From Now On We Vote Like Normal People, Dammit!
More than 36 hours after the last precinct closed, we still have no idea who won the Iowa caucus. But we do know who the loser is, and it is CAUCUS. Democrats have now watched a slow-motion video of the political sausage-making, and we're ready for some clean-eating primaries, thank you very much.
Just look at this shit!
via New York Times
With 71 percent of precincts tabulated, Sanders got the most total votes in both the first and second alignment, he got a higher percentage of votes per precinct, and he's still losing to Buttigieg on the state delegate allocation. Warren's state delegate count is similarly downgraded from both her caucus tallies, while Buttigieg and Biden both got a bump. (Late breaking update! As this post was going up, it went up to 75 percent of precincts tabulated, and Buttigieg moved 0.1 percent further ahead.)
And it's no mystery how this happened. Delegates are allocated based on turnout in the 2016 presidential and 2018 gubernatorial elections, so GOTV in the urban precincts where Sanders is wildly popular translates to limited delegate gain overall. Rural precincts tend to have a greater differential between caucus and general election turnout, so the Iowa Democratic Party puts its thumb on the scale and weights those precincts as if they had a general election turnout for the caucus. Which means that Pete Buttigieg, who campaigned hard in the suburbs and rural areas, is getting a boost from all the phantom-caucus goers the party factors in.
You can think it's wildly irresponsible for the Biden campaign to further erode trust in the electoral process by pretending that the Iowa Democratic Party's numbers are not to be trusted, while simultaneously thinking that the way Iowa runs this process is crap. And that's before you get to the DNC delegate allocation.
There are 41 DNC delegates up for grabs. Joe Biden got 15 percent of the vote, but walks away with zero delegates. Warren beat him by almost three percent, which nets her five delegates. Sanders beats her by just seven percent, and gets eleven delegates. How does any of this make sense? Even though Iowa's 41 delegates make up just one percent of the DNC total, it still matters.
It's like Iowa set out to replicate the gross unfairness of the Electoral College, and succeeded wildly.
Democrats are united in opposition to Republican voter suppression. We sue to keep polling places open, to ensure an ample early voting period, to overturn voter ID laws, to enfranchise voters convicted of crimes, to mandate ballot access for disabled voters and non-English speakers, and to make sure our votes are counted in fair districts. FFS, we routinely get injunctions to keep individual polling sites open late if a machine malfunctions and it holds up the line. How are we, as Democrats, allowing our candidates to be selected in a process that does none of these things?
There are many compelling reasons that a small, white, rural state like Iowa, which is unlikely to contribute any electoral votes to November's Democratic nominee, should not be the first state in our presidential primary. But most of all, we should not allow our candidates to be selected in a fundamentally unfair, undemocratic process.
The caucus has to go.
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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.