ForumTouchy Subjects ► Democratic Primary 2020
With the Iowa caucuses upon us today, I realized that we didn't yet have a thread for discussing the Democratic Party primary and the candidates.

To get things started: Any predictions for how things will shake out tonight? It's certainly been a close race so far.
  
Michael Bloomberg has what it takes to take on Trump in the general election and get this country back on track.

Paid for by Michael Bloomberg.
  
I like Pete Buttigieg. That is all.
  
My guess for tonight is that there's a large turnout and so Sanders and Yang outperform polling numbers, although I'm not sure whether that means Yang actually winds up with some delegates or not. Either way, I think it seems like Bernie will come out on top. Of course, really anything's possible.
  
If Democrats in Iowa really wanted to have an impact, they would have all registered as Republicans and caucused for Bill Weld or Joe Walsh. Now THAT would have been fun.
  
Well, one thing I wasn't expecting is for the Iowa results not to be released because a phone app developed by a company called SHADOW and funded by Buttigieg broke.

Edit: I see now that multiple campaigns funded it.
  
Can somebody explain to me all the anti-Buttigieg sentiment surrounding this? I see it in the original text above, it's all over the left, there's a million conspiracy theories about it, especially from Sanders supporters, but I don't really see any cause for the criticisms -- Buttigieg didn't mess the count up.
  
No telling. I'm sure some people just don't like him as a politician or a person, or just like to complain for some other reason.

I don't really see a sound reason to judge him on this, though. Most people I've seen discussing this, especially in YouTube comments, are just talking about how Jeffrey Epstein is somehow tied to this now and is in cahoots with Buttigieg, which tells you all you need to know about the kind of people that say this.
  
I think the big reason is that people connected him (rightly or wrongly) to the Des Moines poll not being released, on account of it being a Buttigieg supporter who initially raised questions about him being left off the poll. We got it in our heads that if the poll wasn't coming out, it must be because The Establishment didn't like what it had to say (the error as explained should have had little statistical impact on results).

So fast forward to Tuesday, we're still sore about that but hoping to be vindicated by the caucus results, but they keep getting more and more delayed without info. DNC said they had to do "quality control" which got interpreted as "rig the results," and then when speech time came, Buttigieg was giving what sounded like a victory speech, like he already knew the outcome. Now, in hindsight this is because he had his own internal numbers that looked good, but at the time it gave an easy target for "who are they rigging the result for."

Even now at the partial release, I'm still suspicious of them. I believe that the numbers will eventually be accurate when released, but it's very easy to pick and choose certain precincts to give one candidate an apparent bump in the news cycles. As you can tell, I'm a Bernie supporter and I hope that the numbers change in his favor with the full results.
  
Buttigieg did give a victory speech of sorts, saying, "By all indications, we are going on to New Hampshire victorious."

Sanders, by contrast, declared victory by having his campaign release numbers with 70,000 votes missing collected by Sanders supporters, which directly put a competing narrative and data confusion into the ethos. So far, the numbers Sanders released do not appear to have been accurate (but it's too soon to be sure). Sanders also gave a speech basically declaring victory that night, just like Buttigieg.
  
That's fair, just answering your question.
  
Fwip said:
DNC said they had to do "quality control" which got interpreted as "rig the results"
"Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity."
  
The stupidity, as it is, keeps on increasing.
(if you're paywalled, try opening in an incognito tab).

The latest news is that DNC Chair Tom Perez has announced a "recanvass," after growing suspicious of the satellite caucuses (that overwhelmingly favor Sanders). This will apparently involve rechecking the math from each precinct (which I thought was what they were doing with "quality control" in the first place). This is probably good, because as the first link shows, there at least 100 precincts that appear to have obvious math or transcription errors in the final results.

I would also like to note that each time they've released more data, the percentage of SDEs allocated to Sanders grows. This may be coincidence, but the later the precinct is released, the more Bernie SDEs it (on average) has. A non-conspiratorial explanation is that the order of release is accidentally correlated with demographics or precinct size. The data now shows Sanders only 0.17 percentage points behind in SDEs, rather than the initially-reported 1.86 points - roughly one tenth the lead.

I don't wear my conspiracy tinfoil hat so tightly that I think that the DNC is likely to fudge the final numbers. But it is difficult for me not to see that the way they've managed this has been overwhelmingly beneficial to the Buttigieg campaign. It is also hard for me not to put that together with the fact that Sanders appears to be their least-favorite candidate. If not malice, the DNC seems to at least be unconcerned with their own bias. Perhaps this is fine and normal for a political party.
  
Is this like when the Republican Party didn't want Trump as nominee but he kept getting the numbers?
  
That seems like a fair comparison to me.
  
Fwip said:
The stupidity, as it is, keeps on increasingA non-conspiratorial explanation is that the order of release is accidentally correlated with demographics or precinct size.

It wasn't an accident or coincidence, this was an explicit part of Buttigieg's strategy.

Fwip said:
The data now shows Sanders only 0.17 percentage points behind in SDEs, rather than the initially-reported 1.86 points - roughly one tenth the lead.

The initial reporting was based on 63% of the vote. Shifts like this are not surprising. Sanders supporters asserting that it is still confounds me.

Fwip said:
I don't wear my conspiracy tinfoil hat so tightly that I think that the DNC is likely to fudge the final numbers.

On what grounds? It is important to note that the national DNC didn't mess this up. The Iowa DNC messed this up, and Iowans have messed up pretty much every non-incumbent caucus count in my lifetime (both parties). This is just a spectacular screwup.

Fwip said:
The way they've managed this has been overwhelmingly beneficial to the Buttigieg campaign.

Based on what? If Buttigieg didn't win, he's going to be brandished as a liar and a fraud. Based on no evidence, 20% of his party was rolling out conspiracy theories about him from the night of the caucus. If he did win, he isn't getting any substantive credit for it before New Hampshire. This has been devastating for the Buttigieg campaign in almost every circumstance (when compared to a clean vote). His likelihood to election has dropped by 538, and his ability to convert more progressive Warren or Biden supporters has been substantially damaged. This was the single most vital part of his long-tail strategy.

It's been great for Sanders. If Sanders won, he now is getting a surge of financial support on the premise of "the system is rigged." He is already a leading figure, so he just needs status quo to continue to have a strong shot at the nomination. This nonsense has been much better for Sanders than even a narrow win over Pete Buttigieg, let alone a potential narrow loss or tie.

Fwip said:
It is also hard for me not to put that together with the fact that Sanders appears to be their least-favorite candidate.

The persecution complex from Sanders supporters elected Trump in 2016 and it's likely to elect Trump in 2020.
  
I mean, the democratic party has waxed poetic to an endless degree about how Sanders supporters should suck it up and vote Democrat no matter how they seem while simultaneously calling Sanders unelectable and seriously considering Michael Bloomberg whenever the notion of a Sanders nomination is seriously raised. Sanders -- if anything -- has more support from the Trump supporter camp than a centrist democrat; he's almost more likely to take the now-all-important poor white vote than any plutocrat, established democrat or even "outsider" like Buttigieg.
  
I'm not saying don't support Sanders. I'm not saying he's a bad candidate. I'm saying the urgency and ease this specific group of supporters slips into conspiracy theories and all-or-nothing logic destroys enthusiasm and reduces voter turnout.

There's a reason Donald Trump is putting out narratives about the election being rigged against Bernie. It isn't a sense of fairness or patriotism, it isn't a kinship with Bernie and it isn't his devotion to truth. It's because pro-Sanders conspiracy theories improve Trump's chances and dampen Democratic turnout.

Jumping immediately to, "This is the national DNC rigging the system against Bernie" instead of "This is the ineptitude we've come to expect from an Iowa caucus" doesn't help Sanders and it doesn't help Democrats. It helps Trump.

Especially because this series of events has helped Biden the most and Sanders second most. It's probably been negative for Buttigieg, at best it's been break even. In a normal news cycle, tying for first in Iowa would have been a huge boost for Buttigieg. In this cycle, it's damaging.
  
Would normally edit but this is a divergence from previous post.

100% reporting now, Buttigieg still wins by SDE, the traditional method of framing Iowa winners.

Sanders released numbers the night of the vote implying he had over 58,000 votes and a 3% lead over the next closest competitor (overshooting by 25,000 votes). The narrative will still be that Buttigieg is untrustworthy and Sanders is saintly. Tell me again how great this was for Buttigieg.
  
It was very likely bad for Buttigieg. I don't have a stake in this being foreign, but much like Corbyn in the UK it seems like the media and establishment democrats (Labour in Corbyn's case) genuinely do have a strong anti-Sanders bias.

That doesn't validate conspiracy theories or make you wrong in saying that Sanders supporters are quick to villify the DNC, it's just an observation.
  
Grayseff said:
Sanders -- if anything -- has more support from the Trump supporter camp than a centrist democrat; he's almost more likely to take the now-all-important poor white vote than any plutocrat, established democrat or even "outsider" like Buttigieg.
I think this is an interesting point. Trump-supporters and Sanders-supporters are presented as some sort of Manichean dichotomy, but you're saying they could overlap.

It reminds me of the viral video where the Democrat votes for Buttigieg, then wants to change her vote when she finds out he's gay, citing the Bible. I thought homophobic Christians were Republican, what's she doing in the Democrats with opinions like that. I guess she's a poor conservative who prioritised her poorness over her conservativeness.
  
Most people who aren't big into politics don't seem to have politics that people who are would think of as internally consistent. Real people are messy and hold a variety of views that may seem to contradict each other.
  
I'm a Bernie Bro. As someone who tends to use tumblr a lot, I did get caught into the conspiracies a bit. Now, I'm just going to say that I'm glad Bernie won the popular vote in the first and final votes, I'm moving on, and I'm hopeful for the rest of it (looks like Bernie is leading in New Hampshire with 86% reporting). I'll also say that Butigieg getting the most delegates in Iowa seems to have benefited him, according to polling and how he's doing in New Hampshire. My guess is that a lot of neoliberal and undecided older voters didn't even hear any conspiracy talk and just saw how he was doing in Iowa. I'll probably believe tumblr conspiracies less if stuff comes out about New Hampshire. But I'll also say that Iowa is super white, and I predict things will probably only get better for Bernie in more diverse states.
  
Getting the most delegates in Iowa obviously helped Buttigieg, but the mess in Iowa did not. The mess took away from what would have been a very positive story for him. The same outcome would be much more significant without 2 weeks of confusion, plus a third of the voter base calling him a liar and spreading conspiracy theories about him.
  
Happy to be told where I'm going wrong, but I think Sanders will get the nomination. The mood of the electorate is populist. Sanders-supporters are pretty inflexible, and Buttigieg-supporters will have to admit that they prefer Sanders-populism over Trump-populism. The rest of the candidates should stop bothering now.
  
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