About that Iowa caucus . . .

You: Can you believe what happened in Iowa?

Me: A bunch of people voted in the Democratic caucus. That’s what was supposed to happen.

You: No. I mean that epic screwup with the app so we still don’t know who won.

Me: Doesn’t matter.

You: Doesn’t matter? Be serious. This is a total disaster.

Me: Actually, it’s not. A relatively small number of people in a small state were supposed to register their votes for the Democratic nomination. They did. And we’ll get to hear the full count in a day or two. The only thing that didn’t happen as planned is that we don’t know the final numbers yet. And that doesn’t matter.

You: Sure it matters! We need to know who won. And we need to know it the very same night.

Me: Why?

You: Because that tells us how the candidates did relative to expectations.

Me: Is that going to change your vote?

You: Of course!

Me: Let me get this straight. You are picking a candidate because you like them. You like their character. You like their policies. And then you need to know who won? Who won doesn’t change who is the best candidate — or at least it shouldn’t. All the candidates who were viable before are still viable. So knowing who won and lost and did better versus expectations should make no difference to you.

You: We have a right to know the outcome. The news cycle depends on it.

Me: The news cycle can go hang itself. It is indeed pathetic that all those fancy zooming colored maps on TV and the quivering needle on the New York Times site were useless and bereft of data. I’m sure it was awkward for the 24-hour talking heads to have no numbers to endlessly analyze, but that’s not a real problem for the country. The problem is to nominate the best person. And that hasn’t changed based on a delay of a few days. The only wounded thing is your sense of entitlement to instant answers.

You: Now you’re being mean and unfair.

Me: Keep reading your feed. Don’t worry, the news will show up there when it’s available, and then you’ll feel the sense of completion you’re craving.

You: But this does say something about democrats and incompetence. They screwed up badly with this app.

Me: Sure, the people who created the app did a piss-poor job. It was terrible judgment to hire them, and the whole process was designed badly. This does indeed show that the Iowa Democratic Party is technologically incompetent. But the Iowa Democratic Party is not running for president, and it’s not running any other primaries. Let’s make a deal here. I won’t nominate the incompetent Iowa democrats for CIO of the Federal Government, and you won’t let a small set of incompetents stand in for the people who may actually get nominated to be part of the next administration. Okay?

You: I still say, the first caucus teaches us something about the candidates. Now we’ve been deprived of that information.

Me: No, that information was delayed. And as the returns slowly roll in, we are learning a bit. We have learned that among a small number of voters in a mostly white state, Pete Buttigieg did pretty well, Bernie Sanders did pretty well, and Elizabeth Warren did okay. Joe Biden did badly but he’s still popular in the rest of the country and there are 49 states left for him to make up for it. This small, midwestern, moderate state was made for Amy Klobuchar, and it doesn’t look like she got too many people excited. As for the rest of them, Andrew Yang and all, I don’t see many signs that they’re going to be presidential nominees. Not much of this is new information beyond what polls were indicating — except for Biden’s poor showing.

Now, think a minute. Having seen all that horse-racey stuff, are you going to vote any differently? If you were for Sanders, you still are. If you were for Warren, you still are. If you were for Biden or Buttigieg, you still are. You’ll get your chance to vote.

You: I still say this waiting around for days is not how it is supposed to be.

Me: Pavlov might have a few things to say about your reaction to election results.

You: But who is electable? Who is electable?

Me: I guess we’ll have to wait until we elect someone to find out. I’m willing to wait.

You can eat your marshmallow, now.

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  1. Very believable conversation, and the horse racey bit really gets under my skin as well. (As does the rushed and hack job of app development and testing…)

    Looking at your related posts, 4 years ago, same story (The Expectations Game is gibberish in the Iowa caucuses). We haven’t learned yet, eh? Seems to be even worse this time around.

    Keep mixing in these conversation-based posts – great way to cover a topic with a different flavor. You’ve inspired me to mix in similar styles in my content.

  2. “Me: Let me get this straight. You are picking a candidate because you like them. You like their character. You like their policies.”
    Actually, only Sanders supporters have told pollsters that “agree with his policies and views” mattered considerably. Supporters of the other candidates were more focused on electability.

    “Who won doesn’t change who is the best candidate — or at least it shouldn’t.”
    Again, many of believe that we can ill-afford to vote or the best (most qualified) candidate. It’s about who can beat Trump.

  3. Thank you for this. As an outsider watching this process, I find it seems much more drawn-out and complicated than it needs to be! The news pundits were going on as if someone had attacked democracy.

  4. I agree with most all of your points, but rather than getting final results in a day or so, because it was so close between first and second, and all the inconsistencies, I think we may never know. (But because it’s so close, I suspect it also makes no difference, as each of the top two will likely get the same number of delegates. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/06/upshot/iowa-caucuses-errors-results.html?fbclid=IwAR315q8NxHG-i7j7Xc9G1Gtsk4eQNRu2tqWZ3ndRmicVtXiyVjmcbZnOAj0