The 2020 Caucus Meltdown
By: Max Yoder
Every four years, Iowa reclaims it’s day of fame as the first state to hold any form of presidential voting. But as the new age of technology collaborates with the onward spread of fake news and misinformation, the almost 50 year tradition of the Democratic Caucus could be the last. Politicians and dissatisfied voters alike took to social media to express their concerns with the system following the Caucus, and an official result was not given until days after Caucus night. The media has labeled this year’s polling as an utter disaster.
This is largely credited to the newly developed app designed specifically for the reporting of results, which ultimately crashed. The backup plan for precinct captains (result reporters) was to phone in their results. Waits of up to 90 minutes resulted in a catastrophic delay in the broadcasting of the results in a timely manner.
Using the malfunction to their advantage, top candidates such as Pete Buttigeig and Bernie Sanders announced victory in their Monday night speeches, with the final results unknowingly days away. Pete reportedly confided to Twitter to imply victory with only 1% of the vote in. This spurred a mass explosion on the popular social media platform, as supporters of all campaigns lashed at each other’s throats in a state of conspiracy and finger pointing.
A significant number of Urbandale High School teachers caucused on Monday night, with 7 of 10 teachers polled stating that they caucused. World History and Government teacher Nick Ahlquist was among the attendees of precinct 60 in Des Moines.
“I think that the Iowa Democratic party is going to continue to get (backlash) for this, that in a lot of respects they deserved…. This caucus system is very difficult when we live in an era of elections being credible or not. With how fast people react online, faith in the caucuses after this week has maybe been damaged beyond repair.”
Other teachers have also expressed their concerns with the system of caucusing as a whole. Choir Director Ted Brimeyer stood in the hot Valerius Elementary gym with some 350 other people in his designated precinct.
“It starts to make me question the legitimacy of (caususing), and that makes me really sad. It’s built up to be such an important thing, and then to have it not go well, it’s embarrassing…. I am part of the national embarrassment.”
With the Democrats still looking for a clear front runner, the delays and confusion in Iowa took away much needed momentum from all potential candidates. With the very little information that has been provided, it seems that Buttigeig and Sanders are fighting for the title of “Iowa Caucus winner”. But with the Caucus drifting farther from memory, and the New Hampshire primary closer each day, this screw up seems to matter less. In the end, no one won the Iowa Caucuses, and even with the final results, it seems that the Democratic Party of Iowa lost this battle with themselves.
The democratic candidates battled for the first time monday night in Des Moines, Iowa