Wednesday, February 05, 2020

Election 2020 Update: Iowait

And wait.  And wait.

Monday night’s Iowa caucuses were supposed to offer America a first look at the Democratic Party’s front-runner in the 2020 presidential race, based on the results of the first primary battle. That didn’t quite happen. Instead, after a chaotic night full of errors and mismanagement, the party had still failed to name a winner by the next afternoon.

While party leaders and pundits alike are struggling to figure out what went wrong, it looks like a hastily-built and reportedly insufficiently tested smartphone app is at the center of the disaster.

As you can click and see in the excerpt ... still no final tallies as of this mornng.  Nobody could have anticipated that technology might prove to be democracy's undoing, after all.

It's a shame they can't blame the Russians.

The 2020 Iowa caucuses turned out to have been designed to depend on the use of a new, untested app with extensive ties to establishment insiders and to the Pete Buttigieg campaign, and because of problems using this app as of this writing we are still waiting on the full results of the election. The Iowa Democratic Party has bizarrely released a partial result with 62 percent of 99 counties reporting, which just so happens to have favored the campaign of a Mr. Peter Buttigieg, who in the sample came out on top in delegates despite coming in second in votes.

According to an Iowa precinct chair, the problems using the app (developed by the aptly named Shadow, Inc) included literally switching the numbers entered into it on the final step of reporting results.

“A precinct chair in Iowa said the app got stuck on the last step when reporting results,” CNN reports. “It was uploading a picture of the precinct’s results. The chair said they were finally able to upload, so they took a screenshot. The app then showed different numbers than what they had submitted as captured in their screenshot.”

Here's a live look at an Iowa precinct captain attempting to use the app.

And here is your executive summary.

It doesn’t actually matter any more who really won Iowa at this point; the damage is already done.

Iowa is a sparsely populated state with an insignificant number of delegates; nobody campaigns there for the delegates, they campaign to make headlines and generate excitement and favorable press for themselves in the first electoral contest of the presidential primary race. This has already happened, and with Buttigieg first declaring victory before any results were in, followed by his delegate count lead announced hours later, the favorable press has predominantly gone his way.

More reading if you care:

-- Buttigieg and/or Sanders will win Iowa.  What's next?

-- Iowa's biggest loser wasn't Joe Biden, though that should have been the media's top story.

-- Worst in the Nation: What the Iowa caucus disaster means for the Democratic Party.

Trump’s campaign wasted no time in sowing doubt about the legitimacy of the outcome and ridiculing the Democratic Party for its incompetence. “It would be natural for people to doubt the fairness of the process,” Trump 2020 campaign manager Brad Parscale said in a statement. “And these are the people who want to run our entire health care system?”

-- And my personal favorite: the Iowa caucus choked itself to death.

"A Systemwide Disaster." "Meltdown." "Debacle." These are the headlines coming out of the Hawkeye State after its caucus on Monday night. Maybe it had to end this way for Iowa, a state that re-elects men like Chuck Grassley and Steve King with dreary consistency, and which has now seen caucus disaster for the third straight time.

Alllllllllrighty then.  On To New Hampshire!

-- We have CNN town halls tonight, continuing tomorrow night.

There is one glaring omission from this slate.

Gabbard is polling ahead of Yang, Steyer, and even Bloomberg in the RCP collated averages, but CNN is including ... Deval Patrick in this lineup.

I don't care for CNN picking favorites among presidential candidates any more than I do the Texas Tribune selecting their/"our" Senate Democratic contenders.  (It's remarkable how hard they have worked to ignore the woman who earned 24% in the 2018 primary against Beto O'Rourke, but when all you care about is fundraising, that's what happens.)

-- That's a segue-way into Friday night's debateUpdate: This isn't the one the oligarch bought his way into; that one's in Vegas on February 19.

Slated for February 7 in Manchester, New Hampshire, the debate is the first of a trio happening that month as individuals in all four early states head to the polls (or caucuses). The debate’s start time will be 8 pm ET; it’s expected to run for about three hours.

Scheduled just days after Iowa’s caucuses and less than a week before New Hampshire’s February 11 primary, the debate, hosted by ABC, WMUR-TV, and Apple News, is poised to inform last-minute voter decisions both in the state and across the country. As Vox’s Ella Nilsen reports, roughly two-thirds of voters in New Hampshire still haven’t made a final decision about their top candidate. It’s possible candidates’ last-ditch debate appearances -- and arguments -- could make the difference.

Nina Turner's use of the 'O' word got a well-publicized rise out of MSNBC contributor/The Root politics editor Dr. Jason Johnson.

As I mentioned a few weeks ago, Money Bags is buying entire statewide Democratic parties, not just the DNC, and not just a place on the debate stage.

Click The Root link for their take on Bloomberg's purchase of a debate podium from the POC perspective.  Both of these issues w/r/t debate qualification -- class and race -- are another pair of problems for the DNC, at a time when Trump is ascendant.

-- Bloomberg has doubled his ad buying after the Iowa clusterf.  He bought so much airtime in Houston in November that a politico working for Sylvester Turner in his runoff against Tony Buzbee whined about escalating media costs.

-- Meanwhile, Elizabeth Warren is canceling ads her campaign purchased in the two states that vote after South Carolina.  Make of this whatever you like.

^^This^^ is your site for all of that shit right there.  Tea leaves and goat entrails no charge.

Got more but I think I'll stop here since I will have to blog a lot about these people this week.  One little bite of snark before I go.

Monday, February 03, 2020

The Weekly Wrangle

The Texas Progressive Alliance celebrates Black History Month and the many Texans to be feted: Bessie Coleman, Barbara Jordan, Hattie Mae White, Juanita Craft, Curtis Graves, Wallace Jefferson, Beyonce', Simone Biles, Dr. Thomas Freeman, S. Lee Merritt, and many, many others.

We'd also like to congratulate the former Dallas Texans -- and the Hunt family of Dallas -- on their Super Bowl victory yesterday.  And with the Iowa caucuses on the calendar this evening, Democrats will "soon" have some actual White House front-runners as opposed to polling ones.

In his regular Update of the Democratic presidential primary, PDiddie at Brains and Eggs tried not to get too excited about the Bernie surge taking place.  ( is currently projecting delegate counts in IA, NH, and NV as winners for the Vermont senator.)  Berners have been out in force across the Lone Star State ...

PDiddie also got a momentary thrill out of the Texas Lyceum poll, but last night's UT-Tyler/Dallas News survey splashed a little cold water on that.

Meanwhile Kuff examined that Lyceum pollSocraticGadfly, having seen the Chomskyites beg Howie Hawkins to run a "safe states" strategy if he's the Green Party nominee, loudly applauded Hawkins for essentially telling them to STFU.

Two weeks prior to the Texas primary, Jolt Action is hosting these presidential candidates in Pasadena (presuming none of them drop out before then, of course):

Unfortunately Jolt is not doing the same for John Cornyn's challengers, as they have already endorsed their founder in the US Senate primary.

That would be in concert with their candidate's continued disingenuousness about her surname (something she has apologized for, but continues to say).

The TexTrib's Patrick Svitek tweeted some polling about the Senate Ds.

In the wake of the HD-28 Democratic debacle, everybody had a take.  Some were hot; some were not.  Some were lukewarm.

Mustafa Tameez, blogging for the Houston Chronicle, says the road to the majority in the Texas House goes through the middle of the electorate.  ('Middle' is the wrong label for independent voters as Tameez describes them.  Using his research, a better label would be 'seldom' or 'sporadic' voters; certainly not 'low information' or 'non-voters'.)

In last week's Wrangle, this blogger ranted about misuse of the word 'progressive'.  This week, both Gadfly and Jaime Abeytia picked up on that with rants of their own.

Robert Rivard at his Report noted that SBOE member Ken Mercer (who represents a district Hillary Clinton carried in 2016) is big ol' peddler of wingnut dishonesty.

Nonsequiteuse thanked the Houston GLBT political caucus for listening to members who asked them to hold lawmakers credibly accused of sexual harassment to account.  The Caucus made several surprise endorsements at their weekend meeting.

As is often the case at these meetings, a few took offense.

Houston Justice Coalition showed how they're registering voters currently in county jail.

Some developments in recent chemical plant explosions:

Houston Public Media reported that the Houston and Dallas metro areas both suffered over 100 days of poor air quality in 2018, according to a report from Environment Texas.

Scott Henson at Grits for Breakfast has the police blotter.

And a second helping of Grits.

The Justice Collaborative has launched The Ogg Blog, providing background on various criticisms vs. embattled Harris County DA Kim Ogg as she faces a bevy of opponents in the coming March primary. Grits is grateful; I'd intended to compile a long, greatest-hits post for Ogg as a bookend to this one about Travis County DA Margaret Moore, so they've saved me the trouble.

Closing out another week with some Great State items on the lighter side of the news.

The battleship Texas will be relocating from its longtime berth at the San Jacinto State Historic Site following repairs to its hull.  Where it is going is still to be determined.

This book review from Justin Miller at the TO regarding El Paso politics is revealing.