Pre-election victories, pre-election scandals

By Florian Kirner.

The election dances of the US Democrats have begun with a befitting opening: with a major scandal.

As a result, journalists and spectators sat around pointlessly for hours last week waiting for the results from Iowa. First 1% was counted, then it was 2% … and then the counting stopped and in fact the result from Iowa remains shrouded in a cloud of doubt to this day.

What had happened? Well, the Iowa vote is a very complicated process anyway. Voters meet in gymnasiums and multipurpose halls and form groups according to the candidates they support. Then, there is discussion and debate between these groups and finally a first round of voting takes place. The candidates who remain below 15% are eliminated. Among the remaining candidates there is a second ballot, again preceded by discussions. The whole thing takes hours and could in itself be a pretty impressive example of active grassroots democracy – but it is not.

Because the process is loaded with absurd regulations and inscrutability. In some constituencies, for example, when the votes are tied, the delegates are decided in all seriousness by tossing a coin to whom they go. In 2016, Hillary Clinton won 6 out of 6 of these coin tosses against Bernie Sanders – a result that makes a mockery of all probability.

In 2020, we have a video of such a coin toss, which makes the cheating completely obvious. This time Sanders lost against Pete Buttegieg, former mayor of South Bend, Indiana and darling of the media and Silicon Valley.

This Buttegieg was now also the pivot of this time’s Iowa scandal. Bernie had started the race as favourite, but when the results failed to come in for hours, Pete Buttegieg went on the offensive in the midst of this confusion. He declared himself the winner of the primary in front of his equally surprised and enthusiastic supporters. Meanwhile, the count remained stuck at 2%.

It remained hanging there the next day. In fact, there had been an election evening without results. As we learned now, this was due to an app that the Democrats in Iowa had used for the first time to transmit the results to the headquarters.

That in itself is worth considering. Pen, paper and ballot box have proven themselves over three centuries to make elections reasonably forgery-proof. All technical innovations, such as the notorious “voting machines” in the USA, have repeatedly proved susceptible to errors and manipulation.

Well, there is this ominous voting app. One immediately felt much better when it was announced that the company behind this app is called “Shadow”. And that Shadow is linked to the company Acronym, which was founded by veterans of the Clinton campaign. The fact that there had been donations to Shadow from Pete Buttegieg and Joe Biden’s campaign environment finally made it clear: everything is going fine here, please keep moving, everything is fine.

So two days after the election, the Democratic leadership in Iowa announced that they would finally announce the results. They did, but only 62% of the results. At this point, Buttegieg was just ahead of Sanders. It took another two days before 97% were published and Sanders had almost caught up. And when it finally came out that Sanders was 6000 votes ahead, the media had long since shifted other issues to the forefront with Trump’s State of the Union address.

Corruption? Incompetence? Both?

What’s clear is that this whole maneuver was designed to deprive Sanders of what the primary in the small state of Iowa, with only 42 delegates, is really about: the massive wave of attention and the surge in popularity that victory in this first primary typically brings.

This time Pete Buttegieg had picked up that boost. After his manoeuvre on election night, he shot up 9% in the polls for the second primary state, New Hampshire. And just as Pete Buttegieg has already received campaign contributions from more than 40 individual billionaires, the will to stop the socialist Sanders through this former small-town mayor is also huge in the corporate media.

Did it work? No. In regard to the New Hampshire primary I stayed up all night again. And there are even results. Bernie Sanders has just been declared the winner. Buttegieg came in second just behind him, but he’s gonna have a tough time in the next few states, Nevada and South Carolina. …because he is hopelessly outnumbered by non-white voters.

In third place came Senator Amy Klobuchar. A disappointing fourth place went to Elisabeth Warren, who had started as a progressive and tried more and more to move to the old Clinton-Obama center of the party – to her own disadvantage.

Brutally crashed down to fifth place, with just 8% is former vice president Joe Biden, who had already landed in a disastrous fourth place in Iowa as well. Their candidacy officially ended with the chanceless and colorless Michael Bennett, as well as Andrew Yang, whose campaign was the first to make the idea of an unconditional basic income attractive to a mass audience in the USA.

Bernie Sanders is now also in the leading position nationwide – but soon the multi-billionaire Michael Bloomberg, who started the race late, will be waiting for him. Angry attacks by the media and manipulation of the democratic party machine can still be expected across the country.


Thanks to the author for the right to publish.


Picture reference: Marian Weyo / shutterstock


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