The recent Democratic Iowa caucus truly showcased America’s identity crisis.
For the past few years, it has become clear that party lines are realigning and rearranging, factioning themselves and redefining their boundaries to either limit their platforms, or generalize them to accommodate newcomers.
This process of political redefinition can be interpreted as healthy; ours is a changing world, and as the leading global superpower, it is the duty of the United States to provide an example to both the industrialized and developing world in political theory, civil rights and general welfare.
That being said, the molting of a nation’s political ideology is comparable to that of a reptile’s skin—it may be healthy, but it is certainly not pretty.
The lack of professionalism and sheer incompetence demonstrated by the Democratic Party on Feb. 3 contributed heavily to this lack of aesthetic, which in turn made the United States as a whole look bad (or even worse, depending on which side of the political spectrum you’re on) to the rest of the international community.
The Democratic caucuses for Iowa were held in three international locations, 25 out of state locations, and the remaining caucuses were held throughout the state of Iowa.
The first caucus meeting was held in Glasgow, Scotland—over 6,000 miles away from Des Moines and eight hours ahead of the in-state Iowa caucus. Another was held in Tbilisi, the capital of the Republic of Georgia, and the last international “satellite caucus” was held in Paris.
Satellite caucuses were introduced this year to promote accessibility for those who can’t participate in the originally designated areas—many people travel abroad or winter in other places across the country.
Additionally, much to the organizer’s credit, several caucuses were held in American sign language and Spanish, allowing as many people as possible to be included.
However, the caucuses, as inclusive and modern as they were, proved an embarrassment to the Democratic Party and the American people.
The caucus failed on a couple of fronts, but the main failure was the quality control checks for results of each precinct. Internal inconsistency turned up in over 100 precincts, as well as missing information and results that were physically impossible.
These kinds of mistakes are absurd, and the inability of the Iowa Democrats to deliver direct and clear results in a timely manner exhibits their molting process.
The Democratic Party is undergoing an identity crisis: the more modern, far-left wing of the party is beginning to demand more recognition from the moderates, and the moderates are resisting the change of power.
The tornado created by the clash of the old Democratic Party versus the new Democratic Party can be clearly seen in the employment of a brand new voting app the Iowans were supposed to use (having never been tested, with a development cost of around $60,000), which had a coding error in its reporting function, providing only partial data wherever it was used.
Another reason may be that the moderates and the far-lefters simply did not cooperate, causing miscommunications and arguments resulting in incorrect tallies and chaos.
Additionally, the remarkable final surge in favor of Sanders in Iowa presented the chance for his supporters to suggest some sort of foul play at work, with far-lefters raising their eyebrows at moderates tallying votes in the backrooms.
To top it all off, younger, inexperienced far-left supporters insisted on helping tally the votes and were given the work no one wanted to do. Busy work would include copying results into the master spreadsheets, and results in several precincts ended up in the wrong columns.
With all these issues potentially at play, it’s no wonder the Iowa caucus crashed and burned—they bit off more than they could chew with their reinvention of the process, and anything that could go wrong certainly did.
But what does this mean for the United States as a whole?
What we can learn from the Iowa caucus is this: when in doubt, roll with what you know.
Iowa Democrats should have done it the old-fashioned way; people come in, they vote and that’s that. No technology, no gimmicks, nothing to argue about.
Ultimately, when things cleared up, Pete Buttigieg won, but by an extraordinarily small margin over Sanders.
The split in the Democratic Party appears to be right down the middle, and as the election progresses and President Trump’s approval rating remains at 49%, according to Gallup, the political divide between left and right seems to be in the exact same spot.