The horizon is not so far as we can see, but as far as we can imagine

Iowa Caucuses: Incompetent or, *cough,* “Not Cheating?”

Since this is STILL going on, let’s lay out the basics.

Somehow, almost every “error” has worked against Bernie.

Buttigieg’s campaign gave the app company over $40k. The app company is called Shadow. Shadow’s parent company is called Acronym. Acronym’s CEO is Buttigieg’s advisor’s wife and also his communications director’s sister–in-law.

Now we have Perez, the chief of the DNC, saying there may have to be a re-do, just as the satellite caucuses, made up mostly of minorities and working class people, put Sanders over the top and give him the victory

When the errors are almost all against a single candidate, and never seem to benefit that same candidate, is it “coincidence” and “incompetence?”

Nor need we pretend that malign intention and incompetence are incompatible. As the old Bush, Jr. regime joke ran: “Evil or stupid? Why not both!”

The funny thing is, it’s hard to see Buttigieg’s path to the nomination, let alone the presidency. For all of this, *cough* not-cheating, he has no meaningful support in any other state. His only way through is by a brokered convention that throws the nomination to someone who isn’t likely to even be in the top three. If that was done, it would be rightly seen as a huge abnegation of democracy, and he would be crushed in the general.

So he’s not-cheating for what? He’s not even going to make #2 overall, which means he won’t be the presumptive nominee next time.

Now, of course, the Democratic operative class, of which everyone who’s been involved–whether incompetent, not-cheating, or both–is a member, is scared of Sanders. Not because they really don’t believe in his policies (though they don’t), but because, unlike Warren, the next most “left” candidate, all indications are he won’t hire them for his administration.

They make their living by being connected, and Sanders is going to cut them out. He’s actually an existential threat to their right to be incompetent, lose a lot, and still make tons of money.


Right, so that’s why it’s worth pulling out all the stops.

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Who Is More Competent? The Democrat Establishment or the Sanders Campaign?


Open Thread



    They’re competent at being incompetent, I’ll give them that. They’re also quite competent at maintaining the status quo amidst this avalanche of decay. So far. They govern by doing pretty much nothing. The Senate is deliberate for a reason. It’s deliberate, at least these days, to stifle any proposed progressive change that would alter the status quo.

    Here’s the weird thing I don’t get. If it’s cheating, and it seems to be, why not cheat for Biden and have him neck and neck with Bernie versus Buttigieg or have Biden win outright. I agree with you Ian that Buttigieg beyond Iowa is a no go. If it’s cheating, and it appears to be, why the hell Mayo Pete and not Biden? In the polls leading up to the Iowa caucuses, Bernie and Biden were neck and neck. Cheating on behalf of Biden versus Buttigieg would have made Biden the winner of the Iowa caucuses. Biden appears largely clueless amidst all of this. I don’t think he’s in the loop. Which is also odd.

  2. Tom R

    I keep meaning to respond because I keep disagreeing about Sanders being the best candidate, or at least the one who can beat Trump. I voted for Sanders in the 2016 Washington State caucus, but will not in the 2020 Washington primary (no more caucuses in WA). Ian, I think you know I value your commentary across North America where there are so few truly left views that are well articulated. I frequently forward or post your columns.

    BUT, I find the same kind of consistent persecution complex in the Sanders campaign that I do in the Trump administration. It’s ALWAYS someone else making it harder. There is precious little self-examination in the Sanders campaign.

    So why would people NOT want to vote for Bernie?
    1. Sanders is really old. Older than any candidate, if only a year beyond Biden and Bloomberg. And five years older than Trump who may already be cognitively slipping from his acute lack of sleep.
    2. Sanders just had a heart attack. Who takes his place if he keels over in the campaign or in the White House? FDR was in power for over twelve years. Do you really expect Sanders to last two terms, if actually elected?
    3. Sanders’ ideas don’t resonate in the very suburbs that swung the House to the Democrats in 2018 in some very red areas like Oklahoma and Texas. If you think “soccer moms” can be replaced by young voters or higher non-white turnout, please show me the data. I don’t see it, even when I’d like to. We need both soccer moms AND non-white turnout to beat Trump.
    4. His insistence on Medicare-for-All is an insistence on method instead of the goal, which is universal coverage. The Netherlands and Switzerland have full and better healthcare at half the price of the US by highly regulating the major insurance companies that provide coverage. They treat insurance companies like utilities by restricting their profit margins but providing lots of “customers.”A socialist Canadian or UK plan is a much harder sell in the US. In fact, two normally blue states — New Jersey and Connecticut — have many voters working in insurance and they could well refuse to vote for Sanders if all their jobs are lost to government.
    5. Sanders is generally and overly insistent. This may seem laudable but the most successful politicians shake and twist a lot of arms and forge various compromises to achieve their goals. They trade new bridges for votes, or keep an army base open. I don’t see Sanders as skilled at this or very willing to compromise. Winding down the American war machine will be a very delicate task and Sanders can’t do that by insistence alone. He has very few allies that progressive across Congress.

    On Iowa caucus night, Buttigieg did better than Sanders in the counties that flipped from Obama to Trump, especially in the eastern side of the state around Dubuque and the Quad Cities. Why is that? Will someone for Sanders explain this, and what can be done about it? Scorning Buttigieg is not an argument. He’s gay, he’s very young, he went to elite colleges and speaks a dozen languages, and Iowa voters preferred him to Bernie. Why? Will anyone examine this and not insist it’s a conspiracy?

    I can’t find more than a dozen states voting for Sanders in the general election. I can’t find any swing state going blue if Sanders is the final candidate. Opposing all fracking in Pennsylvania is not where to start, and there goes a critical state. I can find enough states for Buttigieg or Bloomberg, and maybe Warren, who I expect to be the top tier candidates with Sanders down the stretch. I can vote for any of them for president. I hope Sanders’ supporters can, too, because without their support Old Orangehead gets another five years and the earth and US courts are toast.

  3. jace

    Buttigieg needs Iowa to get past NH and into s cabinet seat discussion, methinks.

    He has no ground game here in the state. No local tolerance for his smarmy fratboy politics. The union folks, who have been radicalized by the fight against Sununu’s labor busting, hate him because he (Buttigieg) is a management consultant. The crunchies don’t like him, the rich liberals are for Warren, and everyone else is for Sanders and Gabbard.

    (I’ve had Warren, Sanders and Gabbard people at my door multiple times.

    Never seen a Buttigieg canvasser, field volunteer or ward office.)

    Gabbard has tapped into NH’s disproportionately high war veteran per capita, which excludes CIA Pete from that conversation. Sanders has organization everywhere. Warren has everyone else. There are no swing voters in NH for Buttigieg to wedge. It’s democrats and liberal independents or freestater lunatics and fascists, with nothing in between

    So if Pete wants a post election gig or whatever was promised him for hurting Sanders and Warren, he has to have at least one win or he’ll be Howarddeaned into irrelevance.

    Iowa is his one chance at getting read in as political alpha.

    Or, I’m just wrong.

  4. Mallam

    Actually, a few instances have hurt Buttigieg, and it’s not cheating since the problem with the app was in sending the data to HQ to be tabulated/counted. The actual votes are on paper exist and there is a paper trail. Why is there a paper trail and why the rules changes so these things can be seen? It’s because of the reforms Bernie Sanders passed during the DNC Unity Commission. What the reforms have shown, and what likely existed in the past, is that there are errors prone to happen because caucuses and translating caucus results to State Convention Delegates is a stupid and undemocratic form of selecting a candidate. It’s like playing a game of telephone with 4 people, and the results are after the fourth person.

    The solution is to get rid of the caucuses altogether, and hopefully this is enough to kill them altogether. Of course, the second this happens, New Hampshire will bust through the wall like the Kool Aid Man to stop it from happening. So the real solution will have to be a DNC Chairman who is willing to kill IA/NH, together. Otherwise, the caucuses will continue, along with their bad forms of vote tabulation.

  5. anon

    The only candidates I can see being in the Sanders administration are Gabbard, Yang, and maybe Warren although she may have ruined it for herself after trying to smear Sanders as a sexist.

    Everyone else, as you have stated, will be out of a job. I can see Buttigieg, Klobuchar, Biden, and Warren working together if one of those four became the nominee. They are of the same ilk.

    Warren can go either way because she is a two-faced opportunist who goes wherever the wind blows. Not long ago, she would have worked for a Republican president, too.

    Sanders is a threat to their existence. That is why they fear him. Their families won’t be able to continue to line their pockets through bribes and connections.

    If they could do this to Bernie in Iowa, they will try again in other states, all the way up to the convention. It would not surprise me if Hillary Clinton and Obama show up to the convention and literally go to the podium to plea with the crowd not to hand a socialist the nomination.

    Things are going to get dirtier. Keep volunteering and donating to Bernie. He will need all the help he can get.

  6. Dan Lynch

    So he’s not-cheating for what? He’s not even going to make #2 overall, which means he won’t be the presumptive nominee next time.

    Regarding Buttigieg’s personal motivation, most candidates have a huge ego. That alone can explain the motivation. They’re not like you and me, Ian.

    In addition, if Buttigieg can collect enough delegates to influence the primary, he may be able to trade that for a place in the Democratic administration. Maybe VP, maybe a cabinet position, or whatever.

    Lastly, the powers that be may be pulling for Buttigieg. It’s been obvious for some time that the DNC’s plan was to run many establishment candidates, splitting the delegates so that Bernie can’t win on the first vote. Buttigieg and the other poodles will be rewarded for their services.

  7. KT Chong

    Knowing what I know now, if Obama and Trump run against each other in a presidential election… I will definitely vote, and I will vote for Trump.

    And I am thankful that Trump instead of Hillary is the President.

    Here is why:

  8. KT Chong

    And this is coming from a secular socialist who knows Trump is a con artist — so is Obama:

  9. Plenue

    Iowa provides a handful of delegates. Its points value doesn’t really matter, one way or another.

    The value of Iowa is that getting to brag about victory there gives a big boost to a candidate going into other early states that matter more.

    The goal probably wasn’t to steal the state for Buttigieg, since the real numbers will be known sooner or later from the paper trail. The point was to deny Sanders the chance to proclaim a first victory, hurting him in New Hampshire.

  10. Hugh

    Excellent post.

    “right to be incompetent, lose a lot and still make tons of money” should go into a political dictionary in the entry for “Democratic consultant”.

    Among the conservative, corporate Establishment Democrats, Biden had the most paper potential but whoever advised him to run or didn’t talk him out of it did him a serious disservice. To be generous, he wasn’t up to it. He was a terrible campaigner. To me, he resembles Trump in a lot of ways: the rambling thought patterns, the fabrications, the fits of anger, the entitlement, maybe just not as malicious. I also think of him as another example of what I call the Giuliani effect: someone who exited the national stage with their reputation more or less intact but can’t stay away from the camera and lights and returns as an embarrassing has-been. Think also Dershowitz.

    You can see Buttigieg as a younger version of Biden, more well-spoken, better able to sling the neoliberal BS. I don’t think Buttigieg did Biden in in Iowa. Rather I think he benefited from Biden doing in Biden in Iowa. I think his premature declaration of victory was opportunistic, a way to achieve the much vaunted “momentum.” I think his game plan is to anoint himself as the Establishment Alternative to both Biden and Sanders and ride his “momentum” as long as possible. This could work in New Hampshire, but quickly falls apart because Mayo “police problems in South Bend” Pete, unlike Biden, has close to zero support among African-Americans. So he can kiss South Carolina good-bye. And beyond that he has another Establishment corporatist in Michael Bloomberg with his billions staring back at him on Super Tuesday. So I agree with Ian that it is hard to see a way forward for him.

    Bloomberg has a lot more money than Buttigieg. But like Buttigieg, Mike “stop and frisk” Bloomberg has a problem too with minorities, an important part of both the Democratic base and the country. And if Bloomberg’s campaign manager Kevin Sheekey I heard on MSNC’s Ari Melber show today is any indication, Bloomberg will continue to have problems with minority voters. Sheekey who is also a big muck a muck at Bloomberg the business did a full Mulvaney. His basic line was that Bloomberg had said it was a mistake, so get over it. But he couldn’t resist still defending it as part of a successful anti-crime strategy. Oh, and no apology to those it targeted and terrorized. Also no mention that Bloomberg only said it was a mistake, after years of saying it wasn’t, as part of his rebranding for his Presidential run.

    Together these three would be the dream Establishment candidate. Biden has the Obama cred with African-Americans. Buttigieg has the youth, and Bloomberg has the money. As it is though, each is fatally flawed, a third of a candidate, not the whole package.


    jace, thanks for that update from a local on the ground in New Hampshire. Considering your observations and experience, the polls have to be inaccurate (claiming CIA Pete is gaining on Bernie and surpassing all others) and if CIA Pete takes New Hampshire or is neck and neck with Bernie after all the votes are counted, well, there’s our final validation as to rigging. I agree with you about your perfect assessment of Buttigieg. I’ve worked with McKinsey & Co. consultants. Talk about fluff. The bullshit they concoct out of thin air boggles the mind. Complete insubstantial nonsense. Unsubstantiated assumptions abound. Oh, and they farm their analysis out to India. No lie. Every morning they would be communicating with India because their analyses would always be delayed or done incorrectly.

  12. Hugh

    BTW the story out of Iowa now is that after the Democrats blew up their Plan A vote reporting app, Republicans and Trump supporters blew up their Plan B, call in the results, by getting hold of the call in number and jamming the lines. I doubt anyone will go to jail over this, but interfering with an election is a crime.

  13. Hugh:
    Plan B blew up because a Mayo Pete staffer tweeted out the phone number.

    There is a reason why Obama didn’t endorse Biden. Lots of Biden votes obviously moved to Mayo Pete.

  14. Z

    Iowa is just the beginning, it’s going to be a wild, wild election year.

    The most dangerous time for Bernie will be the first debate with Mikey $B. Mikey $B’s going to come at him … damaging Bernie is his whole purpose in the race, it’s what he paid his big money entry fee for … and if Bernie can get through that fine, I think things get easier from there.

    Biden’s damn near done (wasn’t he the front runner?), Warren is bleeding money and has zero charisma or appeal unless you are fixated on gender, Young Republican Pete is a gay man, and Amy K’s going nowhere, all that it leaves is Bernie and Mikey $B really.

    Bernie worries me a bit, he looks thin and worn. Hopefully he is on top of things on debate day. Mikey $B’s going to be jacked.


  15. Eric Anderson

    Well argued, Tom R. Were we still in 2008, that is. Or, even 2016 for that matter. But, we’re not. Change happens when those in power think they know the rules, but are mistaken. These guys know understand the new rules and a lot of people are listening:
    So, kick your slippers off. Pour a good beer. Light up a spliff. Throw your headphones on and give it a good listen. Are they wrong? No. They’re highly perceptive because they understand the new rules. I don’t think you do anymore. I might be wrong. But, I doubt it. It doesn’t happen very often


  16. edmondo

    It’s really hard to feel sorry for Bernie. They screwed him in 2016.And he went back again in 2020. The Sheepdog Theory has a lot more validity than the incompetence theory.

  17. Dan

    Tom R brings up some very good points. Unfortunately, I’m too tired to respond now. Tomorrow is another day. Best wishes to all.

  18. Plenue


    The new rules Sanders forced through mean there was a paper trail on the Dems fuckery this time. The whole world can see them for the scum they are.

    If the DNC wants a war, we’ll give them a goddamn war. The ‘Democratic’ Party will either be seized and reformed, or it will rot and die before Trump. Those are its options now.

  19. bruce wilder

    Biden’s wipeout is oddly reassuring to me. That his poll numbers remained aloft for so long was weird! As a candidate, Biden had nothing going for him, but name recognition. He had a record of total failure in previous attempts. His record on policy is terrible. He is a fabulist and gaffe prone and handsy. His personal presentation is as a low-energy old man on the verge of senility.

    Buttigieg and the app was a total surprise to me. Ian wonders what motivated him to cheat, as if there is some personal price to pay. I doubt he has any such compunction. I wonder what motivated him to cheat so brazenly and openly!?? Is he just an exhibitionist?

    Putting total, crazy contempt on display has become a feature of all American politics it would seem. In a way, that is Trump’s stock-in-trade, since his days as birther-in-chief. But, that schtick hardly compares to Hillary’s Russia,Russia,Russia fable.

    There is a very high value placed on telling the American people some completely absurd tale and having everyone in the punditocracy pretend like it is all completely normal. Like some bad sit com, where all the supporting cast of characters act as if the star character is funny and adorable, when by any objective standard, the main character is not so much charming and quirky as obnoxious in the extreme.

    Sanders is the idealist who is always trying to tell the truth, as he sees it of course, but telling the truth ultimately because the truth is, well, the truth.

    Warren, I think, is actually capable of caring about the consequences of policy for ordinary people. That is remarkably rare in politicians today. But, she has an elastic relationship to the truth.

    But, most politicians and most prominent journalists and political operatives seem to combine contempt for truth with contempt for the welfare of people outside their immediate circle.

    I, personally, am not always all that honest, but I still instinctively imagine that knowing the objective truth is valuable because the least risky course is to deal realistically with the world 🌎 as it is. Apparently this view is not widely shared. The more popular philosophy appears to be, “Move Fast and Break Things” !

  20. Tom

    Trump’s trade is he mixes believable lies with truths and half-truths. That and he is shameless, wallows in the mud and glorifies it, and parades all his skeletons out of the closet to such an extent that trying to stick him never works.

    Booty Judge is nowhere near Trump’s level and he couldn’t even rig Iowa properly.

    Still Sanders looks to have this in the bag. As long as he fights it out and exposes the DNC as utterly corrupt monsters, he can lock in the Candidacy. He can even beat Trump. But he will be a band aide President restricted to Executive Orders and likely facing a Hostile Congress with enough Neoliberal Congressmen to Impeach and Convict him if he doesn’t have more progressives win in the House and Senate Races.

    Still a band aid is better than nothing till the Louisiana Democrats take the reigns or the Eisenhowerian Republicans reclaim the Republican Party and add Universal Healthcare and Free College plus debt forgiveness to their platforms.

    Sanders simply can’t address the structural problems facing the US as he is ideologically unable to grasp Abortion is wrong and Misandrist and thus the Red Wall and Texas won’t flip his way. Without them flipping, Constitutional Changes are impossible and the Oligarchic Right will have a chance to retake control and deadlock us.

  21. different clue

    Peter, Peter,
    Caucus cheater . . .


    Once again it cannot be emphasized enough how duplicitous polls are. They are not reflections of voter intention or voter actions in the case of exit polls, they are a tool to shape perception and perspective. They are not accurate by any stretch of the imagination. The polls prior to Iowa had Biden and Bernie head to head. Biden performed miserably. Bernie performed as expected. The polls had Buttigieg no where near the top and yet Bernie barely squeaked out a victory over him by the hardest. Polls are shit. And now the polls are showing Buttigieg gaining ground on Bernie in New Hampshire. When you couple what the polls are saying with what jace has indicated here, the two do not reconcile. A new rule should be instituted for elections. No polls. No media coverage of polls because they are self-serving propaganda. Hugh mentioned earlier that various non-Bernie candidates are only 1/3 of a candidate. I’ll accept that but then so too we all should accept that most voters are only 1/3 of a voter because they lack the ability for critical thought and analysis and those who do have that capability are often too lazy to do their proper research and due diligence. Case in point is the assertion that whoever wins in Iowa gets a bounce with voters in New Hampshire. If a voter can think critically and objectively, how a candidate performs in another state should have no bearing whatsoever on their vote. If they truly are voting on the issues and on principle, who wins Iowa is not, or should not be, a factor in their vote. The fact that it is shows brain stem primal behavior versus higher thought. People are voting to be part of the crowd or part of a tribe versus voting on the issues. That’s not democracy. That’s idiocracy. Anyone who votes this way is 1/3 of a voter.

    Fyi, jamming the phone lines so the results could not be called in is a fascist dirty trick if ever there was one. Those who did it are more than “internet trolls.” They are Nazis and, well, we know what should be done to Nazis if the law was not there to protect their sadism. The irony is, the Nazis, who do exist by the way in many forms, screwed Bernie over by impeding the reporting of results and then they use the debacle to pretend to defend Bernie. The fascist Nazis are using Bernie as a foil. Kill them. Kill them all. I wouldn’t be surprised if this dirty trick is connected to Trump and the White House as well as coordinated with Russian and Chinese operatives. Afterall, Trump’s acquittal has given him license to cheat in every way he and his fascist operatives deem appropriate.

  23. Z

    The Iowa debacle is a psy-ops act to try to prevent Bernie from gaining insurmountable momentum and discourage his band by trying to get them, and the public, to believe that their numbers are less than they are and their operations less effective than they think.

    Our rulers’ ability to rig elections is limited, they don’t have a magic button for every state, and the larger Bernie’s numbers are the more difficult it is for them, and after 2016 and the DNC mess and its turnover and Hillary’s discouraging defeat and all those people in the different state parties who were lining up at the trough for parasitic positions in Hillary’s world you can be damn sure that there’s been a lot of disruption and misalignment with the pieces that need to come together to rig an election. You can’t pull this Iowa bs in 50 states with 50 different democratic party organizations. But their rigging came at a great cost IMO: it revealed all the corrupted rot in the party and further damaged the DNC’s reputation and most importantly, and this is the battle behind the battle between Bernie’s band and the DNC: it gives greater justification for a democratic socialist third party 2020 run. And that’s what the media’s not talking about, nor the DNC, nor Bernie’s crew directly, but it is what is simmering beneath the surface and you see Bernie’s band criticizing the DNC constantly to the public, for good reason, and there’s purpose behind it.

    Bernie’s run was going to produce one of three outcomes:
    1. Bernie was going to show poorly, in which case he would step aside and let his organization build four more years and back the democrats to end the national crisis of Trump (which I don’t buy into).
    2. Bernie was going to win the nomination and run as a democrat.
    3. The DNC was going to rob Bernie and one of Bernie’s band, or Bernie himself, was going to go on a third party run.

    The first one left the station a long time ago and do you really think Bernie’s band is going to be shepherded into voting for Bloomberg, a billionaire who is trying to buy the nomination? That’s everything they are running against.

    The DNC is in a tough spot: they have to rig it and pull it off credibly. And the credibility of the DNC has always been the battle behind the battle and they lost significantly in Iowa, made a joke of themselves in front of the whole country. But know this: Nina Turner is not stopping, neither is Cornell West, nor Michael Moore and the rest of the crew. Bernie’s Army keeps growing and when they get enlisted they don’t go AWOL. There’s a lot of hard work left, but it’s going in the right direction.

    A third party run could win this thing. If you overcome the best ticket Mikey $B can buy, a partnership with Warren, and get more support than Mikey $B suddenly a lot of democrats are caught in the middle between sacrificing their vote to a billionaire and in the process empowering Trump’s run, or leaving Mikey $B and supporting the best chance to take down Trump, who they’ve been conditioned to believe by the democrats to be Putin’s evil twin cousin. The fact of the matter is there are very few democrats in numbers, though they are loud in volume within our media, who wouldn’t vote for a viable leftist candidate over Trump. Throw in promises of making Wall Street pay for student loan forgiveness, which effects both parents and students, and raising SS benefits and you can see the possibility of momentum there.

    Iowa itself means next to nothing really. Neither does NH. Rick Santorum won Iowa one year, how did that work out for him?

    I’m frankly amazed that people think YR Pete is being groomed as a running mate. I’m sorry, and it shouldn’t be this way, but it is: a gay man is a ball and chain as a running mate, he will hurt you much more than he’ll help.


  24. Z

    Who do you believe between Trump and the DNC? It’s a coin flip to me, you know the truth won’t have any impact on what they say as long as they can muddle it.

    You can always tell a habitual liar by how excited they get, the lift in their voice, when they actually have the truth on their side. See, see, see …

    If you tell the truth routinely you don’t get unusually excited about it. And when a habitual liar tells you the truth he always looks at you a little too long as you digest it, gauging how much credibility he gained with you that he can cash in on with his future lies.

    Always keep aware of people who you catch looking at you too long. They either want to f’ you in a good way or a bad way.


  25. Z

    Of course we knew the DNC was going to try to cheat us. The biggest news is that they got caught!


  26. Hugh

    To riff off Tom R’s list

    1. Buttigieg’s ideas are really old, recycled neoliberal schlock.
    2. Buttigieg just had a cheating attack in Iowa. What if he has more if elected?
    3. Buttigieg doesn’t resonate with African-Americans, minorities, or progressives. If you think Republican soccer moms in the suburbs are going to replace these core groups of the Democratic base, dream on.
    4. In 2018, the US spent 16.9% of its GDP on a crappy healthcare system. Switzerland comes in second among industrialized countries spending 12.2% of its GDP. Australia which has perhaps the best universal single payer program in the world pays 9.3% of its GDP for it.
    5. We need another candidate who is, oh, what is that neoliberal status quo corporatist word, oh, yes, “pragmatic.” We need someone who doesn’t really stand for anything and sees the futility of fighting for us.

    Since Iowa is a white rural state unrepresentative of the Democratic party and the country, we should use some subset of it as the template for the Democrats. Scorning Buttigieg is not an argument, but scorning Sanders is. And although Sanders beat Buttigieg 43,671 to 37,557 as caucus goers’ first choice and continued to beat Buttigieg 45,826 to 43,195 in the second round, clearly Sanders is a goner because in Iowa’s whack anti-democratic electoral college delegate apportionment system, Buttigieg eked out 2 extra state delegate equivalents beating Sanders 26.2% to 26.13%. I rest my case.

  27. Ché Pasa

    So far as I can tell, US elections have never been particularly free nor fair. Chicanery is routine and has always been routine. Chicanery is considered to be “the way the game is played,” and every candidate should be aware of it and should be able to withstand and counter it. Strangely, after so long, they aren’t. It’s always a surprise. Always something outrageous or unheard of or unprecedented. And of course, the response is always to go full CT and wallow in speculation over who, what, where, when, and why — and how much it cost. Because your candidate was robbed so the other fool could win. You have your target for next time. And the next and the next, all the way down.

    Thus is a particular kind of partisanship sustained.

    I’ve seen much speculation and certainty that the Iowa debacle was “all Hillary’s fault,” Venn diagrams prove it, strings and pushpins on a chart of candidates and players prove it, and on and on, keeping Hillary Hate alive for one more round at least — and she knows how to play that game, so listen to her cackle.

    What I’ve wondered is what all the hooey is shading. What’s in the shadows? What aren’t we seeing because “all eyes” are on Old Bernie or Young Pete or Herself, Miss Elizabeth the Cherokee? From what I can tell, there are actual results from the Iowa caucuses recorded on paper which can be collated and totaled and reported, and has been — sort of — even while plenty of chicanery from inside and outside the caucus process has continued. In other words, there are known knowns but we are not to know them just yet and maybe never. Even when the actual results are totaled and reported, no one will believe it because the process has been so compromised — whether deliberately or by a series of remarkable coincidences doesn’t really matter. What matters is the results will always be in doubt.

    Which probably foreshadows the way of the 2020 elections to the bitter end. Ultimately who “wins” will be whoever can assert and sustain raw power. This holds for essentially all the offices up for election, not just the presidency.

    Trump is the one who’s shown how it’s done. It doesn’t take particular skill or competence or credentials or much of anything but sheer will power and determination to run roughshod over convention and squeeze institutions till they scream.

    Show me one Dem who can/will do that. I haven’t seen one yet.


    In all fairness, Ché Pasa, Trump hasn’t done shit except act like the troll clown he is. That’s been his role. It’s his handlers who got him elected and it’s his supporters who keep him in the game. He’s the caricature they hide behind in the shadows as they work their magick.

    What we need is an Edgelord Enfield. Someone who will declare war on the DNC from the auspices of a gaming chair situated in a makeshift sound studio. Someone who will put a bullet through the skull of the DNC while telling the fascist fighters to calm the f*ck down.

    Fyi, I agree with your excellent comment with the exception of that one important nitpick. Trump in and of himself is not the danger. It’s what he engenders and represents that is the danger. He’s just the face of it and what an ugly face it is.


    Wow. This is what Bloomberg is banking on if he gets the Dem nomination. This is one way Trump will be defeated.

    Appearing shortly after on CNN’s “New Day,” he said he would support a Democrat for president over Trump because, “This is such a unique moment in time where we are going to be forced to support any Democrat because he’s better than this.”

    Walsh mentioned former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., as moderate Democratic presidential candidates who could earn support from anti-Trump, moderate Republicans.

  30. russell1200


    Not bad points.

    But to use myself as an illustration:

    I am a pretty conservative Democrat. Yet I lean toward Bernie.

    If you think of politics in only the Left vs Right terms, this would not be likely to happen. If instead, you look at the points of protest that various groups on the both the right and left have, you can see an election breaking down much differently than in the past.

    The most dangerous development of the moment isn’t Bernie as a front runner. It’s Trumps outreach to minority voters. They have their own set of issues, and given Trumps “outsider” status its not hard to see this having an effect. Bush W., who had a much harder time getting his outreach noticed by the MSM, did a pretty good job in flipping quite a few these votes, and there is no Obama around to put up a firewall.

  31. jace

    A sort of catch all reply:

    I don’t work campaigns anymore, so I am out of the loop and don’t have relationships with the new crop of gunslingers.

    I want to make sure I am not implying expertise or access which I no longer have.

    That being said, the people I still know are all distributed across Warren, Sanders and Gabbard. You wouldn’t know Gabbard has a strong presence watching the telly. But just out for coffee and dinner, I’ve run into her personally twice in Manchester and once in Milford. She has a lot of trades union volunteers and anti-war vets walking doorsteps for her. I think the carpenters union has refused to endorse any Dem precisely because membership is either for Gabbard and Sanders, or Trump. It followed a vote at the shop, which frees membership up to stay away from corporate Dems and volunteer by conscience.

    Anecdotally, and only anecdotally, I have met precisely 0 Biden or Buttigieg supporters, but the polls have them doing well, and as of Wednesday, suddenly their signs are sticking in the snow and mud at all the busy intersections, so I am assuming their campaigns have started to helicopter in paid staffers.

    NH is not Iowa. Sure there is an argument against its 1st in nation primary, but structurally, its elections are very well managed. And its large pool of non-declareds mean you can get strong showings for candidates the poombahs would prefer to ignore, good (Sanders, Wellstone before he was killed) or bad (Buchannan, Perot), that cannot be excluded through process tinkering. It has paper ballots, affadavit registration, same day enrollment and same day switching back to independent, plus the ward and precinct election officials are all themselves elected.

    So if Biden or Buttigieg do well, I would be tempted to entertain the idea of chicanery, despite a natural tendency to disdain conspiracism.


    If the DNC doesn’t get Bernie, Trump’s handlers will. If Bernie succeeds at getting the Dem nomination, his wife may be imprisoned under trumped up charges. There’s nothing stopping Trump’s fixer, Bill Barr and his fascist DOJ toadies. The Senate has spoken. If imprisoning Bernie’s wife is in the national interest, she will be imprisoned without recourse.

    So what happened to Brady Toensing? Well, he’s moving up in the Trump era. Last year he was installed as Senior Counsel in the DOJ’s Office of Legal policy, the shop that handles major policy initiatives and I believe judicial nominations.

    So is Brady Toensing going to help or goad to get Jane Sanders put in jail? It’s hard really to see that as a question since he literally already has. When you add to that that he’s a new nepotism hire under Bill Barr, courtesy of his right-wing power couple parents who were at the center of the Ukraine scandal to manufacture evidence against the Bidens, what’s probably coming down the pike really speaks for itself.

    In another political moment this might simply be a matter of the Toensing’s dishing stories to Drudge or hiring a Breitbart hatchet man to write an Inside the Sanders Corruption Crime Family book. But remember: Bill Barr has made it pretty clear he sees the law as an adjunct of President Trump’s personal and political interests. This is crystal clear. What we’ve seen from Trump in the last 48 hours shows a President who has tossed off whatever minimal restraints have contained him in the last three years. Indeed, when Sen. Lamar Alexander issues his anemic criticisms of the President’s Ukraine scheme and claimed Trump has learned a lesson he said this. “What [the] President should have done is, if he was upset about what Joe Biden and his son, what they were doing in Ukraine, he should have called the Attorney General and told him that.”

  33. bruce wilder

    Those of us who think ourselves immune to propaganda and manipulation succumb.

    Will Buttigieg’s candidacy suffer because he has been exposed as a cheater? How many people are paying enough attention for that to register?

    Would Sanders be hamstrung by Republicans like Obama was? Excuse me, but why do you imagine Obama was trying to do anything but what he did?

    Is Iowa “unrepresentative” because it is white? Who comes up with this racist shite? Are caucuses “undemocratic” because people have to actually show up and interact? That is a very strange idea of democracy you have latched onto.

    Is Trump an unrelenting racist demagogue and the devil incarnate? Not exactly — the Trump of MSNBC’s telling is not exactly the actual Trump. The narratives favored by Vox and the New Yorker and the Atlantic and the Washington Post are commonly shallow and tendentious, not least because the billionaires who are the beneficial owners of it all hire sometimes very young, privileged idiots to spew out nonsense.

    Maybe the ultimate “goal” does not exist. What we are experiencing is politics without enough mass organization for real power to be wielded. Real power entails the ability to get things accomplished (not the “get things done” of centrist wanking). The ability of individual billionaires to move the system to what are really feeble gestures is a symptom of the general powerlessness sapping the vitality of the body politic. But, the U.S. cannot solve acute problems, end wars, do anything.

    The left — even the centrist left — makes fun of Trump’s wall, but that wall is a symbolic gesture in answer to frustration over political impotence: the national inability to agree on and enforce an immigration policy. And, the left’s positions on this — with no consciousness of irony — are to propose various degrees of futility as policy.

    I am beginning to fear that Sanders will hit a ceiling at 30% — more than anyone else and with coherence within that less than a third, never touching the 45% who never vote. And, all the rest will swirl around as a noisy, brain-dead “majority” not knowing what they want but fearing “revolution” will take away what is slipping away. Unable to think at all about public affairs under the information overload of propagandistic nonsense.

  34. Stirling S Newberry

    The Iowa Democratic Party step in to say Biden is going down with ship and they would rather than run Bernie.

  35. Stirling S Newberry

    argot optimism backtrack
    amendments one outcome.
    physical contrast consternation.
    overarching funnelled inquiry.
    Afghanistan stand.

  36. Willy

    Bloomberg is for free trade, illegal forgiveness, and his claims about city health care success are highly dubious, said to be riding on the coattails of state mandates. The famous resurrected subway system of the 90’s is back in major decline, again.

    If Bloomberg ‘gets rid of Trump’, what’s to say we wouldn’t be right back to business as usual,and the bitter dynamics which caused Trump?

  37. someofparts

    Hugh – great list

  38. Tom R

    Nobody’s addressing Bernie’s age, heart attack, or successor. Do you think everyone wants a 78-year-old president who just had a heart attack?

  39. Stirling S Newberry

    The news is taking the party line – Sander didn’t, he just got the most votes. The real delegates counts are 11,11,5,2,1.

    That is what we used to call “a tie.” But things are different in the 4th Republic.

  40. Ché Pasa

    Who or what is this DNC that is so frequently blamed for the Iowa debacle and for being desperate to Stop Bernie at all costs?

    It is not a shadowy thing at all. It’s right out in the open. It is the corporate governing body of the Democratic Party, the oldest continuously operating political party in the whole wide world. The DNC is composed of hundreds of members, some elected, some assigned, some ex officio. They elect the Chair, currently the hate-object Tom Perez, whose endless failures have alienated him from so many would-be Democrat consultants and others, but not so many that the DNC membership has forced him out. Far from it. Not even the Iowa debacle has done that.

    I helped elect Howard Dean to chair the DNC back in the day, and I got an inside view of how the DNC works. No, the DNC is not run by the Dem’s billionaire funders, though they do have more than a little influence. So do the various “identitarian” constituencies. So do elected officials individually and collectively. So does tradition — the way things have been done and “should be done”, world without end, amen.

    Perez, for all his many faults, has to balance all of these competing interests and more, and that’s part of why he seems so incoherent most of the time. It’s a reflection of what’s going on.

    Dean was able to make tremendous changes in the operations of the DNC during his tenure (viz: the 50 state project, among others) but note, they did not last beyond the first election of Barack Obama when Dean was dismissed and most of what he had put in place was suspended. Many of those who had elected him were also no longer members of the DNC. How convenient. This was a presidential overhaul, showing how much power and influence a Democratic president has over the Party’s operations and personnel.

    It turned out to be disastrous for the Democratic Party, and yet, to this day little or nothing has been done to correct the errors introduced with the election of Obama. In fact, it’s gotten worse.

    For that to be the case and for it to stay that way for as long as it has requires that the majority of the members go along with it.

    Many theories about why they do, but I would say it’s because they don’t know what else to do. No one with the kind of charisma, energy, and will to power — that Dean had, for example — has emerged to lead the Party or the Committee. So it wallows in corruption, incoherence and ineffectiveness, keeping a vast corps of consultants happy, stroking the Democratic electeds and funders, and putting most of its efforts into the quadrennial Conventions. Not Party-building, voter registration or ensuring election integrity.

  41. nihil obstet

    On the obvious, open incompetence — the people who have succeeded climbing the greasy pole have two characteristics. First, they are the kind of optimists who think their desires are coming true. They want something to work, to go in a certain way, and they firmly believe that it will. They deserve it. So they don’t ever think about the downside consequences of failure, any more than you or I would wonder if when we start up a staircase, will the staircase collapse. They don’t work through the dull details or spend time on back-up plans. Second, they’ve lived in a world of advertising images all their lives now, and their mental and spiritual framework is the ad. Is it effective? Not is it honest or a lie, good or bad, just or unjust; simply is it effective? Effective is meritorious.

    On Tom R.’s list of Bernie problems —
    1 – 2. The age is a concern. Unfortunately, the Democrats ditched their bench 30 to 40 years ago, so we don’t have anyone in the age range we’d prefer with the vision, knowledge and experience that are crucial.

    3. Unless polls are totally worthless, Sanders does better than any other candidate. If polls are worthless, how do we know how any potential voters feel? I don’t know enough soccer moms or young minorities to predict, even if I believed that a democracy should be run on the basis of not of the government I want but of how I guess other people will vote.

    4. There is always a question of where on the gradient between platitudinous goal and detailed wonkery a candidate should campaign. “Medicare for All” has the advantage of meaning something to most voters. Despite the Washington establishment’s apparent belief that people love their insurance companies, do you know anybody who does? As Hugh pointed out, the Swiss version of using insurance companies is the most expensive in Europe. I, at least, doubt whether an American system using insurance companies can avoid regulatory capture to the detriment of health care.

    5. Is this based on Sanders’ speaking style? A look at his record in Congress belies any presumed inability to work with others. Besides that, yes, it does seem laudable to me. I want a strong, forceful voice leading us away from the failed neoliberal system.


    The omniscient polls, or one of them at least, now has Pete McKinsey effectively tied with Bernie in New Hampshire. It should be noted the sample consisted entirely of New Hampshire citizens who should each be considered 1/3 of a voter. If the poll is to be believed.

  43. Plenue

    The projection coming from 450 is impressive. He spams the comments section here, threatening violence on ‘Nazis’ he seems to have conjured out of the ether, and then tries to mock other people as ineffectual keyboard warriors.

    He also seems to think the Russiagate conspiracy theory was real (and also wants to roll in China as well).

  44. Stirling S Newberry

    Obvious cheating: give delegate to your favorite candidate. “You shouldn’t have signed.”


    Nobody’s addressing Bernie’s age, heart attack, or successor. Do you think everyone wants a 78-year-old president who just had a heart attack?

    Not true. I’ve considered who his running mate should be. Ro Khanna. He’s a perfect VP for Bernie. He’s progressive like Bernie but he’s young (43) so he balances Bernie’s dotage. He’s a perfect insurance policy against a deep state assassination. If Bernie chooses someone more moderate, he increases the odds of being assassinated considering his radical, or radical for the global capital class and their servile managers, agenda.

  46. Plenue

    The feigned concerns about Sanders health grow tiresome. Tom mentions FDR. You do know FDR literally couldn’t walk, right? He was literally a cripple, from the waist down. He couldn’t even control his own pissing and shitting. And yet he ruled for 12 years. Dick ‘Darth Vader’ Cheney hasn’t just had one, but at least five heart attacks, and yet was horribly effective at commanding power. And he’s still alive.

    The reality is that Sanders is both physically robust for his age, extremely so in fact, and his mind is as sharp as ever. Especially when you consider Biden, who at best can’t speak at length without stuttering, and at worst, and far more frequently, is incoherent, when he isn’t also downright bizarre.

    And looking outside the presidential candidates, Pelosi is trusted to lead the Democrats in the House, despite being the same age as Sanders, and very much as prone as Biden to displays of bizarre incoherence.

    And Medicare for All is in and of itself the goal. We don’t need ‘universal coverage’. We need universal healthcare, full stop. Health insurance should. Not. Exist. It is a parasite. Its sole function is to get in between patients and doctors to extract wealth.

  47. Mark Pontin

    @ Ché Pasa –

    Re: “Who or what is this DNC …?’

    I’m very willing to believe that your experience of the DNC was what it was, at the time you say it was.

    But through it all the DNC remains a private corporation with the corporate name DNC Services Corporation —

    And this entity DNC Services Corporation has gone to court and explicitly argued that as a private corporation it has absolutely no obligation either (A) to follow its own professed rules if it chooses not to or (B) to choose any presidential nominee besides the one it prefers, and this without regard to what the mass of Democratic party members may have voted for —

  48. “The fact that we are getting framed as nefarious for doing what the right has been doing is bullshit,” said Acronym CEO Tara McGowan.

    I stand by my earlier observation: Republicans Lite playing with big boy toys.

    Though it could be grift, Dr Black has a good run down

  49. Ché Pasa


    Correct. Stating a Democratic Party preference for elections does not confer membership in the Democratic Party or the DNC corporate body.

    Same with the Rs.

    DNC has hundreds of members, and they control the operations — and are responsible for the failures — of the Democratic Party. Those who merely state a Democratic Party preference are deemed “supporters” and have no role in the operations of the Party.

    State and local party operations are semi-autonomous. State chairs are members of the DNC, but the DNC leaves it largely to the state parties to figure out the hows and wherefores of their operations. They provide little or no funding and their advice can often be more harmful than beneficial. The state party in Iowa fucked up royally by not having a functional means of recording and communicating caucus results accurately and in a timely fashion. That’s on the Iowa chair — who should resign in shame and disgrace. But the state party is probably financially poor and disorganized, staffed by volunteers, and the DNC is little or no help. Consequently, any chair is going to face serious disabilities that for the most part the national party will not alleviate.

    The Party needs wholesale reform top to bottom, but every attempt is eventually sabotaged or thwarted. It is what it is.

    Like any conservative institution, it resists change, rejects the grassroots, fights transparency, and follows its own historical precedence.

  50. Tom


    Be sure to differentiate between me and Tom R by having the R attached.

    That said, if only we did have another FDR or an Eisenhower. For all their flaws, they delivered true progressive changes. Sadly LBJ’s stupid decision to go to war with North Vietnam, the hijacking of the Feminist Movement by radical misandrists who turned what should have been a re-negotiation of the social contract into outright war on men, regulatory capture during Nixons term with HMOs, followed by Carter’s deregulation drive, enabled the Oligarchic Right to capture both Parties.

    The mess created has caused the Centrists who can compromise to be held hostage by the Authoritarian Identitarian Left and the Fascist Oligarchic Right. End result is deadlock in favor of the Latter while the former is irrelevant and will die out, just not quickly enough to undo the damage.

    I will support Bernie, but real change will have to wait till the Louisiana Democrats rise up and put a bullet to both the Identitarian Left’s and Oligarchic Right’s heads. Then we can begin the process of mitigating Climate Change enough to where we can eventually come out of a Dark Age with a mature Democracy.

    However, if Bernie allows the DNC to rob him of the nomination and doesn’t fight it, then I will without hesitation or remorse vote for Trump and deliver a loud FUCK YOU to the DNC. I will then throw full weight to the Louisiana Democrats to take center stage for 2024 on a Pro-Life, Pro-Gun, anti-Illegal Immigrant, and restoring the New Deal plus Universal Healthcare and Debt Forgiveness platform that will flip Texas and break the Red Wall and the Oligarchic Right.

  51. Hugh

    About Sanders’ age, he may be old but he leads everybody else among the under 45’s.
    About Sanders’ health, he had a stent placed. If there is going to be a problem with the stent, it usually shows up in the first few weeks. Sanders is past that. Nor does there seem to have been any significant damage to the heart. So with some routine monitoring, maybe some diet modification, he’s pretty much good to go. An unstable raging narcissist with increasing dementia has a load more pathology than Sanders.

  52. Hugh

    A brief off topic, total nonfarm jobs (private and public sectors combined) not seasonally adjusted fell 2.832 million in January. This is in range and marks the post-end of the year holiday drop off in jobs. In the private sector alone, 2.362 million were lost in January.

    The 225,000 job gain reported as the official statistic is not real. It is a guess at what will make a pretty line on a graph.

  53. Hugh

    One more OT, I should note that the Bureau of Labor Statistics uses the month of March as a benchmark and does a deeper dive into the jobs data and its revisions to its figures are included in the January jobs report. If you have a good memory, you will remember that the size of this year’s revision was reported some months ago and was quite large. March 2019 total nonfarm jobs seasonally unadjusted had a downward revision of 505,000 jobs from 149.864 million to 149.359 million. The private sector seasonally unadjusted was revised down 521,000 from 126.994 million to 126.473 million. The seasonally adjusted revisions were similar, but about 10,000 larger.

    Bottomline: the Trump economy produced a half million fewer jobs than previously reported. And what had been reported on the real seasonally unadjusted numbers was already quite crappy and contradicted the assertion of a strong economy.

  54. Z

    Final Delegate Count of the Iowa 2020 Presidential Democratic Party Primary

    Pete Buttigieg 13 delegates
    Bernie Sanders 12 delegates
    Elizabeth Warren 8 delegates
    Joe Biden 6 delegates
    Amy Klobuchar 1 delegate
    Andrew Yang 0 delegates
    Tom Steyer 0 delegates
    Deval Patrick 0 delegates
    John Delaney 0 delegates
    Michael Bennet 0 delegates
    Michael Bloomberg 0 delegates
    Tulsi Gabbard 0 delegates
    Democratic National Committee – 40 delegates


  55. Z

    They don’t have no magic button!


  56. different clue

    Colonel Lang (Ret.) has posted a post about Pete Buttigieg on the Bill Maher show. He is disturbed by Mayor Pete’s performance, and he explains why. Here is the link.

    I notice on NaCap that the nickname Pete the Cheat is beginning to take hold.

    In the spirit of good clean fun, I would like to offer some variants and a build-out or two, in case they may be of use to anyone.

    Cheatin’ Pete. Cheater Peter. Peter the Cheater. Lyin’ Pete McKinsey.

    Peter Peter, caucus cheater . . .

  57. G’ma always said look for laughter in the rain, silver linings in dark clouds… one group of particularly well connected pasty faces confess to using reigh-wing tactics to rig the primaries in their favor and it’s a laughing matter. Good one too, belly laugh, Peter Peter caucus eater hah!

    Somebody should publish that to the internet.

  58. anon

    If I had a crystal ball that told me Bernie would die in his first year as president, I’d still vote for him. His movement is not just about him and progressive ideas won’t die with him. We need his administration and the people he will put into power. I trust that his VP and the people he brings to the White House will do a much better job in carrying out his objectives to instate universal health care, tuition free public colleges, and the forgiveness of student loan debt. That is what I am voting for when I vote for Bernie.

  59. someofparts

    Here’s one to go with your nicknames for Pete – Grand Theft Iowa

  60. different clue

    Someone who has read all these comments and who also is on Twitter should maybe consider creating a Twitter Hashtag for each of these separate insults and phrases, and see which ones trend.

  61. someofparts

    Ten Bears, any mockery I direct at a shady candidate is meant to be my small contribution to the social project of discrediting that candidate. It isn’t sport at all. It is cultural battle.

  62. someofparts

    Tom without the R – Pro-life? I have personal childhood memories of Jim Crow culture and its policies with women. You are selling snake oil if that is your idea of the promised land.

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