They always telegraph the punch! In 2016, Russian trolls flooded social media with shitposts meant to divide Democrats and depress turnout. Remember when your Facebook feed filled up with people screaming at each other about the fucking coin toss at the Iowa caucuses? Do you want to do that again? Because we do not!

But you'll never guess who's just licking his orange chops at the prospect of Democratic infighting.

That's right, the election is HASHTAG RIGGED because Democrats tricked poor, hapless Mitch McConnell into scheduling the Senate impeachment trial two weeks before the Iowa caucus. Crazy Nancy is just trying to keep Bernie Sanders off the campaign trail to protect Joe Biden. If only she'd been clever enough to gin up an impeachment scandal that didn't involve corruption allegations against her preferred nominee. No wonder she gets so Nervous!

In one sense, Trump is actually right. It does hurt Senators Sanders, Warren, Klobuchar, and Bennet (cough) to be off the campaign trail for the duration of the impeachment hearings. As Matt Bennett, a veteran Democratic strategist, told WBUR, "Because somebody like Warren is good at doing these retail events, anything keeping her from doing them is harmful." That 1,000-person selfie-line is particularly important in Iowa.

Which is exactly why the president's good buddy Sen. Kevin Cramer has been joking for months about stranding Democrats in DC during impeachment: "We talk about those things and kind of snicker about it, I suppose: the possibility of it playing out that way, where we're literally in the middle of voting and senators would be stranded here for six days a week."

But locking the Democratic presidential candidates in the Senate chamber and forcing them to sit silently while Donald Trump's lawyers get two straight weeks of free airtime to call Joe Biden corrupt is unlikely to be to the former vice president's benefit. Particularly since Republicans are very hot to pull him off the campaign trail, too, and force him to testify as a witness.

So let's be smart. This is 2020, not 2016, and we really can't afford to fall for these stupid trolls again. The media is already hyping the Iowa caucus rules change as if dissension is inevitable. Politico reports:

Among the changes to the system is the addition of so-called "preference cards," in which each caucus-goer will fill in their name and the candidate they support. Candidates must win 15 percent support after an initial count to remain viable; if not, the candidate is eliminated. Supporters of eliminated candidates are allowed to flip over their preference cards and choose among the remaining hopefuls before a second, and final, raw vote count. After that, the totals will be calculated and delegates apportioned.

In previous caucus years, only the delegate counts at the end were provided to the media. But this year, Democrats will also be providing the before-and-after raw vote totals, too. The party is expected to release results of each count at the same time.

"This is going to be our most transparent caucus that we ever put out because of the paper trail," Iowa Democratic Party Chair Troy Price said.

If there's a repeat of 2016 — when Clinton won 49.8 percent of so-called state delegate equivalents, compared to Sanders' 49.6 percent — the battle between the candidates to project themselves as the victor could be ugly.

Yes, the temptation to throw up our hands and shout WHYYYYYYYY???? is strong. Particularly for those of us who live in a normal states where we just cast a ballot, without all the candidates having to squeeze into a phone booth and whack the crap out of each other, or however caucuses go. But you must resist, no matter who your candidate is. Because if you don't, the terrorists win. Or more precisely, Donald Trump and his posse of Russian trolls and Fox goons win.

Which is functionally the same thing! So no fighting, please and thank you.

[WBUR / Politico]

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Liz Dye

Liz Dye lives in Baltimore with her wonderful husband and a houseful of teenagers. When she isn't being mad about a thing on the internet, she's hiding in plain sight in the carpool line. She's the one wearing yoga pants glaring at her phone.


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