probably made them all wealthier via his tax changes.

    2. tegnost

      The purpose of the nominating process exists to make sure the party’s nominee is the product of the will of the people.

      well…maybe, and maybe not… Democratic National Corporation

  5. ambrit

    Let’s see what New Hampshire and Nevada throw up in the way of ‘questionable’ process and result.
    Then we can begin gaming out the DNC strategy.
    I’m wondering if Trump has an October Surprise worked up and waiting in the wings. Add one of those to the Clownocrat Party Show and we have the makings of a full on turn to the Right in America.
    Another sort of turn to the Right this fall would be a Caretaker Government after an actual coup. I would not have thought of such ten years ago without considering myself to be too deep into the CT Zone. Now, anything is possible.

    1. lordkoos

      I think New Hampshire will be a big win for Bernie, but Nevada looks to be seriously compromised already.

      1. ambrit

        Now that the dimensions of the “rigging” are becoming clear, as in, Amy???, I look to Super Tuesday to define the primary. Triumphalism is a self defeating strategy.

      1. skippy

        Thought around here that was done in 2002.

        The currant freakout show is about the nascent fear of some democracy happening.

  6. pretzelattack

    i can’t wait to see what they have cooked up for super tuesday. it looks like a gauntlet of fixed primaries and caucuses.

  7. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

    All done with a fat finger on the pulse of the plebes and an intimate knowledge of the awesome power of the Precariat Economy, the Surveillance State and the Militarized Police.

    America’s billionaire national plantation owners: “Sure, we’ll let you have an election. It will be a choice between a Republican billionaire and a Republican billionaire. What are you going to do about it?”

    And they know the answer. Primaries stolen as easily as taking candy from babies. Tech de-platforming of opposing views. 24/7 cable news telling citizens that all is well. Late night visits by the FBI to the homes of dissenters (a la Bloomberg/Obama/Zucotti Park).

    Not with a bang, but a whimper.

    1. Samuel Conner

      There’s always samizdat

      And if firmware updates to our scanners and printers are “improved” with AI to the point that they won’t reproduce material that is favorable to non-establishment candidates, there’s always pen and paper. Copying by hand is much slower, but then U6 is still pretty high and there is plenty of underutilized capacity in the economy.

      Hand-marked paper is endlessly useful.

    2. Cat Burglar

      Managing us using Third World chaos was always out there as an option, but this election looks like a decisive turn toward the new disorder: elite rule without concern for popular legitimacy through a deep state, a corrupt window-dressing system of limited representation, limitations on policy discussion, a two-tier justice system, big inequalities of wealth and power. They don’t care now because they have the power to be rid of caring; it is just easier.

      Welcome to Bolivia.

      1. JBird4049

        Only with over three hundred million people with guns for all as well as veteran deplorables from
        all the wars.

        This will not end well.

  8. Eustache de Saint Pierre

    It’s incredible & reminds me of an old Jamaican friend of mine when he described that island’s politics ” De Mockracy to raas “.

  9. Pavel

    If they steal it from Bernie (again) he should simply run on a third party. If Trump is going to be re-elected anyway, may as well burn down the “Democrat” Party finally and start over again. Not only are they evil and corrupt, they are useless.

    I heard a truly horrific podcast yesterday (unfortunately I have lost the link; I believe Aaron Maté was the host) discussing the mechanics of the Shadow app and the group who put it all together — a combination of the Clinton and Obama gangs plus Big Tech, the Israel lobby, and Mayor Pete’s operation. They are seriously — and almost blatantly — subverting the US’s already pathetic electoral system.

    UPDATE: Found it! Pushback with Aaron Maté (7 Feb)

    Iowa’s voting debacle has renewed fears that the DNC is again working against Bernie Sanders and his grassroots campaign. The Grayzone’s Max Blumenthal breaks down the network of dark money billionaires, Democratic elites, and Russiagate profiteers behind the app that ruined the Iowa vote, and a wider effort to stop Sanders’ progressive momentum.

    Youtube link: Iowa debacle fueled by anti-Bernie billionaires, Russiagate hucksters, failed DNC elites

    WARNING: I found this deeply disturbing and depressing content.

    1. Samuel Conner

      The movement Sanders has built has characteristics of “parallel sovereignty”.

      One might see a 3rd party spontaneously emerge, even without Sanders’ direct cooperation, and select Sanders as its candidate.

      I suspect that there are enough volunteers to fulfill the (I believe rather high) requirements for ballot access in most states.

      1. lyman alpha blob

        The US loves parallel sovereignty these days as evidenced by the standing O fake president Guy-Doe received from both parties at the SOTU.

        Perhaps the Sanders campaign should simply ask Maduro to declare Sanders the POTUS and go from there. It’d be a lot easier than fighting though all the r@fvkery.

  10. Bill Carson

    It seems so obvious now, that the intelligence community would run their own candidate to ensure that they and their oligarchical masters maintain power over the $4.5 trillion dollar budget, together with the greatest war machine in history.

  11. Geo

    Can we just stop allowing Iowa a vote until they learn how to count? Anyone remember the GOP primary fiasco where they gave it to Romney, then recounted and gave it to Santorum, only to much later – six months later – “realize” the winner was Ron Paul (after he’d already dropped out)? And then there’s the 2016 Dem primary they “gave” to Clinton. Seriously, the state is a cesspit of corruption and cannot seem to count the votes of the relatively small population it has.

    I think Iowa needs a timeout for a while until they can learn to behave.


    1. vlade

      I thikn it would be sufficient if they came out clear and said “our method is called a weighted coin toss”.

      1. Geo

        Ha! Maybe we give them fake ballots for their fake tallies? That way they can pretend to have elections while learning how to do basic math. Then, after a few election cycles when they’ve proven they can do it right, we allow Iowa to be a part of the electoral process again, but they go last.

      2. Edward

        This nonsense about coin tosses, math “errors”, and “state delegate equivalents” is just another version of super delegates, although less public.

  12. ahimsa

    Price failed to assuage concerns, saying on a Monday night conference call that

    the delay was due to having to collect and report three different sets of data.

    Jeff Weaver, a Bernie Sanders adviser, was unconvinced:

    You always had to calculate these numbers;

    all we’re asking is that you report them for the first time.”

    “If you haven’t been calculating these numbers all along, it’s been a fraud for 100 years.

    1. Geo

      Something tells me they’ve been fraudulent for at least a few decades. Definitely the last few cycles. No doubt about that at all.

      Iowa should seriously be made to go last in every primary election after this one. That way their votes have no real influence anymore. Maybe shuffle the order every cycle (term limits?) to keep the corrupters on their toes?

  13. Mikel

    It’s an obvious provocation of Sanders supporters. What would be the psy-ops around that?

    But most of all it should be looked at by all as a dare. They dare you to start a third party that is actually a challenging third party.

    The people that make up the DNC and all of their supporters are making their break from you. Get the message, get something new going. Never, ever give that party an ounce of your energy ever again. How much lack of respect do they have to show you? It doesn’t matter how bad you think things are or can get. Just remember they got that way by giving your time, energy, and dollars to a group led by this kind of banal evil.

  14. Amateur Socialist

    At the risk of sounding biased myself I think it was shockingly fortunate for the DNC establishment to reveal their incompetence and bias so quickly. Who could have predicted they would provide such ample and immediate evidence for one of the Sanders campaign’s central arguments against the DNC self licking ice cream cone?

    At one stroke they shifted the conversation from policy to one about justice and fair dealing. I believe this will bring additional voters who may have reservations about the campaign’s policy plans but hate cheating.

    1. Geo

      Definitely drawing a bold line separating the two sides of the Democratic Party: one side is people who still believe there’s a possibility for justice and democracy. The other side is deciding which sociopath (Buttigieg or Bloomberg) will be their best losing candidate in the general election.

    2. QuarterBack

      The linchpin of the Orwellian machine is tight constraint of free speech. Without strict editorial control of both the message and it’s mediums, the wheels come off. This is the impetus behind the decades long centralization of all forms of media ownership. It is also why we are being groomed to except removing free speech in social media.

      The introduction of the age of the Internet then Social Media introduced new powerful tools for oligarchs to project their will to the masses. In the early stages, near monopolies existed, but they did not count on the ubiquity of platforms and contributors. They are seeing, but are not yet accepting, that the genie has forever left the bottle, and we are entering another revolutionary battle for control of free speech not seen since the printing press. Many power structures and dynasties are at stake, and they know it.

      Do not get distracted by the many attempts to feign the frontlines of the battle to any number of old or new divisive issues, causes, or threats. These are distractions from the true battle over freedom of speech.

      Have faith that even though there are some who disagree, lie, deceive, and threaten, that the wisdom of the crowd and the truth of God and humanity will always prevail. The great deception in suppression of speech is the claim that the intent is to prevent radical ideas from infecting the masses, when instead its intention is to prevent those who see the truth from knowing that they are not alone.

  15. The Rev Kev

    At this stage of the game the DNC is no longer worried about the optics of what they are doing as Bernie simply has to be eliminated from the running. Too many rice bowls depend on it. In the end they will just troll him and I would not be surprised if next month in Vermont Democratic primary’s “Super Tuesday” that when Bernie goes to vote, some election official will have to apologetically say-

    “I’m sorry Mr. Sanders but I cannot find your name on the election roll anywhere. Are you sure that you registered in time?”

  16. Henry Moon Pie

    They blew their wad in Iowa. They had to juggle grifting, cheating and manipulating all at one time and ended up dropping all three balls. And Bernie had them dead to rights all the way.

    The Clintonites are a very brittle group now. I watched Matthews last night with the sound off, and as Tweety, Carville and Perez came on the screen with a Buttigieg interview mixed in, their faces were all pure comedy. All I could think of was Grace’s great line at the end of “Greasy Heart:”

    Don’t change before the Empire falls.
    You’ll laugh so hard you’ll crack the walls.

    There might be a few cracks in the plaster this morning.

    Lot more to come. The latest fun thing that people are daring to notice is that Obama has thrown in his lot with Bloomberg with remaining silent about that Bloomberg ad. We might as well get all these oligarchs on one side and beat them like a drum politically. They’re ripe for it. In my city, it will probably mean separating people from the political machine that has abused and oppressed them for decades.

  17. Hepativore

    The next step will be the DNC getting rid of primaries altogether and just appointing who their presidential candidate is going to be every four to eight years.

    “See, now you’ll never have to worry about a situation like Iowa ever again, as we took care of the voting for you!”

      1. campbeln

        And so many of my fellow American’s look to North Korea and they’re one pre-selected person on the ballot with disgust and disdain; all the while thinking that our system of two pre-selected people is oh so much better.

    1. Samuel Conner

      By the end of this cycle, we could be there. DNC is a private corporation and presumably its current owners would be willing to sell it to a sufficiently high bidder.

      Someone with sufficient means to make an attractive bid has entered the race.

      This might be the last election cycle in which the DNC is able to hide behind a tissue thin veil of being “democratic”

      1. ambrit

        The DNC sold itself to the Clinton Foundation in 2016. HRH HRC is still among the undead, so, best watch that space.
        Brokered Convention = ‘Unity Candidate’ = Trump 2.0

    2. Tom Doak

      Well that is exactly how the PMC feels about everything. They are the educated professionals, and you must trust them to make choices “on your behalf” /s.

      It’s worked so well for banks and tech and unions and government bureaucracy, why not extend it to voting?

  18. thoughtfulperson

    Fraud for 100 years implies many elections everyone thought were clean were actually bogus. Clearly the way votes are counted needs attention, among other things. Lambert had a list recently: hand marked paper ballots hand vounted in public, and more.

    The SDEs as a concept is truely revealing. After 2016, and the huge Clinton win in popular vote, the talk about doing away with the electoral college, you’d think that in its own primary the Democrat party would have a one person = one vote system.

    My takeaway is the more votes the “wrong” candidate gets the better as it forces more obvious miscounting and SDE shenanigans. This reveals the voting mess to more and can only help generate more support for reforms like hand marked balots counted in public.

  19. James

    Regarding the included Cedar County report example, the IDP’s statement is appropriate. There is no way they can correct that report. They have no way of knowing where the error is. So making any change would just be guesswork by them if they don’t have all the original written ballots to review.

    1. Samuel Conner

      GIven that the SDEs are supposed to be derived from the 2nd alignment totals, they certainly can correct that math error.

      The question of whether the 2nd alignment totals accurately reflect the preferences of the caucus-goers present at that precinct is not in view here. It is not plausible that the SDE allocation just happens to reflect true but mis-reported 2nd vote totals. The SDEs are not an independent tally of the votes; they are derived from and completely dependent on the vote tally.

      The SDE allocation is plainly miscalculated from the tabulated 2nd vote totals. That should be corrected.

      If a campaign wants the 2nd votes to be recounted, that can be done too.

      One might expect the PB campaign to make that request if a recanvass properly allocated SDEs from this precinct to reflect the reported 2nd vote totals.

      1. James

        Or maybe the vote total was just recorded incorrectly on this sheet and the allocation was recorded correctly. It’s not possible to tell from this sheet alone.

  20. The Historian

    The saddest part of all of this is that Sanders knows the Democratic Party doesn’t want him – adequately proven in 2016 – yet he still insists on playing their game by their Calvin and Hobbes rules. Surely he knows that Iowa is just the start and probably not the worst that will be thrown at him. And yet he maintains an idealistic view that he can change the DNC from within.

    He reminds me of those sad old stooges on the shop floor who just knows that someday the corporate owners are finally going to make their lives better – if they just keep trusting and wait long enough.

      1. The Historian

        Is that enough?

        What choices does that give us? I don’t think this country can stand four more years of Trump at the rate he’s been gutting education, housing, social services, etc.

        We all know the DNC is controlled by the 1%. Are we just supposed to wait and wait some more for the DNC to fix itself?

        Spare me the lectures how the Great God Bernie will fix everything once he gets elected. Sander’s chances against the DNC are slim – Iowa was just the beginning and it is going to get worse, and even if by some miracle he defeats the DNC and does get elected, that won’t stop the 1% from fighting back.

        1. Henry Moon Pie

          I think the question at this point is what choices do the Dem Establishment have. You need a Stop Bernie! candidate who’s able to get close enough to make cheating plausible. I don’t think it will be Bloomberg with those recordings of interviews of him going way over the line in defending stop-and-frisk, even to the point of saying too many whites were impacted by s-a-f and too few minorities. Who else? Klobuchar? Pete? Kerry? Gore? Romney?

        2. Edward

          The system of checks and balances in our government no longer works. All 3 branches are corrupt. At this point the only check left is the public; it is up to the public to intervene. We over personalize politics as “Sanders” or “Trump” but I think this is an error. The issue is the whole system. While we all know the 1 % control the DNC, we didn’t necessarily expect the kind of blatant manipulation we are witnessing in Iowa.

        3. Michael Fiorillo

          You mention the “gutting of education,” by Trump, but as a public school teacher who spent years fighting the privatization of the schools in NYC that was viciously intensified under Bloomberg and Obama, and credulously supported by most liberals, it has only been the advent of Trump and De Vos that has started to make “education reform” radioactive. They galvanized resistance and provided opportunities for defenders of public education to gain traction against the privateers.

          As bad as this Trump is, in a perverse way we lucked out, because the Next Trump, whose rise the #McResistance TM is guaranteeing with its corruption and idiocy, will be far worse: likely more disciplined, more competent, more ideological, and with more organized muscle behind him.

          1. JBird4049

            >> likely more disciplined, more competent, more ideological, and with more organized muscle behind him.

            Like Vice President Mike Pence, an adherent to Dominion Theology?

        4. Chuck T.

          I’m not an American and I don’t mean to be flippant, but you’re just about out of choices. Violent revolution is about all you have left. But you should probably avoid the internet like the plague that it is when organizing.

          1. lordkoos

            Secure, encrypted phones, or meet in person.

            Perhaps one of the reasons that they want to privatize the postal service is that I believe under current law, a federal warrant is required to open someone’s mail. That restriction does not apply to private carries AFAIK.

            1. ambrit

              I’m with you, but don’t really care since I suspect that we here are all on an NSA list already.
              One of my brothers-in-law is a copper and his favourite ever t-shirt says: “No officer. I will not come quietly.”

        5. lyman alpha blob

          Then get out there and raise some hell about it.

          No one thinks Sanders is going to solve all these problems by himself, because he has said as much many times. A movement needs millions of people to actually participate with feet in the streets, not just voting and hoping for the best.

          I really wish people would stop blaming Sanders for shining a spotlight on the cockroaches, and get out and stomp some bugs instead.

        6. Debra D.

          I think you need to get a van and a bullhorn. You can plaster the van with end of times messages and drive around your city, county, and state and blast away about how futile our lives are.

          Bernie Sanders makes it perfectly clear that he is not anybody’s savior and he is unable to accomplish any of his policy goals alone. He is going to rely on citizens to help him fight the well-entrenched 1% elite. It is not going to happen overnight. But, little by little, Pelosi, Hoyer, Schumer, Feinstein, and their ilk will be defeated at the polls. It may not be in your lifetime or mine, but there is no other way — than anarchy.

    1. Samuel Conner

      I think that Sanders is playing a long game with the goal of shifting the political center of gravity in the electorate. Part of that is persuasion of existing voters and part is bringing in new voters.

      The political center of gravity has to shift if things are going to get better.

      Sanders as President will accomplish little if either chamber of the legislature is fighting him tooth and nail. So he needs to clean both houses of Congress, too.

      I don’t think he can both win the presidency and clean both houses of Congress this cycle, but he may win the presidency, and the first two years of a Sanders bully pulpit would be terror to the establishments of both parties. 2022 would see unprecedented turnover in Congress.

      Perhaps that’s what Matthews meant — a Sanders presidency would be the end of the road for the careers of many establishment politicians. Taking away a career politician’s power feels like an execution.

      A commenter on a prior NC post wrote that “what Sanders is doing is profound” and I agree.

      Bernie is not a dupe.

      Sanders is beyond the comprehension of those who oppose and fear him in both parties. They don’t “get” what he’s doing and there’s little they can do to prevent the shifts he is attempting to catalyze.

      My only fear is that the “bench” of follow-on leaders is not very deep yet.

      1. SpringTexan

        Yep, Sanders is so much smarter here than the people yapping that he should start a third party, which won’t work. We do need a deeper bench.

        But his success has been amazing, and he has seeded young leaders who may still have savvy to gain but who do have commitment and will go on working past his (and my) lifetime.

        1. Samuel Conner

          > will go on working past his (and my) lifetime.

          I earnestly hope that this movement long outlives me.

          Re: the shallowness of the Progressive bench:

          the thought occurs that the dramatic weakening of the establishment D party that occurred on President Obama’s watch (roughly 1000 elected offices at state and national levels switched from D to R), might have had an unintended side effect of creating the political equivalent of “ecosystem niches” for progressive minded people who might not have risked a run if there were a stronger D establishment blocking the way.

          IIRC, Lambert has on multiple occasions noted the weakening of the D party and concluded, “thanks, Obama!”

          Perhaps I have been wrong to interpret these expressions of gratitude to be irony.

    2. KLG

      One would think a historian has a better grasp of the actually existing situation. Idealism has absolutely nothing to do with it. This game is the only game to play, and that is nothing but cold-eyed realism. Alas. Could Bernie Sanders have done a Ross Perot and come out ahead? Perhaps. Except that after Ross almost queered the deal for Clinton in 1992, the rules were changed to prevent that.

      1. The Historian

        It is precisely because I read history that I can make these comments. I suggest YOU read history, particularly the parts about the birth of the Republican Party in this country and the birth of the Labour Party in Great Britain.

        Sorry, but political parties are created by people – they aren’t some act of nature or a physical constant. The belief that the two parties we have are the “only game to play” is held by people who cannot or will not see that there are other options.

        1. KLG

          Oh, I have indeed read that history. In depth and detail (trying to work in “precisely” here but that would take too much effort after a long day). And I fully expect the Democrat Party to go the way of the Whigs soon enough. But we live in the here and now, without much margin for survival as a people or a species, and soon enough could well be too late.

          Nice “YOU” in there, btw. Threatened, are you? Do you also comment at Crooked Timber?

    3. Watt4Bob

      And yet he maintains an idealistic view that he can change the DNC from within.

      Actually, I believe Bernie is not maintaining a idealistic view, he is executing a tactical maneuver within the narrow realm of possibilities.

      IOW, he has chosen the time and place to do battle, very close, in the enemy’s face so to speak.

      Yes, there is the danger of defeat, the danger was, and is being witnessed, but what Bernie’s tactics are rooted in is the greater possibility of beating the dims at their own game as opposed to inventing a new one, ie trying to create a third party.

      What we, and Bernie Sanders are attempting is a David vs Goliath sort of battle, and none of the possible options have high odds of success, but out of the various options for defeating Goliath, Bernie has chosen to take the battle directly to the enemy.

      That decision has already brought significant successes in that it has sown panic in the ranks of the enemy, and that panic has resulted in a clear display of the DNC beast’s under belly.

      The clear understanding of the rot that exists in our political class, and the DNC in particular, is fast becoming common knowledge as opposed to remaining in the foggy realm of conspiracy theories.

      He reminds me of those sad old stooges on the shop floor who just knows that someday the corporate owners are finally going to make their lives better – if they just keep trusting and wait long enough.

      Bernie is not ‘trusting and waiting’, he is thrusting and baiting, the result being a DNC on its heals due to panic, and imprudent reaction among the general staff.

      Bernie’s history is one of consistent tactical successes, and drawing the DNC, rotting and stinking, out into the clear light of day is the latest of those successes.

      They say history is written by the victors, why don’t you wait until you win to write your history.

      1. SpringTexan

        Wonderful post, yes he is pursuing the wisest course in this den of snakes. Sanders is anything but naive.

        He’s also very good at “not taking the bait,” though constantly baited.

      2. sj

        Insightful and beautifully, clearly written. There are times when I wish NC had a “thumbs up” button. I suspect this comment would have a lot of them.

    1. Edward

      Actually, Carter has been saying for a long time that U.S. elections are so insecure that his organization could not monitor them.

      1. Tobin Paz

        Jimmy Carter was interviewed about the U.S.elections. The following quotes are paraphrased from the transcript:

        Jimmy Carter on NPR’s “Fresh Air”

        GROSS: … We are facing a US presidential election here and I’m wondering if America was a foreign country and it had asked you to monitor the election, would it meet your criteria. Could you monitor the American elections if you were asked?

        Mr. Carter: No. We wouldn’t think of it. The American political system wouldn’t measure up to any sort of international standard for several reasons…

        Mr. Carter: Well, because we think that the ability to run for office and be seriously considered as a candidate should not depend on how much money you can collect to pay for the right to give your campaign platform explanations to the public.

        Mr. Carter: The second reason is: We don’t go into a country unless there is a central election commission that is recognized generally as being non-partisan or bipartisan, and that is a balanced position between or among the different parties.

        Mr. Carter: … Another facet of requirements is that all the people in a country or certainly a state should vote in exactly the same way, either punch cards or touch screens or whatever.

        … And the third thing is that–a fourth thing I think now, is that if there is a technological advanced way to vote, there must be some way for a physical recount if it’s very close.

  21. Edward

    I hope the press is reporting this news, but they can’t be counted on. The public needs to know that math errors are now “opinion”.

    1. James

      To be fair, the statement did not say that math errors are opinion. It said that to try to correct the apparent math error would introduce opinion. That is a correct statement. It is clear that something is wrong on that Cedar County worksheet, but there is no way that anyone can determine what the error is by looking at only the worksheet. Any attempt at “correcting” the worksheet without the original ballots would simply be guessing.

      1. doug

        Well,then don’t guess. ask for the supporting data and correct. Not rocket surgery….

        Fraud is the only reason for leaving known errors in this case. IMO.

        1. James

          Fraud is not the only reason. “Never ascribe to malice that which is adequately explained by incompetence.”

  22. DJG

    Michael Hobbes has a long piece in HuffPost called We’re in the Golden Age of White-Collar Crime, now circulating–and posted here at Naked Capitalism.

    The central observation, in my not so humble opinion:

    Once she switched to elite criminals, she was floored by their utter refusal to take responsibility. “They minimize and make excuses,” she said. “They believe in their own brilliance. They keep saying what they did wasn’t really wrong.”

    We have an entire class of people who live lives of impunity, everything from not paying the (dodgily documented) nanny to trafficking Epstein-wise to looting corporations to looting the military to enriching themselves at the public trough (Pelosi’s worth 120 million dollars?) to building defective products (it isn’t only Boeing) to…

    Iowa caucuses are one more symptom.

    Yet the Democrats wanted to pretend that curing Trump of criminality will purify the whole system. Yeah, sure: Meanwhile, I am waiting for Dianne Feinstein to leak the Senate torture report.

  23. JTMcPhee

    The same argument is used by “the government” in death penalty cases. Ignore for the nonce the arguments about the utility of the death penalty. The government knows that many convictions in capital cases are, to put it charitably, flawed. But courts up and down the appeals process are told (and usually agree) that “the verdict must stand,” that “due process” has been afforded, even though the evidence shows that the convicted person did not commit the crime, was denied adequate counsel, or there was police or prosecutorial misconduct like suppression of evidence or suborning of witnesses. https://time.com/79572/more-innocent-people-on-death-row-than-estimated-study/

    I used to gather with a fellow sailor who was on the Florida Attorney General’s death penalty appeal team. She had no problem with arguing her damndest to preserve death penalty rulings for the above and any other reason she could come up with — just “representing her client zealously within the bounds of the law,” you know. “They’re all guilty of something or they wouldn’t be in the system—“ the view of so many in her position, and apparently among the general populace as well.

    Just another index of what a wonderful country we live in.

  24. rd

    There are “concerns” that it may be a brokered Democratic convention: https://thehill.com/homenews/campaign/482245-democrats-see-chances-rising-for-brokered-convention

    This is a feature, not a bug. The Democratic Party has taken every step possible to ensure a brokered convention. They have eschewed “winner take all” primaries to make it difficult for any candidate to run away from the second and third competitor the way Trump did in the Republican primaries in 2016. They still have the “superdelegates” representing the party establishment to assist the convention in find in the right answer when no candidate can win a majority of the delegates on the first ballot.

    The American people are sending a message to Washington by nominating Trump in 2016 and almost nominating Bernie Sanders, both opposed to the current party establishments. The Republican establishment got the memo. The Democratic establishment still has its fingers in its ears yelling “la la la” loudly as Sanders takes the lead.

  25. Mark Gisleson

    This isn’t Iowa, this is Clintonism by any means necessary.

    The DNC starves the state parties, then bigfoots them, and THEN leaves them to twist in the wind.

    If not Bernie this year, the Democratic party has to die.

    Heighten the contradictions by calling neoliberalism out by its real name: Clintonism.

    1. Samuel Conner

      In analogy to the old Bush II era “regime change” meme, that regimes could be changed by external force or by internal transformation, I think that we can expect big changes in the D party in the near future. It will either begin to earn its name, or it will wither.

      Sanders is trying to change the D party through endogenous processes, and it might work. The current leaders are resisting tooth and nail, and increasing the likelihood that change will be forced exogenously.

    2. Watt4Bob


      With that in mind, it is particularly disgusting to me, as a Minnesotan, that the DFL has fallen so low as to abandon the Farmers and Laborers, to embrace Clintonism.

      Amy is obviously a HRC clone, pushing the same invisible “private agenda” while voicing a dishonest “public agenda”.

      1. Mark Gisleson

        My favorite Amy story is from her first run for Senate.

        I was an ill-tempered blogger but some DFLers noticed that I kinda knew what I was talking about (working the 1980 Iowa Caucuses was a masters class in politicking and once you see the sausage being made, you never forget how that works).

        I was recruited to help w/social media for a challenger to Amy. No names, I refuse to subject ‘loser’ candidates to google searches. He was a citizen candidate from old money, not a politician. But he was right about Iraq and the Middle East. Amy wasn’t.

        The DFL puts an endorsement convention before their primary and this warps their process enormously. The endorsment has finally lost all luster, but it was still a big deal in 2006. Because of the importance of the endorsement to DFL candidates, serious candidates ran for office by courting local DFLers, not voters in general.

        Amy is a world class schmoozer and she’d been doing fundraisers statewide forever. She had a lock on the endorsement and that couldn’t be undone. DFLers then used the word “abide.” Instead of asking if you would vote Blue no matter who, they’d get in your face and demand that you affirm that you would only support the DFL-endorsed candidate.

        If you think the math on the Iowa Caucuses is bizarre, the endorsement process locked the DFL into supporting candidates based on the vote of a fraction of one percent of Democrats in Minnesota. It forced candidates to court their base, not voters in general and it allowed Republicans AND Jesse Ventura to steal elections.

        (Finally getting to my story!) My candidate had been tricked into agreeing to abide (he was naive, didn’t understand how undemocratic that process is). He wouldn’t go back on his word so we were doomed.

        Amy refused to debate. She was churlish about joint appearances of which there were few and only in venues where hard issues weren’t discussed.

        Our last opportunity was a MN public TV politics show in late May. It was a long-scheduled joint appearance Amy couldn’t duck, and it would be the closest thing to a debate we would ever get. We had pickets outside the studio with signs about issues Amy wouldn’t talk about. It was not a great opportunity, but it was our ONLY opportunity to get in front of the voters.

        After an arts segment, a host introduced our segment with Klobuchar by saying (and I quote this from memory): [Something something introducing the next segment] “But you know what? It’s a beautiful day outside so why don’t you just turn off your television and go out and enjoy it!”

        We did OK in the segment but it was the lowest viewed show of that political cycle.

        Don’t ever feel obliged to give this woman an even break, it won’t be reciprocated.

        1. Watt4Bob

          …and count your fingers.

          My then college student daughter expressed her desire to attend the DFL caucus in 2016,
          so I agreed to go with.

          We were met at the door, that is, while still in the doorway, by a DFL lady pasting HRC stickers on everyone who passed.

          We were then treated to a sort of charade where in Bernie Sanders won all the vote tallies, but Clinton backers took all the volunteer district convention delegate seats. (caucus organizers evidently have no responsibility to explain how the system works.)

          Everyone votes, the winner is announced, and then there is a call for volunteer delegates to the district level convention, and of course none of the people new to the caucus, ie Bernie backers, understood the necessity of volunteering in order to truly make their preference count.

          This results in the strange situation where even though most of the people in the room voted for Bernie, all the delegates to the district convention would be experienced DFLers, working to back Clinton.

          The only indication that we’d been had was a young man, about my daughters age, stating out loud that it seemed to him, that the vote didn’t matter, it was the choosing of the delegates that mattered.

          This reality went right over the heads of most of the Bernie people in the room, which is to say most of the people in the room.

          So, it’s obvious that for the average voter, it takes years to gain an understanding of the caucus system useful enough to expect to make any sort of progress if your ideas lie outside those accepted by the Party elite.

          I’m guessing our new primary system will be better?

            1. Watt4Bob

              “Please raise your hand if….”

              Note that this was the precinct level caucus, volunteer delegates chosen there go to the congressional district convention, and there they choose delegates again to go to the state convention.

              Each round more carefully controlling the delegates, and so the outcome.

  26. rd

    Further on “The Establishment Not Stopping Sanders”: https://news.yahoo.com/the-establishment-isnt-stopping-bernie-sanders-100024345.html

    Both Trump and Sanders talk about issues that The Establishment doesn’t want to talk about or do anything about. However, it is clear that a significant percentage of the voters want these candidates to talk about the issues, especially the voters in the respective bases.

    The easiest way for The Establishment to stop these candidates (too late for Trump now) is to draft coherent messages and concepts on the various key issues these candidates talk about and then convince people you are serious. Nobody doubts that Sanders is serious about his several key issues. However, voters believe that the Democratic Party is as serious as pinning Jello to a wall on these issues, especially after 8 years of Clinton and then 8 years of Obama with little action on them (other than the ACA, which is a compromise wrapped in an execution enigma).

    1. Samuel Conner

      > then convince people you are serious

      Hard to do that given the history of recent decades. At this point, any seeming change of heart on the part of establishment party leaders and office-holders in regard to policy ideas that affect people’s lives is likely to be (correctly, IMO) interpreted to be situational weather-vaning.

      They have all forever been against Medicare for All before they will have been for it.

  27. David Carl Grimes

    How do you convince a Californian that Bernie was robbed of victory there? I pointed him to the Greg Palast article but I need more. Can someone help me out by providing more links? Or is it pointless? The guy is a Clinton Democrat.

      1. David Carl Grimes

        Thanks for this! Why are things so complicated? It’s like you would need a complex flow chart/decision tree to be a poll worker.

        1. Edward

          We are dealing with the voting analogue of Obamacare: a Rube-Goldberg mess that is good for the establishment and bad for the public.

  28. Tim

    Math is not judgement, it is pure logic and completely infallible in its correctness. Only a lawyer could believe otherwise.

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