Of Caucuses, Conspiracies, and Kremlin Communications

Yesterday on my personal Facebook page I made the case for why Iowa should be ignored. Things have changed.

The results should be, but the process should not be.

The Iowa caucus is an overly complex process which can easily result in skewed results as people literally shift their positions over the course of the night. The process is done entirely out in the open but reporting of the details in the past has been lacking. This year they attempted to solve that by submitting the results of EVERY iteration of the caucus process instead of the end result.

This meant the state party was collecting a far larger amount of data than in past years. The process for collecting that data didn’t work. That’s all that went wrong. Every single vote was recorded on paper and will be tallied. We simply didn’t have the results as fast as we normally do or as fast as the news outlets demanded.

Here is why this matters going forward:

In 2016, some Sanders supporters claimed the process was rigged against them. It was not. But two camps picked up on this and hammered it to sow division in the Democratic Party – Donald Trump and Russia.

Last night they did it again. Eric Trump, Donald Trump Jr, and Trump’s campaign manager all said the delay was because the Democrats were fraudulently interfering in the tallies. This was a baseless lie. This is EXACTLY the sort of thing Putin’s psyops experts are going to amplify and exasperate.

Misinformation flooded Twitter. People said Pete Buttigieg had invested with the company that made the reporting app. That isn’t true. People brought up issues involving the actual voting process. There weren’t any.

Russia and Donald Trump have been given the green light that anything goes in this election. Be smart. Be skeptical. Be patient.

In an event like last night, we aren’t going to have all the initial information immediately. Those claiming to are likely either trying to mislead you or have been misled themselves.

Trump and Putin both want the left at each other’s throats. Policy debates can and should happen, but don’t give in to the propaganda.

The stakes are too high.


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