By Maggie Connolly ’21
Last week, Democrats and Republicans alike across the nation put themselves to bed unsure of who had clinched the victory in the first democratic primary of 2020. The much-anticipated Iowa caucus had a glitch in the system, and no one really knows what to make of it.
The caucus used a new app, developed by Shadow Inc., a newer company headed by people who worked on the Clinton campaign in 2016. According to the New York Times, their previous work was, “Marked by a string of failures, including a near bankruptcy.”
The app was also not used with the greatest confidence. According to a CNN piece released reporting on what happened the night of the caucus, some precinct captains realized a few days before the caucus that the app wasn’t working correctly. Likewise, people were complaining to their county party leadership. There was a general consensus of slight fear or worries about the app’s success in counting the votes.
The Democrats pushed to use the app for many reasons. Partially, I think they wanted to make voting easier, but there was also a push to digitize the process more and gain a media presence that the Republican Party and the Trump campaign seem to have a monopoly of sorts on.
To the best of our knowledge, it looks like, despite all errors and mishaps, former Mayor of South Bend, Indiana, Pete Buttigieg, has won Iowa. He leads the race with 14 national delegates, Senator Bernie Sanders following him with 12 delegates. Both candidates have since called for a recanvass of certain areas in Iowa. Although it may not change the results, as quoted in a piece by POLITICO, Sanders said that a recanvass is a, “Necessary part of making sure Iowans can trust the final results of the caucus.”
So, what does this all mean? A flop of a new app (such a flop that Nevada, another early state that caucuses, is no longer going to use the application to calculate results) and an underdog victory? I mean, I sure didn’t think Mayor Pete was going to come out on top.
In many polls, Buttigieg was headed for a solid third place. For months, he has been ridiculed for not reaching the black vote, not having enough experience in national politics, and taking donations from billionaires. Wine cellar anyone? These are just a few of the many qualms’ voters, especially young voters, have with Buttigieg and his campaign for president.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m just as critical of Pete as many other young voters are. Maybe I have a little bit of a soft spot for him because he’s a Hoosier (that means Indiana-native for all of you New Englanders out there) or maybe it’s because my middle-aged, white mother has brainwashed me with her Pete obsession, but there is, unarguably, a spark there.
For so long, people have been talking about Biden’s electability. He has the name-recognition, minority voters, and a moderate platform. But maybe we should’ve been talking about another more moderate candidate’s electability.
Granted, Iowa isn’t the most credible source. As I said in my article last week, the state is not a proper representation of the nation or Democrats. Pete does have a good reputation with the Iowa demographic, so maybe these Iowa results mean nothing. Maybe Sanders and Biden are, in fact, the two front-runners for the campaign. Maybe the two old, white men are going to battle for the oval office… again. Yawn.
Besides, how much faith will people have in a candidate who won with possibly faulty results? Is this win a real win for Pete, or just a slight confidence booster in an ultimately doomed campaign? I don’t have all the answers, but I do have a feeling Mayor Pete is going to keep defying the odds, regardless if it’s on the campaign trail or elsewhere.