Iowa Caucuses

The Iowa Caucuses Have Always Been Terrible

Last night's caucus flop was a meltdown of small-d democracy.


On yesterday's Reason Roundtable podcast, my colleague Matt Welch asked an open-ended question: What outcome do you hope for from the Iowa caucuses, however unrealistic? 

The answer I decided not to give because it seemed too glib was: It's a shame they can't all lose. 

Yet here we are. 

It's the morning after the caucuses, and, thanks to a combination of rule changes and  (probably avoidable) technological foibles that resulted from a poorly tested, dysfunctional results-reporting app, there are still no official results.

The state Democratic Party, which took hours to even begin to explain the delay, has blamed vague "inconsistencies" in the reporting and offered precious little information about what actually happened. 

Several candidates gave not-quite-victory speeches of varying degrees of confidence, and campaign memos based on internal reporting made various arguments for victory. Former Vice President Joe Biden, meanwhile, who has a history of poor performance in Iowa, and who looked to be slipping in the polls in the final weeks before the vote, is now formally complaining that the reporting process had "considerable flaws." 

Someone, probably Sen. Bernie Sanders (I–Vt.), actually won last night's caucuses. But we may never know the actual result with total certainty.

And the delayed results mean that, at minimum, the process was useless to the candidates who spent millions of dollars and months of their lives (along with the time and effort of campaign staffers and volunteers) in hopes of winning the state, not so much for the tiny number of electoral delegates it provides but for the morning-after boost in momentum leading into next week's New Hampshire primary. 

Last night's election was an utter fiasco—a meltdown of small-d democracy—in which the system simply failed. As Eric Levitz wrote in New York magazine, the caucuses "effectively produced a five-hour-long infomercial for the Democratic Party's administrative incompetence, broadcast across all of the major news networks." And it wasn't the first such failure either. 

Over the last several years, the Iowa caucuses have been the site of multiple systemic breakdowns. In the 2012 Republican caucuses, state officials initially declared Mitt Romney the winner; eventually, that decision was reversed, and Rick Santorum was belatedly granted the top slot. In 2016, an extremely close result between Democratic rivals Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders led to a series of rule changes and new reporting requirements that raised the hypothetical possibility that there could be multiple winners, each claiming victory based on a different metric. 

In a democracy, the point of an election system isn't just to create a mechanism for casting and counting votes. It's to confer broad-based legitimacy on the result, in which most people can generally agree that the system is transparent, functional, and fair. To do this, it's important to demonstrate competence and reliability. The consistent breakdowns in Iowa have instead done the opposite. Even after the final results are announced, it may be that the effective result is that no one really won. 

Breakdowns like this have broader cultural effects, and they contribute to the sense that important institutions simply don't work, that they can't be trusted to deliver accurate and impartial results. When you see national survey results showing that trust in government institutions is at an all-time low, this sort of high-stakes foul-up is why. 

Yet the problems with Iowa go much deeper than a broken app and voting rules so inscrutable they make Destiny 2's maddeningly complex leveling system look like a game of Go Fish. In its modern incarnation as the official start to presidential election season, which dates back to 1972, the Iowa caucuses have always been, in some sense, illegitimate.

It's a small state that's not demographically or culturally representative of the rest of the country, meaning that large blocs of voters, especially minorities, are underrepresented in a contest that helps shape the rest of the race. Iowa voters are disproportionately older, and the relatively high religiosity of Iowa voters and their discomfort with immigrants has, over the years, tilted national politics in a direction that, all else being equal, is more socially conservative and less immigrant-friendly. For years, the influence of the state's corn farmers helped maintain political support for ethanol subsidies and fuel mandates, despite just about every economist and policy analyst agreeing that they were a lousy idea. 

Meanwhile, national political media would descend on Iowa every four years to lavish it with attention, using it as an early proxy for the overall state of the race. In recent years, journalists have become more alive to the ways that Iowa isn't representative, but the frenzy of attention has nonetheless conferred a special status on the state and its opening electoral throwdown. Even with critical coverage, Iowa set the tone for the race to come, ensuring that it would represent the interests of a select and special few rather than the larger voting population. 

The best argument for Iowa's primacy has always been its intimacy, the way that the manageable scale of the state might allow lesser-known candidates with less funding to connect in person with voters. (The small size no doubt helped journalists trying to cover the race too.) But in the age of social media politics and intimate-interview podcasts, in which politics—especially for younger voters—is increasingly conducted in online forums and virtual communities, this argument carries less and less weight. 

Meanwhile, even Iowans don't seem all that excited about their caucuses: Overall turnout was middling, and first-time participation was down.

America doesn't need Iowa to set the tone for its presidential elections. American politics doesn't need Iowa to show up early and try to pick a winner. Iowa isn't America, and America isn't Iowa.

There are already rumblings about ending Iowa's reign of terror, about replacing it with some other system that might be more demographically representative, less culturally conservative, less beholden to the narrow interests of corn farmers. Or, at the very least, that could accurately report an election result in a reasonable period of time. A system, in other words, that could confer some small measure of legitimacy, not to mention a reasonable night's sleep.  

One can only hope. Everyone competing in last night's caucuses may have lost, but if Iowa's caucuses end up less influential in future presidential elections, we'll all end up winners. 

NEXT: Dems Want to Run the Country, but They Can’t Even Run an Election in Iowa

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  1. Basically leftists in this country have become so incompetent they can no longer even fix an election. Fixing elections has always been a basic skill for all leftists, like fire starting for boy scouts. They can't even do that anymore. What does this say about their competence in the other two basic skills required to be a leftist; imprisoning and murdering people?

    1. A large problem is there never used to be this much money at stake and what money there was would go to cigarettes, booze and buses to get out the vote. Now billiions are lit on fire and it all goes into rat holes and incompetent nicompoops are running actual things that matter. Used to be you would get your gf or your buddy some no show job now you get your buddy or gf to start a nonprofit that actually has some kind of important task like building the fucking app that counts the vote in the state.

      1. The level of competence has changed because competence and greed run in the inverse of each other as more and more shisters and hucksters are drawn in like moths to a flame. Who would run the risk of an actual scam when you can flim flam in politics.

        1. That is a very good point and likely the truth. There is so much money to steal and the sophistication necessary to steal it has gone up so much that people used to the sort of crude means of theft like you describe just are not up to the job.

          1. The political industrial complex. People are paid the start protest marches, run those "non-profits", run campaign marketing and so on. how much money on so many facets is spent in this country? I would love an actual political money count.

            1. Start with George Soros.

              I'm sure he can lend some insights.

              1. The real George Soros died years ago. They transplanted his neural circuits and he is now MechaSoros. So he will be around for a long time.

              2. The Soros is tinfoil hat conservatives' Baba Yaga, El Cuco, Boogeyman.

    2. James O'Keefe caught a DNC staffer openly admitting that they commit voter fraud. Maybe they've just gotten so sclerotic that they just don't care whether anyone knows about it or not anymore.

      1. No one ever gets in trouble so why should they worry? At best they'll be embarrassed and once that passes they can say, 'And? What are you gonna do about it?"

        Lerner and Hillary have literally gotten away with stuff the average low level bureaucrat or citizen would spend time in jail for.

        The system is thoroughly corrupt and it's no better in Canada.

        Justin commits crimes. Everyone knows it and he just stands there smirking because no one has courage (looks at the RCMP) is willing to do their damn jobs and INVESTIGATE and perhaps prosecute the fucker.

        One day shit's gonna hit the fan and these assholes will sacrifice some low life to show the people, 'See? We cleaned up the deep state!'

        1. Is it voter fraud in a caucus/primary? I thought the DNC can do whatever they want prior to the general election...

      2. Correct, the Republican establishment in Iowa had a “tabulation error” that incorrectly gave Romney the win in 2012 and then in 2016 Cruz cheated and denied Trump his victory. Now Trump won with Saddam Hussein like numbers because the Republicans ran a sham caucus.

        1. You poor boob. Nobody gives a shit about the Republican Iowa Caucus results. You're actually trying to accuse the Republicans of running a "sham" caucus? Please, please tell us all which Republican actually won. We just can't wait to find out.

      3. James of'Keefe has supposedly "caught" people saying things that turned out to be creative editing on his part so many times that anyone who would believe him or anything he published without independent verification is a fool.

    3. So the point of the article went completely over your head.

  2. Lol.
    Suderman with the straight up establishment D line.
    What a scumbag

    1. The answer I decided not to give because it seemed too glib was: It's a shame they can't all lose...
      The state Democratic Party, which took hours to even begin to explain the delay, has blamed vague "inconsistencies" in the reporting and offered precious little information about what actually happened...
      Last night's election was an utter fiasco—a meltdown of small-d democracy—in which the system simply failed. As Eric Levitz wrote in New York magazine, the caucuses "effectively produced a five-hour-long infomercial for the Democratic Party's administrative incompetence, broadcast across all of the major news networks."

      What a Democrat shill, amirite?

      1. Yea.
        "In which the system failed"
        Then he goes on to bitch about Iowa being too white to be first primary.
        But keep reflexively leaping to Reason's defense, because they call themselves libertarian and appeal to all your shallow left leaning feelz

        1. Still hardly the "straight up establishement D line". It's possible to agree on some things and not on others, you know?

          1. He's just repeating word for word what the D talking heads are saying.
            Nothing to see there

          2. He blames Iowa. Dems were at fault this year. In past years both sides ffed up. But no, Iowa is "too white". Seriously?

          3. Nardz is one of those types who simple-mindedly believes if you're not condemning everything democrats do and praising everything republicans do, you're "toeing the Democratic party line." Independent thought escapes him.

    2. I've never agreed with you on anything. But 100% this.

      What an absolute top-down establishment swamp scum Suderman is. Iowa and NH have never been about having some representative demographic group of voters being able to make statistically valid polling decisions so that big money and national consultants can simply sell their cornflakes to the stupid lazy manipulated voters who get all their voting ideas from 30 second ads on TV.

      They have always been about vetting candidates in real life. Do their hands sweat? Do they look you in the eye? How easy is it to tell when they're lying - or trying to blow smoke up your butt? Can they deal with the unpredicted? How do they treat actual people? Can they actually answer a specific question? And eliminating the candidates who just can't do that in real life.

      Those two states are the only ones that run an actual real-life job-type interview. Now maybe there are other - by definition small where face-to-face matters - states that can do that also. But they gotta show the inclination first - and in fact that means voters investing a lot of time to pay attention themselves. So it really is a tiny universe of states that can do that weeding out.

      1. And even I agree with both of you on this one. Suderman is nothing but an establishment hack. There is nothing Libertarian about him. In fact, he doesn't seem to have any sort of beliefs or ideology beyond supporting those in power. How he works at a publication that claims to be Libertarian is a mystery known only to him and Reason.

  3. Oh jesus. Iowa's as fine as any state having first. Demographics and representation are very overrated. As far as professions go Farmers are probably among the least terrible to make these types of decisions and I'm sure the founders would by and large agree as *checks notes they were all aristocratic land owning farmers. Also Iowa has always been a disaster is a hilarious assessment to make after what has to be the largest fuckup or conspiracy in primary history occurs. Also blaming Iowans for what was probably some DC insider or idiot corrupt nepotistic dnc hire is pretty rich. Fuck off Suderman.

    1. I have never understood why Iowa and New Hampshire, two small nondescript states have always had so much influence on who the country gets to vote for to be President. The whole system always seemed totally crazy to me.

      1. I think it's a consequence of the DNC and RNC machines thinking they have an outsized impact and edge on small voting states in buying and name recognition of their machine politicians over the outsiders. This has backfired in recent years.

      2. Well, consider, that just maybe, possibly, it is conceivable that they don't matter to anyone except the media.
        There are still those of us (we few, we happy few) that read a party platform and vote for the party that least endangers our personal freedoms.

        1. Sadly, the person they nominate matters. That platform is only as meaningful as their candidate's willingness to follow it in office.

        2. So you always vote Libertarian? Good for you.

      3. So how did a bunch of pig fucking Iowa corn farmers get such an outsized say in our presidential election?

        I don’t know, but however it started, you can bet your ass that they’ll never let it go because it allows them to hold the entire election hostage in exchange for ethanol subsidies and mandates. The Iowa Caucuses are the only reason ethanol is even a thing.

        1. That overstates the caucuses power a bit. Main reason is that the people who want them are more motivated to keep them then those who oppose. Plus good old, you scratch my back..., pork belly politics.

        2. I don’t know, but however it started, you can bet your ass that they’ll never let it go because it allows them to hold the entire election hostage in exchange for ethanol subsidies and mandates.

          I'm not sure what you're basing this on, because the history of the caucus in actually predicting nominees isn't great, and predicting Presidents is garbage. Per the Des Moines Register:

          Since 1972, the top voter-getter in the Democratic caucuses has gone on to win the nomination in seven of 10 contested races, but just Jimmy Carter in 1976 and Barack Obama in 2008 won the presidency. Among Republicans since 1980, the winner of the Iowa caucuses has gained the nomination in three of eight contested races, but the presidency just once: George W. Bush in 2000.

      4. Agreed. If we're going to have primaries, why not just have one big "Super Tuesday" when all the state primaries are held?

        The primary system in general is fundamentally flawed. It reinforces the two-party system that freezes out third-party options and independents. By allowing the two main parties to co-opt state election systems every two years to run the process of deciding who should represent them as candidate for president, we confer upon these parties the status of quasi-governmental institutions. They should not be, they are private organizations. Republicans facetiously complained about the "undemocratic" way the Democratic Party uses superdelegates in 2016. It shows a fundamental misunderstanding of both parties and American history. On the American history side, people act like primaries were ensconced in the Constitution as a fundamental right of all citizens to vote in and have an equal say in, but the current primary system of "electing" candidates to run for the two parties has only been the case since the early 1970s. Before that, brokered conventions were the rule. And why shouldn't they be? The Founding Fathers never expected or wanted parties to take on the prominence they have. Parties are (or should be) independent organizations with every right to let their party faithful decide who represents them as a candidate. Open primaries where any registered voter, regardless of previous voting history, can wake up on primary day and say "today I feel like voting Republican" or "today I feel like voting Democrat" are insane. It's like if the Catholic Church was required to let anyone walk in off the street and cast a ballot for the next pope, without even having to show that they are a baptized Catholic. The primary process has so muddled in peoples' minds the concept of political parties and unjustifiably elevated their position in our government.

    2. Why are farmers the least terrible? They are the most dependent on government handouts.

      1. For a number of reason firstly they aren't lawyers, insurance agents or public school teachers which would be the worst. the rest don't matter. I guess what I'm saying is they aren't really any better than anyone else but they are better than those three professions deciding the outcome.

      2. They also tend to be the ones most impacted by federal government regulations. Environmental regulations, pesticide regulations, food regulations, animal transport regulations, animal welfare regulations, those handouts have a ton of strings attached and a ton of stupid regulations attached. And I could go on. Get rid of the handouts and the vast majority of regulations. The farmers often need the fucking handouts just to deal with the regulations.

      3. Food prices matter.

    3. Also blaming Iowans for what was probably some DC insider or idiot corrupt nepotistic dnc hire is pretty rich

      Looking at the tech company that created the problem. It was created by a guy who spent his entire career doing tech stuff from NY and CA. A guy completely in the mindset of Web2.0 - proprietary platforms designed to collect global eyeballs in one place. Funded by big donors - who never have any objective other than 'how can we get the political system to submit more easily to us' - and by the two most 'national establishment' candidate campaigns (Biden and Buttigieg).

      And clearly the 'problem' that he thought his system was addressing was - how do we get all these 1000's of precincts to report results in a centralized way that will make it easier for national media to report results quickly. He wasn't solving an 'Iowa caucus' problem. He was 'solving' a problem big outsiders have with that.

      Unfortunately it looks like Iowa went along with that shit. Looks like Nevada too. So that tech 'solution' will effectively kill off all remaining caucuses this year. So by 2024 - both DeRp establishments will have a complete stranglehold for what will finally then be an 'open' election where citizens no longer matter. And like clockwork assholes like Suderman are now put into action to spin the 'what we need now is more centralized top-down control of everything'.

      1. Unfortunately it looks like Iowa went along with that shit. Looks like Nevada too. So that tech ‘solution’ will effectively kill off all remaining caucuses this year.

        Maybe it was inevitable regardless, but it's hard to look at an event like this and think that it wasn't by design to do that very thing.

  4. Here's an idea for a replacement: send ballots to a random 1% of the nation.

    Since the whole primary system is a shuck anyway, who cares who cheats? Later you can hold official state-by-state primaries.

    1. Here's an idea pick 50 people randomly from every phone book in every state and have them run the country.

      1. Which is worse: jury duty or government duty?

      2. What's a phone book?

        1. You know your contacts in your smart phone? imagine that but a giant print listing of numbers in every state that is mostly used to beat your wife or prop doors open.

          1. So you want Google and Apple to pick 50 people "at random"? Cause they control the phone books...

          2. You can shoot bullets through them. Phone books, that is.

        2. they helped me reach the table when I was a kid

        3. Imagine a CVS receipt, but all folded up nicely.

      3. Idle Hands wants a tyranny by the Smiths, the Johnsons, and the Joneses!

        1. Better than the Kennedy's, Biden's, Bush's or Clintons. Maybe.

        2. the Smiths are one of the better bands of the 80s.

          1. ^ This.

          2. I am still ill over this Iowa caucus.


      Primary = Voters who think investing 30 seconds on their decision is pushing the edge of what is 'too much'.

      Caucus = Voters who may well have to go out in a snowstorm if that's what their neighbors are also doing cuz otherwise their neighbor is gonna be the one making the decisions

      1. Yet the Iowa Caucus serves the exact same function as a primary - deciding who a state's delegates will support at a party's national convention. And like a primary it uses the state's official election infrastructure to do so. So when someone condemns the whole primary system, including Iowa, and you get hung up on terminology, you look like someone arguing about whether the second bedroom on the right has curtains or drapes in a house that is on fire.

  5. Its not a failure of democracy it was a failure of tech and cheating by Democrats to their own base while the republican system went off without a hitch. its not hard to add 1+1+1+ etc....

    1. Yeah, but they had to figure out how to redistribute Comrade Sanders' votes...

  6. The state Democratic Party ... offered precious little information about what actually happened.

    "You can't handle the truth!"

  7. I say return to paper ballots with copies for the voter and take two days no need for this instant bull shit but even with that they could count paper ballots in one day. National election give one week if fedex can deliver in a day so can votes from around the world

    1. *** meekly raises hand ***

      Can we have a finger dyed, too?

  8. It would be hard to deliberately design a more fucked up system than the Iowa caucuses.

    1. I tried explaining the caucus process to my girlfriend who emigrated from Chile and lived through the communist dictatorship and the Pinochet dictatorship and she was incredulous to say the least.

      1. This is why other countries should be wary of Americans spreading democracy. It's not the bombs they need to worry about, it's the bureaucracy.

        1. "I'm from the government, and I'm here to help!"

    2. It is not at all fucked up.

      Caucuses are exactly how every political party in every state organizes itself. For that matter - it's how every city council is run too. You have face-to-face meetings. That's where you elect the people who will do this and that. And those people are the ones who decide who gets to be local candidates for a ton of races - who decide what the ballot/election choices will be - or what the position of the party will be on this or that issue - or exactly how far the party will bend over for someone waving money around - etc

      The only difference is that every Prez election year, Iowa opens up those caucuses to the majority of people who really don't pay much attention.

      In non-caucus states, those people can and will never have any influence whatsoever other than checking boxes on ballots that other people design. And in fact they do not even have the concept that they can have more responsibility as self-governing citizens. People in those states truly believe 'self-governing' is about saying Yes or No to other people's decisions.

      1. And in fact they do not even have the concept that they can have more responsibility as self-governing citizens. People in those states truly believe ‘self-governing’ is about saying Yes or No to other people’s decisions.

        Please stop preaching about things you don't understand.

        1. I've lived in caucus states - and mostly (or for longer time overall) in primary states. I've actually gotten involved in local party/org stuff. In both types of places. Not only that - I have lived in other countries (plural) - so have plenty of friends who did the whole 'get involved' thing in those places.

          Let me repeat - NO ONE on the planet is as stupid and manipulated and easy to manipulate and unaware of what 'self-governance' means as the average American voter who lives in a primary state. NO ONE. PERIOD. Whatever de Toqueville observed 200 years ago about Americans is completely dead.

          1. NO ONE on the planet is as stupid and manipulated and easy to manipulate and unaware of what ‘self-governance’ means as the average American voter who lives in a primary state.

            Yeah. I've shown you straight up that you're wrong about that. But you do you.

  9. operative word in "Information Age" is not age. i love this. drain that swamp.

  10. Heh, the Democrats are looking forward to the glorious day when people in those horrible flyover states don't get a vote.

  11. blamed vague "inconsistencies"

    "Inconsistencies" meaning those damn fool voters STILL cannot correctly pick our preferred candidate?

  12. Iowa is filled to the brim with clingers. The only solution is to do what California does for the state elections, the top 2 democratic nominies are who the unwashed masses get to choose from. That way we can ensure the progressive policy will continue even if the lesser people don't like it.

    1. this is amazing content. I can't believe it's free.

    2. Iowa is top five in obesity, top six for whiteness.

      36th in college degrees. 42nd in advanced degrees.

      Fat, half-educated whites. A clinger paradise.

      1. And with that, Kirkland reveals himself as a parody account.

      2. We know, Iowa is full of democrats.

      3. Yeah, but it wasn't them that created the app, was it? No, it was geniuses like you.

      4. I must say, hicklib, it's been a joy mining salt from you today.

  13. Iowa caucuses have always been, in some sense, illegitimate. It's a small state that's not demographically or culturally representative of the rest of the country...Iowa voters are disproportionately older, and the relatively high religiosity

    Reason has officially taken up the Democrat mantra that old, white, christian people are illegitimate.

    1. I think it's fair to describe any individual state as not being "culturally representative of the rest of the county." That Iowa and New Hampshire get so much say in our election process is puzzling at best. But the concern would be just as legitimate if it were California and Texas that we were talking about.

      1. Iowa is about 50/50 in picking the eventual Dem candidate and much worse for the GOP. I dont think they have that much influence.

        1. No but a big portion of the influence of the early states is in who doesn't get to be President. The field is usually shrunk significantly prior to Super Tuesday in which a good portion of the states finally get to weigh in on the decision.

    2. A group that is 50% black would never be criticized for poorly representing the country.

      A group that is 100% black would be praised for its "diversity".

  14. The other problem is that a dozens candidates who all hate Middle America went to Middle America for their first primary event. I mean, the state is what the party officially termed via its official 2016 candidate, a "basket of deplorables".

    That they managed to get anyone out to the Democrat caucuses just goes to show how desperate Iowa voters are for more pork spending...

  15. The big problem is that candidates can not ignore Iowa. If Mike Bloomberg's plan works out it would show that Iowa is unnecessary. Until it can be shown that you can skip Iowa and get the nomination, you can expect the Iowa caucuses to get more attention than they deserve.

    1. The Democratic Party could and likely will stop ascribing special privilege to Iowa in this context. After that, ignoring Iowa will be the normal course.

    2. I've been ignoring Iowa for my entire life and it seems to be working out pretty well for me, maybe one of the candidates should give it a try.

  16. Actually, the Republicans held a caucus as well as the Democrats. The precincts all reported in by midnight.
    Surprisingly, Trump won.

    1. Maybe that what's happened. Trump won, the Dem's app couldn't process it, and committed suicide.

      1. *that's what*

    2. I'm sure it was because of Putin.

  17. Iowa isn't America, and America isn't Iowa.

    Neither is New Hampshire. But if it wasn't for these small states, America would consist of 5 states, and a bunch of disenfranchised flyovers.

    1. Which is the world Suderman wants. Imagine all those corn subsidies going to artisinal bread/coffee shops, speak easy style distilleries, IPA brewers and art house cinemas. The fucking horror.

      1. I'm going to make a wild guess that Suderman in particular and Reason in general, DON'T WANT THOSE CORN SUBSIDIES! OR ANY SUBSIDIES FOR ANYONE!

        Shock! Subsidies are bad EVEN when they go to red states full of Trump hats.

  18. Caucuses are a poor method.

    Iowa is a dumbass state.

    The consequences are readily predictable.

    Let's hope this is enough to incline the Democratic Party to stop privileging Iowa in this context.

    1. What's the matter, Kirklebunny? Did your betters fall flat on their faces?

      1. The problem is relying on Iowa for anything other than menial farm labor.

        1. Have you ever tried to farm? It isn't menial. It requires understanding markets, agronomy, soil science, mechanics, weather, time management, resource management, ecosystem management and a bunch of other topics. It isn't just put the seed in the ground and come back and harvest it. If you add in animal agriculture, you have to understand animal husbandry, range and grazing management, animal nutrition basic veterinary care, water management etc. I doubt most folks who bad mouth farmers would last a season. I have a MS in Animal Science and have taught agricultural sciences for 5+ years and I just started my ranch. Let me tell you, the practical aspect is far more difficult then the theoritical aspect of ranching.

      2. Not at all! Our betters just demonstrated that they are far superior to Donald Trump and the Russians when it comes to screwing up elections!

    2. Correct. The dems should be caucusing in Havana and Caracas where they wouldn't have to pander at all.

      1. In Caracas the US candidates would likely be beaten and left for dead in an alley without the Venezuelan government’s soldiers to protect them. Venezuelans are furious about what has been done to their country, but once you’ve seen your family members shot in the street or hauled off to secret police headquarters, you start to keep your head down.

  19. Let's be honest, the odds are far greater that the Democrats are holding back the results to cover for how badly Joe Biden did in Iowa until everyone is focused on New Hampshire.

    The nightmare scenario for the Dems is that Bernie Sanders wins...their corporate sponsors will flee if that happens. Biden is the only candidate in the current field of candidates with the slightest bit of national support (and he's still incredibly awful), and if he placed a distant 4th or 5th in the Iowa caucus, he's toast. They're going to have to let Bloomberg or Hillary buy the nomination at this point just to keep the open and unrepentant communist from being the new face of their party and destroying them.

    We're going to get the full results sometime in the middle of the week, after the New Hampshire coverage is already in full bloom and Iowa is "old news"...and the national press will bury that story as quickly as possible.

    1. Exactly this, if a glitch had occurred that resulted in Biden winning by a landslide we wouldn't be waiting on results right now. They need time to do damage control because Bernie won it.

      What's funny about this is that the DNC didn't learn about this from their last run of primary fuckery. Rigging it in Hillary's favor last time around got all the Bernie Bros to stay home, rigging it in Biden's favor will accomplish the same thing.

      They're kinda damned if they do and damned if they don't though, because as you note Bernie is not viable nationally. If he wins the nomination, Trump defeats him easily. If he doesn't win the nomination all the communists stay home and Trump wins easily. They should've never let him run in their party in the first place, letting him do that has divided their base. He's never been a Democrat, I don't understand what the party had to gain by letting him on their ballot to begin with.

      1. He was supposed to be a jobber to make it look like Hillary had a primary opponent.
        It was a YUGE mistake

        1. That checks out. They can't even appoint their chosen one without shooting themselves squarely in the dick.

          Seems like they could've just sacrificed some generic old white Democrat senator, but maybe they were worried that given the choice between a man and a woman running on the same platform the people wouldn't make the right decision.

          1. Because their generic old white Senator alternative to Shrillery was Biden. And she had so much dirt on him and everyone else on the "gentry left" (love that term) that nobody wanted to ruin their own political career by running against the Slick Willie's shrieking sociopath wife.

            Bernie Sanders wasn't even supposed to be a serious candidate in 2016. They figured Martin O'Malley would be a bigger threat. Sanders was just a crank, so they figured what the hell because they needed someone with a title and let him in.

          2. Hillary Clinton hollowed out the Democratic Party to clear the way for her anticipated coronation. It's impossible to overstate just how badly her ambitions and candidacy destroyed the Democrats' future. She destroyed or bribed everyone who she figured could possibly be a threat to block her nomination, and that annihilated most of the up-and-comers in the Dems. Now the leftists who hate Clinton are the only real future the Dems have...and that's no future at all in America.

      2. He’s never been a Democrat, I don’t understand what the party had to gain by letting him on their ballot to begin with.

        Because they're losing the far left, and it lent them credibility. The fact that Bernie was until only very recently an (I) is indicative of that.

        There's only so long you can court both the far left and the corporate 'center' before you lose one of them.

        We're into the final five minutes of a political Three's Company episode.

        1. It is worse than that. They didn't just court the far left. They happily promoted the far left because they thought it was a way to energize the youth vote. They should have been attacking the far left and keeping its numbers and influence down. Instead, they enabled the far left and now don't know what to do with the monster they have created.

          1. Instead, they enabled the far left and now don’t know what to do with the monster they have created.


        2. Yeah I guess that's what doesn't make sense. None of those communists are going to vote for Hillary or Biden simply because you let Bernie into a few debates. If he's not the nominee, they all just stay home or vote 3rd party.

          To successfully court those voters you have to actually run Bernie as the candidate, which the DNC obviously doesn't want to do. The whole plan was dead in the womb.

          1. Just the way they like it!

            1. As I was posting that I was musing to myself that I set someone up for a pretty great abortion joke, glad someone took advantage.

      3. They are just reaping what they have sown. For decades the DNC and the media fed the far left a steady diet of bullshit. They have created a media and educational ecosystem that allows the far left to actually believe that it's ideas are popular and that the world can be theirs if only they get a candidate who is a real progressive.

        This of course is insane. And every sane democrat knows it is. But they were happy to let this happen because they wanted the left's loyalty and figured they would never vote for anyone else anyway. It never occurred to the dumb bastards that there might some day be enough of the rubes to take over the party or that the rubes would ever actually demand one of theirs be nominated.

        And now they are screwed. You can't reconcile the interests of the gentry left and the tech giants with the dirtbag left that the Democrats have created and Bernie has exploited. The party is going to split in half like a walnut. And I don't know how they are going to fix it. If the hatred of Trump won't unite them, and it looks like it won't, then I don't see what possibly could.

        1. What they need to do is do what the GOP eventually did with the Tea Party: tell them to get in line or fuck off and form their own party already.

          Of course the Democrats will refuse to do that because being woke is more important than being successful. They'll continue to promote people like AOC despite the fact that 95% of the country can't stand people with those politics. They'll fail to recognize that winning Brooklyn and Seattle in a landslide doesn't actually help them win a national election.

          I think it'll eventually splinter, and the only hope the Democrats have is that the newly formed Communist Party (err, "Worker's Party") fizzles out quickly and everyone gets back to the status quo before any mortal wounds happen.

          1. Yeah, their only hope is for them to lose so often and for so long the army of retards they have created finally learn to face reality. Even if that works, it is not going to be pleasant. Worse, the Democrats have made such a fetish out of feelings that I am not sure the retards can learn no matter how badly reality beats them in the face. I don't think most of them have the mental capacity to understand what is happening to them.

            1. If history is to be believed, that army of retards is only going to learn after a handful of Top Men have their necks lengthened.

              I hope it doesn't come to that, I certainly won't be the first to get aggressive, but as you point out I don't think their critical thinking skills are up to the task and violence may be the only thing they actually understand.

            2. "Yeah, their only hope is for them to lose so often and for so long the army of retards they have created finally learn to face reality."

              Agreed, which is why it may not be the worst thing for the Democrats to let Sanders win if he's going to. It will energize their youthful base at least. And when he goes down worse than Dukakis vs Bush the Greater, maybe the party's leadership will be willing to listen that the nation is ready for the Red Brigades quite yet.

              Moreover, if the BernieBots show up and vote, the Dems stand a chance of doing better in their downticket races. I don't see centrist Democrats staying home or going third party with a Bernie nomination. Sure, some will vote for Trump, but who cares, so long as they also vote for the Democrat in the House, Senate and other races? Trump is going to win anyway, no matter who runs against him.

              The only way I see Trump not winning is if he dies before the election---he'll be 74 by November, and heart attacks or strokes can happen without warning---or if the economic fallout from China turning into a basket case makes this a repeat of the 1992 election. Neither are likely. So if they're going to lose anyway, why not lose in a manner that brings the most democrat voters to the polls and perhaps terminates the Far Left's influence in the party?

              There's no hurry. Trump can't win in 2024, and Trump isn't a vanguard of a movement. It's just him. Run your mainstream candidate in 2024, take advantage of the public's natural desire to switch drivers, and of the increasing demographic advantage the Democrats will have, and try again.

              1. "nation isn't ready for the Red Brigades." I'm sure there are other mistakes in the post.

        2. Destruction of the Electoral College. It is now their only hope.

      4. Never forget that nearly four years ago, these DNC scumbags murdered an idealistic young Sanders supporters in cold blood for leaking the truth to Wikileaks. I mean, they shot him right in the fucking back on the streets of Washington in the wee hours of the morning at nearly point blank range! A few weeks after that, they then murdered a lawyer in his own apartment for attempting to investigate and sue the DNC to find out the truth of what happened.

        As fucked up at what happened last night is, at least it’s not as bad as THAT.

        1. His name was Seth Rich

  20. Does ACRONYM run it's Shadow software out of Hillary's bathroom server?

    1. yes very funny.

  21. F* Iowa. Caucuses where you can pressure others to vote as you do is not democratic, this is a mess. Iowa does not deserve to be first, and neither does N.H. They should have a large number of states vote at the same time.
    The voting should be ranked choice so that the result is what more people really want, not what some minority of activists want.

    1. What happened to the secret ballot? I can almost hear Joe Sixpack and his wife: "Uh oh. There's the boss standing in XYZ's caucus.
      Now we don't dare go stand in ABC's caucus. And our pastor is in XYZ's caucus too. "

    2. The point of caucuses is not so much to choose a leader, as it is a mechanism for people within a party to get together, exchange views, and publicly bind themselves to work for the winner. The public nature of the discussion, negotiation and binding characteristic of the caucus is essential. It works well with a group that is going to continue working together on the subject of the caucus after the vote. Everyone agrees to work together as one afterwards, but everyone gets a say beforehand.

      With a secret vote, people can choose who they want at that moment, and not feel bound to support their group's choice afterwards.

      All of this is covered in Heinlein's excellent, "Take Back Your Government," which, like the idea of a caucus, is perhaps a regretfully antiquated look at how things used to work in this country.

      1. Wrong, caucuses stopped working in 2008 when younger Obama supporters had superior technology with Facebook and texts than the older Hillary supporters and they engaged in bullying which resulted in Obama racking up huge delegate wins in caucus states. Then the Obama campaign and media bullied the superdelegates into not doing their job and supporting the candidate with the best chance in the general which was Hillary.

        1. Then the Obama campaign and media bullied the superdelegates into not doing their job and supporting the candidate with the best chance in the general which was Hillary.

          Uh, Obama won handily so I don't know what universe you're posting from.

          1. The part I love about it, is that nothing in that troll's rant had anything to do with the question I was answering, which was why caucuses are public.

            It's just a monkey throwing shit. Which I understand, with a monkey in a zoo. But doesn't that person have something better to do with their time?

    3. Yeah, I'm sure it's Iowa's fault and not the party's. LMAO.

      I don't know why you think these grapes are sour, they taste pretty sweet to me.

  22. Since the Democratic Party leadership (= their big-money donors) are determined to decide for themselves whom to nominate, why don't they just do away with all their primaries and choose their candidate at a convention that costs six or seven figures to attend, and is picky about whom they let in? It would save us all the fuss.

  23. Most election snafus are in democratically controlled areas. The hanging chads, etc. It's much easier to have fraudulent results if you are sloppy in record keeping. I have no doubt Bernie won Iowa fairly handily, which is why this is such a problem.

  24. Last night's caucus flop was a meltdown of small-d democracy.

    Which is kind of funny since the big-D Democrats are all really small-s socialists. Except for Bernie, he's a communist pretending to be a big-S Socialist. (As near as I can tell, a communist is just a socialist with a gun.)

    1. Socialists love their guns too. The only actual difference between Communists and Socialists is the former are global socialists and the latter are national socialists.

      1. Good analysis. The Communists understand that in order for their system to "work", all other systems must first be eliminated. Communism can't succeed if there's a capitalist country people can look at and go "Wait a sec, why don't we just do that instead?"

        This is why I love my commie guns, those folks knew they were in for a fight and they intended to be prepared for it.

  25. Something tells me that the democrats, who now live in constant fear of Russian bots and Donald "I'll give you Alaska for an election victory" Trump subverting the precious election process, over complicated things with convoluted protection measures that blew up in their faces.

    It's not the Iowa caucuses that should be laughed at, it's the DNC. To their credit, even some of America's MSM is recognizing this. Some, not all.

  26. I thought John Mcafee was going to run on the libertarian ticket.

    Thing is nobody can find him lately.

    I expect around September he will burst forth from his underground lair in Iceland, volcano smoking in the background, with a flurry of communications on all of our cell phones and computers announcing the founding of the new Libertarian Republic.

    I would be good with that. This is shaping up to be the most boring election ever.

    1. He's still tweeting stuff occasionally. He sent one out a week or so ago looking for 5 people with established history on their cell phones to give them over to him for unspecified but totally above board reasons. What a legend.

      Given the options, I might vote for him just for laughs. I'll write him in, it's not like that's any more of a waste than voting for whoever the Libertarian party picks anyways.

      1. Heck why not? Just read that a goat won the election for mayor in a Vermont town. The goat was running against two dogs.

        Rather do that than any of the people running for President.

        My ideal president would actually spend maybe 10 hours a week actually working which would mostly consist of signing whatever papers Radar puts in front of him. The rest of the time would be spent greeting and having dinners with fellow dignitaries, playing golf and smiling in front of cameras.

        1. Honestly, having a president be as focused on cocaine and hookers as McAfee would be would likely be far less damaging to the country than having a president that focused on governing.

          Look at it this way, Trump spends like 70% of his time on Twitter and the country is doing great. McAfee would spend at least that much time on drugs and conspiracy theories, so if anything we'd be better off.

          1. Also I feel like John McAfee is the closest thing we're going to get to Zaphod Beeblebrox and that seems like a good enough reason on it's own.

            1. When I really turned away from conventional politics it was such a relief. It was “so long and thanks for all the fish”

  27. Wow a Reason article I almost liked, until talk of under represented minorities and such ruined it. Somehow we must factor that in to make it all fair? Another idiotic article written by an idiot... Reason should change it's name to Areason...

  28. Cue Bruce Willis in Die Hard...
    "I'm not the guy who just got budttfucked on national TV"

  29. Racism, amirite?

  30. This is a well-thought of piece that made it easy for people to understand the whole point. click here

  31. Wow! So much seething hate for Iowa, Suderman. Last time I checked Iowa was still part of America.

    1. He is obviously one of those guys who you are driving through the country with and every time you pass a farm he says “oh look! Cows!”

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  34. Reason, I love ya....but you're falling into the trap of smug media and pushing an outright unfounded narrative.

    "Iowa voters are disproportionately older, and the relatively high religiosity of Iowa voters and their discomfort with immigrants has, over the years, tilted national politics in a direction that, all else being equal, is more socially conservative and less immigrant-friendly."

    Let's unpack.
    This lily white, religulous, socially conservative state:
    -was the 4th state to legalize gay marriage
    -the first state to nominate an African American for president
    -the first state to nominate a female for president
    -the first state to nominate a gay man for president

    Oh, and they also have juice bars.

    Further, the state has always been accepting of immigrants. Both permanent and temporary. Sure, it's an acceptance out of necessity, but you would be hard pressed to find a small town in Iowa that is not supporting a Mexican grocery and Mexican restaurant....when they're having trouble supporting a 'western' market and local café. In recent years, some towns have adapted and welcomed and learned to coexist with pockets of immigrants from outside the hemisphere.

    What you're actually describing, in general, is the entire nation as a whole. Really, in fact, just about every first world nation at the moment. Albeit with varying degrees of religulousness. I'm not from Iowa. I did live there. And you've got them all wrong.

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