Ricochet is the best place on the internet to discuss the issues of the day, either through commenting on posts or writing your own for our active and dynamic community in a fully moderated environment. In addition, the Ricochet Audio Network offers over 50 original podcasts with new episodes released every day.
The spin on the fiasco has been the failure of the reporting app. (H/T to El Rushbo* for naming the peculiar institution of the four-letter word in the middle of the map.) The app was a failure, but it did not create the catastrophe. After all, the data could have been gathered by such sophisticated tools as motel giveaway ballpoint pens and cocktail napkins. No, the failure ran much deeper than that. Consider the following from AP:
… numerous precincts reported results that contained errors or were inconsistent with party rules.
For example, the AP confirmed that dozens of precincts reported more final-alignment votes than first-alignment votes, which is not possible under party rules. In other precincts, viable candidates lost votes from the first-alignment tally to the final, which is also inconsistent with party rules.
Some precincts made apparent errors in awarding state delegate equivalents to candidates. A handful of precincts awarded more state delegate equivalents than they had available. A few others didn’t award all of theirs.
“DNC chairman seeks recanvass of Iowa voting” by Steve Peoples, Julie Pace and Brian Slodysko of The Associated Press in The Columbus Dispatch for Friday February 7, 2020
The point here is that the problem was not the app. It was the rules for running the caucuses.
They were too complicated. and could only be administered by highly trained and practiced administrators. The unpaid amateurs who actually ran the system could not execute the rules without catastrophic unrecoverable errors.
Simply recovering the data is not going to solve the problem. Iowa has 99 counties and a couple of non-county based caucuses. On Monday, Iowa had caucuses under 110 different sets of rules.** The numbers produced by those caucuses are as different as apples and oranges. They cannot be added up to produce a final total.
The inputs are garbage and the outputs must therefore be garbage.
Oh yeah, and the Democrat party has no one to blame other than itself.
*We love him and pray for his good health.
**The wonderful 1957 musical “The Music Man” was set in the mythical River City, Iowa. Its signature song was: “76 Trombones.”
Seventy six trombones led the big parade
With a hundred and ten cornets close at hand.
Note added a day later:
When the New York Times agrees with me, something that happens less frequently than the return of Halley’s Comet, you know the Democrats are in trouble — deep.
What follows is a quote from a major NYTimes article that just appeared n the topic of the Cyclone state’s fiasco:
How the Iowa Caucuses Became an Epic Fiasco for Democrats: The problems that beset the Democratic Party’s first state caucus of the presidential race ran far deeper and wider than one bad app. By Reid J. Epstein, Sydney Ember, Trip Gabriel and at NYTimes.com on Feb. 9, 2020
DES MOINES — The first signs of trouble came early. As the smartphone app for reporting the results of the Iowa Democratic caucuses began failing last Monday night, party officials instructed precinct leaders to move to Plan B: calling the results into caucus headquarters, where dozens of volunteers would enter the figures into a secure system.
But when many of those volunteers tried to log on to their computers, they made an unsettling discovery. They needed smartphones to retrieve a code, but they had been told not to bring their phones into the “boiler room” in Des Moines. …
Until now, the main public villain in the Iowa caucus fiasco has been the reporting app, created by a company called Shadow Inc., along with a “coding issue” in a back-end results reporting system that state party officials blamed for the chaos. But the crackup resulted from cascading failures going back months. …An analysis by The New York Times revealed inconsistencies in the reported data for at least one in six of the state’s precincts. Those errors occurred at every stage of the tabulation process: in recording votes, in calculating and awarding delegates, and in entering the data into the state party’s database. Hundreds of state delegate equivalents, the metric the party uses to determine delegates for the national convention, were at stake in these precincts. …
In the Times review of the data, at least 10 percent of precincts appeared to have improperly allocated their delegates, based on reported vote totals. In some cases, precincts awarded more delegates than they had to give; in others, they awarded fewer. More than two dozen precincts appeared to give delegates to candidates who did not qualify as viable under the caucus rules.
I need a gif of an NFL player spiking the ball.Published in