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Iowa Caucuses: Trouble in River City!

Left JAB by John Bell

February 4, 2020

The Iowa Caucuses are a major disappointment - vote rigging and election tampering used to be a subtle art. Now in its unseemly haste to defeat Bernie Sanders, the best the Democratic establishment can do is thrash around for all to see, like a Kraken in a phone booth.

Iowa is the first hurdle in the race to pick a presidential candidate. Because it is first, and because Iowa is historically a swing state, the delegate selection process attracts an inordinate amount of attention. To make most of the spotlight, the Democratic Party has put on a slapstick display that would make the 3 Stooges blush.

And in the end, after a full 24 hours of backroom hustling, the “victory” has been bestowed on Mayor Peter Buttigieg. That judgement gave a majority of delegates to Buttigieg based on 62% of the results. Several independent polls show that Sanders won fewer delegates even where he won substantial majorities of the popular vote.

Officials blame the failure of a new vote counting app. Activists on the ground point in a more sinister direction–the Democratic National Committee and party establishment is in full freak out mode and desperate to stop the front runner, Democratic Socialist Bernie Sanders.

In broad strokes, even without the final “official” count, we know four things.

1.    Bernie Sanders won. The shenanigans may rob the number of delegates he can claim come the convention, but his army of grassroots activists will only be spurred on to win in New Hampshire and beyond.

2.    Pete Buttigieg is shaping up to be the establishment favourite to stop Bernie. There is little doubt he came a strong second, even if it appears the adjusted results are inflating his results. It is telling that on twitter #MayorPete is being replaced by #MayorCheat.

3.    Elizabeth Warren’s two-faced campaign–appearing “progressive” to take support away from Sanders on the left, while reassuring the corporate establishment on the right–is a failure. 

4.    Former Vice President Joe Biden is the big loser. He aimed for “elder statesman” and only hit “creepy old dude”. He’ll go on poking men in the chest and sniffing women’s hair for a round or two, but there’s blood in the water and his opponents smell it.

What we do in the Shadow Inc.

The app that “failed” was designed by Shadow Inc., a for-profit company with connections to the DNC establishment. Shadow also had individual contracts to provide communications and strategic services to both the Biden and Buttigieg campaigns in Iowa.

According to media reports, Shadow Inc. was founded by “veterans of the Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama campaigns”, and headed by former Clinton digital organizer Gerard Niemara. 

Democrats: democracy need not apply

DNC defenders say: “The blame lies with Shadow.”

Best case scenario pundits say: “There is no conspiracy here. It’s just incompetence.” Isn’t that reassuring.

But the dirty tricks and shenanigans aimed at hobbling the Sanders campaign have been going on ever since he began rising in the polls.

And Sanders rises in the polls because he proudly endorses a democratic socialist platform, resting on calls for universal healthcare, free education, and a modest redistribution of wealth through progressive taxation. There are many weaknesses and inconsistencies in his politics–his record on US imperialism is equivocal at best–but just espousing “socialism” at a time when capitalism’s cracks are showing is send waves of existential dread throughout the US ruling class.

Mainstream media reporting of the Sanders campaign has fallen into two categories: either negative, verging on slanderous; or ignoring him in hopes he would just fade away, the so-called “Bernie blackout”.

Leading up to the Iowa Caucus, the Washington Postran 16 separate articles–all negative–in one 16-hour period.

The DNC establishment would love to do to Sanders what the British Tories did to Jeremy Corbyn–slander him as an anti-Semite. Because he is Jewish, that is a non-starter. Attempts to portray him as a misogynist have so far failed, apart from the centrist faithful who maintain Hillary Clinton as a feminist icon.

Clinton sits on the sidelines uttering thinly veiled threats at Sanders, refusing to commit to supporting him should he win the nomination. And when Sanders supporters boo Clinton’s name the hue and cry goes up.

We can expect all these tactics, and worse to dog Sanders’ campaign. There is no doubt that the DNC would rather let Trump win a second term than allow a Sanders victory. 

All this could spell the de facto end of the Democratic Party. After last time, Sanders and supporters refused the call to split and form a serious third party free of the corruption of the DNC and its corporate masters. Bernie dutifully campaigned on behalf of Clinton and has played the good soldier ever since. To do so again would be a fatal mistake.

If Sanders loses the nomination it will be because of cheating and dirty tricks that will prove once and for all that the Democratic Party is unworthy of the name, and can never be a vehicle on an electoral road to socialism. (Whether or not such a road even exists is a debate for another article.)

If by some miracle Sanders wins the nomination the DNC will quit him, proving the same point.

Either way, the chickens are coming home to roost. And as Malcolm X observed, “Being a country boy, seeing the chickens come home to roost never did make me sad.”


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