Charlie Pierce With Some Truth For Your Ass

I endorse this times a thousand, a million, a googolplex:

“Anybody who wants my vote in November had better commit to cleaning out the whole Augean stables of this administration*. If that means putting people in jail, so be it. If that means clawing back billions of dollars of ill-gotten, shady profits, bring out the earth-movers. If that means exposing to public scrutiny and anger every single crooked nickel that has passed through this administration, well, then, if Jared and Ivanka end up sleeping under cardboard in Lafayette Park, that wouldn’t make me sad at all.

I don’t want conciliation if this president* loses in the fall. I don’t want to look forward and not backwards, and I sure as hell don’t want to turn any pages. I want democratic government restored to its full and righteous power until the last slime that has seeped into our institutions has been burned away with god’s own blessed fire. This isn’t vengeance. It’s justice, full, transparent and complete. And it is our common right to see it done.”

https://www.esquire.com/news-politics/politics/a30910230/trump-blm-mining-industry-keystone-xl-pipeline/

Olivia Nuzzi Strikes Again

If you don’t know her work, you ought to:

“The Iowa caucus was supposed to be important. First in the nation, they love to remind us — the first place votes are cast; the contest that might predict the president. But tonight that’s all over, or so it seems right now. If you haven’t heard: We don’t yet know the results of the caucuses, due to some kind of fuckup involving a new app the Iowa Democratic Party decided to use, perhaps, or due to some other human error. Nothing is clear. Earlier, when the delay in reporting was becoming apparent and the first murmurs about What Went Wrong were trickling out, the Iowa Democratic Party held a call with representatives from each campaign to discuss the attempts at what it called ‘quality control.’ It ended with the party hanging up on everyone. Later in the evening, the party held a call with reporters that lasted for less than two minutes. It hung up on the reporters too. ‘They’re hanging up on everyone,’ someone here remarked.

[…]

Some campaign staffers and network embeds — the reporters who report on the candidates’ every word and step — have been living here for months. People upend their lives to serve and observe our democratic process, and early on, most of the attention is directed here, by virtue of the supposed importance. Iowa might pick the president, because statistically that’s been true for roughly half the nominating contests in modern history. But with no results, or with results that we can’t trust, it was all for nothing.

It’s Tuesday morning, and we have no answers. ‘Today is already today. Today is tomorrow. The future is now,’ one reporter said.”

https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2020/02/the-iowa-caucuses-were-supposed-to-be-important.html

Another Example of Why Elizabeth Warren is My Jam

One good thing about Iowa’s lack of expected results is it lets us see how the candidates react to the unexpected, sort of a Rorschach test of their character, if you will. I’m not gonna comment on other campaigns: judge them as you will. But this, this is what I want from my next President, and I submit that maybe you ought to, too:

Seriously, what’s not to love?

 

Some Quick Reminders for the Iowa Conspiracy Theorists

First and foremost: There’s a paper trail — for the first time, btw, so put that in your pipe and (retrospectively) smoke it — so the results will come in, and probably be reasonably accurate. That they will be muddled because of how many ways the totals are gonna be split, and because — for some reason — they are reporting not one, not two, but three metrics by which a winner might be declared would have been the case even if things went smooth like butter.

Second, and I can’t stress this enough: Iowa doesn’t really matter! The state accounts for a whopping 1% of convention delegates, which is how the party decides who gets the nomination. In fact, the first four states (IA, NH, NV, and SC) only account for about 5% of delegates (the latter two were moved up to help counterbalance the, ahem, whiteness of the traditional first two). The media likes to pretend they matter more than they actually do, because it gives them fodder to create narratives (and winnow the field). But really, we’re not going to have a good idea who’s ahead, behind, or viable going forward til Super Tuesday, when about half the delegates will be allotted in one big day of primary voting.

Third: Of course the app went wrong. It’s a brand new piece of bespoke tech — developed for a complex, idiosyncratic process — that couldn’t be field-tested beforehand because how would you even do that? Add to that that rules were changed in the way the caucuses work (because this ain’t the first time they’ve had problems calling a winner the night or even the week of), and remember that the vast majority of poll workers are retiree volunteers who don’t know a whole lot about the cyber, and the likeliest — even inevitable — outcome is what happened.

Fourth, and really more of an aside: The changes that are fucking this all up were implemented after complaints from Sanders supporters in 2016, who wanted a more transparent process with a paper trail and yadda yadda yadda (instead of, you know, getting rid of these arcane, uninclusive, undemocratic rituals in favor of the simplicity of a primary vote). That these selfsame people — and the bots who love them — are making the biggest stink about what’s going down is both extremely on-brand and perfectly in tune with the tragilarious irony that has characterized this blighted timeline since the Large Hadron Collider was turned on and everyone lost their goddam minds.

Fifth: While the various conspiracies — Russian/Republican ratfucking, DNC scale-tipping against Bernie/Joe/Pete/whoevs — are not unplausible, I urge you recall Hanlon’s Razor, which says, simply:

Unknown-1

So, deep breaths, everybody. Relax. For once, we’ve woken up the day after Iowa without a handy narrative to shape perceptions about the race going forward. The voting’s just started, the race is still tight. Which, you know, accurately reflects the reality.

This is a good thing.

One Good Thing About the Iowa Democratic Caucus Snafu

440px-Private_SNAFUIt’s a tossup, right now, whether tonight’s app-related debacle for the Iowa Democratic party is the result of ratfucking — be it Republican or Russian — or just standard issue Democratic rake-stepping, or even just the semi-inevitable buggery when a new tech gizmo is deployed for the first time. Either way it’s giving all of us agita while we wait for the paper/pics of paper to be tallied. The whole thing is pretty on-brand for the twenty-first century.

But there is one silver lining, which is in every explainer published instead of the vote totals (or whatever) and what it all means analysis they all expected to go with, everyone’s finally admitting that Iowa doesn’t mean shit, delegate-wise, and is only important because the caucuses, simply by being first, help shape perceptions and narrative.

Yet the power of the caucuses is that they can change that state of play. Based on Iowa’s results, candidates believed to be in the top tier can either solidify that status or stumble, and underdogs can either break out or fall flat. Iowa has this effect because it greatly influences the perceptions of the political world — the media, activists, party insiders, donors, the candidates themselves, and voters — about who can win.”

And that, my friends, is a righteous good thing.

All of punditry has been waiting for this night, when they can finally say who’s up or who’s down, who’s a contender, who beat or missed expectations, who should throw in the towel. Every four years, a few hundred thousand white people performing an arcane ritual that has people sorting themselves into physical groups and then performing arcane calculations to allocate delegates who will themselves meet later to perform calculations to allocate delegates, who will themselves blah blah blah so that, come June, 40-odd of 4000-odd delegates to the Democratic Convention can yell their candidate’s name. It’s a ridiculous, outdated process (I, myself, have attended two caucuses, which were such complete shit-shows that I ended up running both precincts because, well, someone had to), a relic from a bygone era of not picking candidates by popular vote. Which is not a good look for a party that takes its name from the word ‘democracy’.

Look, I got nothing against Iowans. But they aren’t even remotely representative of the people who make up/vote for the Democratic party. They’ve had a good thing going these last fifty years, what with the quadrennial boost to their economy. But a tiny, empty, rural state performing an outdated political ritual to allocate their near-inconsequential number of delegates isn’t much better than strange women in ponds distributing swords when it comes to picking a candidate for President.

It’s not like that’s a big secret. But it’s nice to see it said out in the open like that.