Perhaps this isn’t a bad thing if communism isn’t your bag, but, from an intra-party unity standpoint, what’s happening to Bernie Sanders is really bad news for the Democrat party in 2020.
Let’s recap how things have gone in Iowa and then we’ll get to why this all matters.
First, CNN pulled the Des Moines Register “gold standard” poll the day before the vote based on the word of a single Pete Buttigieg supporter. That poll is famous for catapulting whoever is leading to victory by driving turnout and demoralizing the voters of one’s opponent. To cancel the entire poll based on a single complaint by a rival party that Buttigieg’s name wasn’t given is nuts and never made any sense. Well, at least until the results were leaked and it showed Bernie Sanders was leading.
Then the caucus itself happened and it was a total mess. From results not being reported (we still, three days later, do not have all the votes in), to sketchy “coin flips,” to Bernie winning the most votes but Buttigieg gaining the most delegates, there’s no question it was an unmitigated disaster.
Had the vote totals been released normally, Bernie would have been able to declare victory and move on. Instead, the IDP released only 62% and sat on it for over a day. Those results showed DNC favorite Buttigieg leading, allowing him to claim victory before New Hampshire.
Before that drop happened, I wrote this on Twitter.
How much you want to bet this “release 50% of the results tonight” thing in Iowa is gonna show Buttigieg leading so he can claim victory (again) while Sanders actually ends up winning the state later. And it’s gonna lead to more pandemonium.
— Bonchie (@bonchieredstate) February 4, 2020
Is that what happened? It sure looks like it.
As I write this, 97% of the vote is now in for Iowa and not only is Bernie solidly leading the total vote, he’s poised to take the delegate lead as well because the outstanding precincts favor him.
All the Dem media outlets already said Lil Pete won
— Jim Hanson (@JimHansonDC) February 6, 2020
That means Bernie was not only robbed of the victory momentum out of Iowa, the IDP and DNC actively sandbagged him by releasing partial results that let Buttigieg take a victory lap for most of the week.
Even funnier, now that Bernie looks to have won, the DNC Chair suddenly wants to throw the results out.
Enough is enough. In light of the problems that have emerged in the implementation of the delegate selection plan and in order to assure public confidence in the results, I am calling on the Iowa Democratic Party to immediately begin a recanvass.
— Tom Perez (@TomPerez) February 6, 2020
Here’s a meme that perfectly encapsulates this.
— Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) February 6, 2020
Was there coordination between the Buttigieg campaign and Democrat leadership on making this latest announcement to question the results? Again, it sure looks like it.
NEWS: Buttigieg campaign had a call w/ IDP this morning + raised concerns about how the party was allocating SDEs from satellite caucuses. Campaign believes the party has not followed rules set out by the delegate selection plan, and Bernie got more SDEs. https://t.co/deRCGR7eXt
— Tyler Pager (@tylerpager) February 6, 2020
None of this is good for the Democrats trying to unify going into the 2020 election. Bernie Sanders supports are fiercely loyal. After 2016, some 10% of them ended up voting for Donald Trump after the DNC went to bat for Hillary Clinton. Many more stayed home and didn’t vote at all.
Buttigieg’s machinations have left a dirty taste in their mouths and I don’t think it’s going to get washed out anytime soon. On the other hand, if Bernie ends up being the nominee, you are going to see widespread opposition to him from within his own party. There are still a sizable amount of Democrats who like capitalism and don’t want a socialist republic.
One thing is for sure: this current civil war helps the Republican cause. So it can continue for a long time yet, as far as I’m concerned.