The disaster that was the Iowa primary caucus could be foreshadowing what’s to come this election cycle.
As the Democrats move closer to choosing their candidate, it’s impossible to overlook the similarities between this year and 2016 when Hillary Clinton ran for office. Clinton was painted as an evil villain backed by an unimaginably corrupt political party. This year, history looks likely to repeat itself.
The Iowa caucus was marred by glitches in the app tasked with reporting the results of each precinct. That meant the results from the vote weren’t clear until nearly a full day later. Still, one person was clear on who had emerged victorious— Pete Buttigieg, the winner himself.
Buttigieg announced his perceived victory on Monday night saying,
What a night. Because tonight, an improbable hope became an undeniable reality.
Buttigieg’s certainty over the results was called in to question as the rest of the candidates and the public continued to wait for the official data. Buttigieg said his campaign’s internal data showed that he had a clear lead over the rest of the pack. That’s an interesting assumption when you consider that he only narrowly defeated Bernie Sanders when all was said and done.
A deeper dive into what exactly happened in Iowa sheds some light on Buttigieg’s apparent ability to see the future. This year the caucus results were tallied by an app created by Shadow Inc. Shadow is a tech firm that designs apps to support progressive political campaigns.
Both Joe Biden and Buttigieg have been using the app to ask for campaign donations and text potential voters. Notably, Biden’s campaign stopped using Shadow months ago because,
Our IT team expressed security concerns about it, and it ultimately did not pass our cybersecurity checklist, so we declined to use it again.
Shadow is run by Gerard Niemira, who was director of product for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign. After that, Niemira went on to become COO at Acronym— the firm that ultimately acquired Shadow. Of course, the disastrous caucus results have pushed Acronym to distance itself from Shadow. But just last year Acronym claimed to have “launched” Shadow. Acronym CEO Tara McGowan’s tweets about Shadow over the past year also indicate a much closer link to the app developer.
What’s more, Ms. McGowan is married to a senior Buttigieg aide— a fact that Twitter users latched onto in the wake of the botched caucus.
Perhaps the most damaging part of the whole ordeal is that Buttigieg edged out Bernie Sanders— who was targeted by establishment Democrats back in 2016 when he contested Hillary Clinton. Sanders has never been, and probably will never be the establishment’s pick as a candidate. In 2016 the party’s insistence on promoting Clinton over Sanders may have cost them the election, and yet here we are again.
The Intercept reported that someone close to Acronym shared communications showing that top officials from Acronym “regularly expressed hostility to Sen. Bernie Sanders’ supporters.” The app itself was reportedly never tested in a real-wold election and was only considered for use in the weeks leading up to the vote.
It’s important to note that the issue delaying the Iowa caucus’ results was reportedly a coding error. So far, there’s been no indication that the final results were incorrect because of the coding mistake. But that probably won’t matter as the election moves forward.
If Buttigieg does become the Democrats’ candidate, people will remember the links between Buttigieg’s campaign and Iowa flub. They’ll remember that Buttigieg knew he won while the rest of the world waited for results. Donald Trump will use this ordeal as proof that Buttigieg and his company are another gang of corrupt, deceitful liars.
A huge percentage of Democrat voters will probably believe Trump even though they hate him. For the second time in a row, hoards of Sanders supporters will be forced to get behind the kind of person they’ve been rallying against. And just like that, 2020 will play out in exactly the same way that 2020 did— with doubt, disillusion, mistrust and a little bit of strategy handing Donald Trump another presidency.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of CCN.com.