Tag Archives: Iowa

Bernie now No. 1 in WaPo’s ranking

The Washington Post’s Aaron Blake’s quasi-quarterly ranking of the 2020 Democratic Party presidential candidates has Bernie Sanders topping the list of 15.

(Blake notes that “this list is in order of likeliness to be the Democratic nominee” and also notes that “The field is also largely set now, with just a few big question marks outstanding,” with which I pretty much agree.

The Post notes that Bernie returns to No. 1, but I don’t remember that he ever made No. 1 before — that spot usually was reserved for establishmentarian candidates who weren’t actually No. 1, like Kamala Harris.)

In ranking him at No. 1, Blake too-briefly notes of Sanders: “Sanders’s $18.2 million raised in the first quarter tops in the field. Now we’ll see if he can rekindle some of the magic of 2016, which I’m not sure we’ve really seen just yet. It would sure help if he can get past this tax-return unforced error.”

Even while calling him No. 1, the establishmentarian, corporately owned and controlled media can’t resist taking a shot at Bernie.

Bernie’s “tax-return unforced error,” I guess, is that although he’s been railing against millionaires and billionaires (or millionayahhhs and billionayahhhs) for years now, he has become a millionaire himself from book sales. (Bernie has promised to release 10 years of his tax returns no later than tomorrow.)

If you’re already a Bernie hater, then you ignorantly, smugly, disingenuously scoff at his financial success — a millionaire democratic socialist! — but how you earn your money fucking matters.

Bernie wrote books that people chose to buy, including his best-selling Our Revolution; he didn’t obtain his money by paying a bunch of overworked employees a non-living wage and/or by outrageously overcharging someone for a live-saving pharmaceutical and/or by contributing to the destruction of the planet in order to get his million. He earned it fairly and squarely. Therefore, I have no problem with his financial success — which, compared to the income of the titans of capitalism, is a fucking pittance anyway.

And why would it be a shock that someone with Bernie’s national renown — he did quite well against Billary Clinton in 2016, and because of his 2016 run he starts out in a much stronger position this election cycle — should have some money?

And as fucked up as it is, we do still live in a capitalist system — in which anyone, if he or she writes a best-selling book, for example, can get some moolah.

But I digress.

In his current ranking of 15, Blake drops Joe Biden all the way down to No. 6, noting:

Whatever you think about the complaints women made against Biden alleging inappropriate physical contact, Biden’s handling of it — deciding to turn it into a joke — was a reminder how quickly things can go awry with the freewheeling Biden.

I’ve been arguing for a while that his stock is too high, and this episode has helped affirm it. He’s got a front-runner’s poll numbers but needs to actually show he’s a much better candidate than he was in 1988 and 2008.

I agree wholeheartedly that Biden’s “stock is too high” and that he “needs to actually show he’s a much better candidate than he was in 1988 and 2008,” and not only do I very much not want the uninspiring, centrist, corporate-friendly Biden as the nominee (again, to me he is Billary 2.0), but I don’t think that he’ll emerge as the nominee, not in the current political climate, in which the party’s nominee won’t be decided by the national electorate (which for the sake of argument we’ll say is centrist), but will be decided mostly by party animals, who these days lean to the left.

But as much as I’m not a fan of Biden, I think that putting him at No. 6 is too low; I think that he still probably still belongs in the top three, as we never should underestimate the power of Democrats to pick (or just sit back and allow…) a shitty candidate to become the presidential nominee. I mean, they just did that in 2016 with Billary.

Blake ranks Kamala Harris as No. 2 (still too high, probably, given her single-digit nationwide polling numbers), Elizabeth Warren as No. 3 (probably too high, given that her polling numbers are even lower than Harris’), Cory Booker at No. 4 (way too high, as he can’t even get 5 percent in most polls), Beto O’Rourke at No. 5 (I believe that the ideas-free O’Rourke stands almost no chance, although he polls closely to Harris), and Pete Buttigieg at No. 7, behind Biden.

Buttigieg actually has a better chance than many if not most might believe, I think.

He has polled in the top three in at least two polls of Iowa voters taken over the past month, and polled in the top three in at least one poll of New Hampshire voters taken this month.

We shouldn’t forget the case of John Kerry, whose presidential campaign was on life support until he came back, Lazarus style, when he won the Iowa caucuses (which Howard Dean was “supposed” to win [he came in third]) and then won the New Hampshire primary — and then went on to win five of the seven states in the next contest, dubbed “Mini Tuesday.”

After that, the nomination was all Kerry’s.

Thus far I’ve focused on the nationwide presidential preference polls and have neglected to talk about the slingshot effect that winning Iowa and/or New Hampshire usually has on a presidential race. (The Iowa caucuses are the first contest of the presidential primary season, followed quickly by the New Hampshire primary.) Win one or both of those two states, and you are in good shape.

(The only Democratic presidential nominee who hadn’t won Iowa or New Hampshire in my lifetime was Bill Clinton, who came in at second place in New Hampshire but still eked out a win of the nomination.

In case you were wondering, in 2016 Billary “won” Iowa by 49.8 percent to Bernie’s 49.6 percent — yes, it was that close in the midst of talk about cheating by Team Billary — and Bernie blew Billary out of the water in New Hampshire, 60.1 percent to 37.7 percent.)

I think it’s unlikely that Pete Buttigieg will pull a surprise win like John Kerry did in 2004 — I mean, Kerry had been a U.S. senator at that time, whereas Buttigieg has been only the mayor of a not-huge city — but it’s not impossible.

As the voters on the Repugnican side chose outsider Pussygrabber in 2016, it’s not impossible that the Democratic voters in 2020 will want a fresh, young face, and that would be Buttigieg’s.

Still, though, if I had to put my money on it, I’d say that Bernie Sanders is going to be the 2020 Democratic Party presidential nominee — not just because he’s the candidate I want to become the nominee, but because he came surprisingly close to Billary in 2016 and because the party today is more Bernie’s than it is the Billarybots’, as evidenced by how most of the contenders for the 2020 nomination have adopted Bernie’s key positions.

You don’t mimic a loser. You mimic a winner.

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Bernie takes Oregon, Billary (barely) takes another former slave state

Updated below (on Wednesday, May 18, 2016)

With 99.9 percent of its precincts reporting, Billary Clinton won the presidential primary in Kentucky today by only 0.5 percent (46.8 percent to 46.3 percent), while with just over 61 percent of Oregon’s precincts reporting as I type this sentence, it’s Bernie with 53.1 percent to Billary’s 46.9 percent.

Kentucky has been called for Billary and Oregon has been called for Bernie. This brings “fringe” candidate Bernie to 20 states won thus far.

Here’s the updated map, with Bernie’s wins shaded green (Billary’s are in puke yellow and the states that have yet to vote are in gray):

File:Democratic Party presidential primaries results, 2016.svg

Note the states that Billary won/“won” by not even 2 percentage points:

  • Iowa: 49.9 percent Billary, 49.6 percent Bernie (0.3 percent difference)
  • Massachusetts: 50.1 percent Billary, 48.7 percent Bernie (1.4 percent difference)
  • Illinois: 50.5 percent Billary, 48.7 percent Bernie (1.8 percent difference)
  • Missouri: 49.6 percent Billary, 49.4 percent Bernie (0.2 percent difference)
  • And now, Kentucky, by a whopping 0.5 percent

The only win within 2 percentage points that was Bernie’s was Michigan, 49.7 percent Bernie to 48.3 percent Billary, a difference of 1.4 percent.

I’m happy that Bernie is staying in the race until every last state has voted. This is what democracy looks like: Giving all of the people a voice.

Whether Bernie wins or loses, at least the people of each state will have had the opportunity to weigh in on the next leader of the nation.

The Billarybots hate this, which tells you volumes about their character, their ethics and their morals.

P.S. Speaking of character, ethics and morals, compare the map above to the map of the states right before the Civil War:

It’s a chilling fact: For the most part, states (and former territories that now are states) that had slavery (like, um, Kentucky) have voted for Billary, and states (and former territories that now are states) that were free (like, um, Oregon, Washington, and Idaho, which used to form the Oregon Territory) have voted for Bernie.

The two graphics are worth thousands of words.

Update (Wednesday, May 18, 2016): With 100 percent of its precincts now reporting, Kentucky still sits at only a 0.5 percent difference, and as I type this sentence, Oregon, with 92.6 percent of precincts reporting, stands at Bernie with 55.8 percent and Billary with 44.2 percent, a difference of 11.6 percent.

I expect Bernie to win California on June 7. Yes, that’s a prediction. I don’t predict that he’ll win it by a double-digit margin, as he won the other Left Coast states of Oregon and Washington, but I expect him to win it by at least two or three percentage points.

I make this prediction even though The Huffington Post’s average of polls of California right now has Billary ahead by 9.1 percent and Real Clear Politics’ average of California polls has Billary up by 9.7 percent right now.

I have seen precious little enthusiasm for Billary here in California thus far. If my prediction is wrong and she does win the state, it will be because she’ll get the geriatric vote (seriously) — people who are voting for her but just don’t talk about it (including the fact that they’re not on social media voicing their politics). And also, I suppose, it will be the support of younger people who are just too embarrassed to admit that they’re actually voting for Billary.

If Billary does win California, which I put at less than a 50-percent chance, I expect it to be by less than two or three full percentage points. It might even come as close as Kentucky or Iowa or Missouri (that is, no more than half of one percentage point).

Let me make it clear that while I support Bernie winning every delegate that he possibly can, I expect Billary Clinton to clinch the nomination. The super-delegates pretty much by definition are Democratic Party hacks, and hacks do what they’re told to do, and Billary going into the convention in July with more pledged delegates than Bernie — which is likely to be the case (she still leads him by about 275 pledged delegates, as has been the case for a while now) — will give the super-lemmings delegates the excuse to do what they wanted to do anyway: crown Billary.

I expect the super-delegates to give the win to Billary even though Bernie Sanders is doing two to three times better than she is in the match-up polls against Donald Trump. Real Clear Politics right now has Billary ahead of Trump by only 5.2 percent and Bernie ahead of Trump by 13 percent. Horrifyingly, The Huffington Post’s average of the match-up polls has Billary only 3.3 percent ahead of Trump and Bernie with a much more comfortable margin of 12.1 percent.

With Billary only around 3 percent to 5 percent ahead of Trump in the match-up polls right now — and this is because the nation’s electorate apparently hates Billary just a little less than the nation’s electorate hates Trump — you’d think that the Billarybots would be a lot nicer to us Berners instead of painting pretty much all of us as sexist, misogynist, violent animals who are just like Trump’s supporters.

But no.

The Lemmings for Billary are determined to go right off of that looming cliff that is in plain, clear view.

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Live-blogging the eighth Democratic presidential debate tonight

Tonight’s Democratic Party presidential debate in Miami, Florida, is the eighth of 10 scheduled Dem debates (recall that six originally had been scheduled, but then four more were added), and it takes place just a few days after the seventh debate, in Flint, Michigan, which I think we safely can say Bernie Sanders won, since he won Michigan yesterday.

(Bernie won Michigan by 1.5 percent, but hey, it was a win; again, Billary “won” Iowa by only 0.3 percent and won Massachussetts by 1.4 percent.)

While I just live-blogged a Dem debate and am not too excited about live-blogging another one so soon afterward, tonight’s debate is an important one. Hey, Bernie debated in Michigan and then won Michigan; if he wins Florida on Tuesday, which would indicate that he’d also win Ohio (and perhaps also Illinois and/or Missouri) on Tuesday, I don’t know that Billary could recover from that.

And yes, were Bernie to continue win the big states, such as Ohio, Florida, Illinois, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, California and New York, I don’t see the “super-delegates” continuing to support Billary against the popular tide (especially against how their own states voted).

So: I will live-blog tonight’s debate, which begins at 9 p.m. Eastern/6 p.m. Pacific. The debate is being sponsored by Univision and the Washington Post, and one of its moderators is Univision’s Jorge Ramos, whom I like and respect greatly.

Information on how to watch the debate is here; I probably will watch it via CNN’s online streaming.

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Still Bernie or bust for me (also: Live-blogging the 7th Dem debate tomorrow)

Democratic U.S. presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is hugged as he arrives to speak at a campaign rally in Warren, Michigan

Reuters photo

Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, a progressive U.S. senator for Vermont, is hugged before a rally today in Warren, Michigan. Today Bernie handily won the caucuses in Kansas and Nebraska, while Billary Clinton picked up yet another state of mouth-breathing, knuckle-dragging denizens in the South (Louisiana). Tomorrow night Bernie debates Billary Clinton in Flint, Michigan. Michigan holds its primary election on Tuesday; if Bernie takes the state, gone (at least until Billary’s next win) should be the bullshit talk of Billary’s “inevitability.”

Today Bernie Sanders won the Democratic Party presidential caucuses in Kansas and Nebraska, and Billary Clinton, in keeping with her popularity in the South, won the backasswards red state of Louisiana.

Thus far the map of the 2016 Democratic Party presidential primary race (this one from Wikipedia) looks like this, with Bernie’s wins in green and Billary’s in gold:

Note that Iowa was a tie, with Billary “beating” Bernie by a whopping 0.3 percent. Also close was Massachusetts, which Billary won by 1.4 percent. (It apparently helped her to at least to some degree that Bill Clinton apparently was electioneering for Billary at polling places in Massachusetts on “Super Tuesday.” [His mere presence at a polling place, even if he didn’t speak a word, was electioneering, in my book, given how well he is known as a former president and since his wife appeared on the ballot at the polling places that he visited (only to “thank the poll workers,” he claimed). Of course, the Clintons are royalty, and members of royalty are above the law.])

Nevada wasn’t a blowout win for Billary, either; she won that state’s caucuses by 5.3 percent.

Billary’s wins in the Southern states have been in the double digits, which speaks volumes to me. The South is another fucking country, as far as I’m concerned.

Bernie’s double-digit wins in states like Colorado, Kansas, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Oklahoma and Vermont (and his almost-wins in Iowa and Massachusetts) indicate to me that he represents the real Americayou know, the portion of the United States that didn’t practice slavery and wasn’t part of the Confederacy.

Queen Billary says that she’s the real Democrat in the race, yet why is her power base in the South — which is not exactly a bastion of the values and beliefs of the modern Democratic Party?

At any rate, although Billary once again stupidly was declared “inevitable” after “Super Tuesday” this past week (she won seven states [all of them, except for Massachusetts, in the South] to Bernie’s four), this remains a race.

(As many have noted, if a clear majority of the voters and caucus-goers pick Bernie over Billary, the so-called “super-delegates” will be pressured not to subvert democracy, but to go with the popular will and to therefore go with Bernie — if the Democratic Party is to survive.*)

Next up is Maine, which caucuses tomorrow, and then on Tuesday, Michigan and Mississippi hold their primary elections.

I expect Bernie to win Maine, and of course Billary will take the backasswards red state of Mississippi. I’m hoping that Bernie takes Michigan; that would be a real coup for him.

In any event, tomorrow night is the seventh Democratic Party presidential debate. It will be held in Flint, Michigan, and is to be carried by CNN at 9 p.m. Eastern/6 p.m. Pacific.

I plan to live-blog it, but I might do it differently this time; truth be told, after having live-blogged the first six Democratic debates, I can tell you that these debates get repetitive. Tomorrow night I might decide to live-blog only new material and the more interesting exchanges, and let the repetitive crap go.

Finally, if you are a regular reader of mine you will know this already, but I’ll say it again: For me it’s still Bernie or bust.

I will not support Billary Clinton, Queen of the South, in any way. Not a penny and certainly not my vote, not in California’s primary election in June or in the general presidential election in November.

Billary Clinton does not represent the United States of America or the Democratic Party to me.

My world is a progressive one, and she is from another planet.

P.S. Speaking of other planets, as far as Donald Trump is concerned: I’m sorry that he has gotten this far. It’s a sad statement on the sorry state of sociopolitical affairs in the nation that he has.

Donald Trump does not represent all white male Americans. Let me say that. He represents some of them. (White males are around 31 percent of all Americans, and Trump has the support of about 36 percent of Repugnicans, men and women, and around 39 percent of Americans identify as Repugnican or leaning Repugnican, while around 43 percent of Americans identify as Democratic or leaning Democratic. So Trump has the support of around 36 percent of around 39 percent of Americans, including women, so let’s please not say that he’s representative of most white American men. He is not. He is representative of a loud and obnoxious minority of them who share perhaps three brain cells among themselves.)

Donald Trump to me is evil not so much in that he has all of these definite evil plans for the groups of people whom he definitely would persecute, like his forebears the Nazi Germans did, but in that because he has no moral compass and no apparent conscience, but is pure ego, he would go in whatever direction he would perceive to be politically beneficial to himself, regardless of its harm to many others. He sociopathically lacks all empathy, very apparently.

Sure, that also pretty much describes corporate-ass-licker Billary Clinton’s entire political career, but would another Nazi Germany arise under Billary Clinton? Probably not. Under Donald Trump? It certainly could.

That said, I still think that I prefer the overt fascism of Donald Trump to the “friendly” fascism of Billary Clinton; I still think that I’d rather deal with the obvious wolf than with the wolf in sheep’s clothing.

On that note, both the Democratic Party and the Repugnican Party establishments — the Coke Party and the Pepsi Party — need to go.

Yes, the thought that the establishment parties’ demise could be replaced by something akin to Germany’s Nazism (that is, nationalism, far-right-wing ideology/fascism, white supremacism, etc.) is a frightening thought, but there is an alternative to that: the progressive, inclusive, democratic socialism that real Democrat Bernie Sanders promotes.

*While I don’t share Salon.com writer Andrew O’Hehir’s assessment of Billary’s chances of emerging as the 2016 Democratic Party presidential nominee — I think that he overstates her chances (for one thing, she remains underwater in her favorability polling of all voters by double digits — while Bernie’s favorability polling of all voters still has him liked more than disliked by double digits) — I do agree with O’Hehir’s assessment that there is a civil war within the Democratic Party just as there is within the Repugnican Tea Party.

It’s just that the Democrats are “nicer” about it, and it hasn’t blown up (yet).

Whether Billary emerges as the 2016 Democratic Party presidential nominee or not, the fact remains that her center-right brand of Democrat is sorely out of date, is unsustainable and needs to go, and it will go; it’s only a question of for how much longer the Clintonistas can keep the Democrat-in-name-only game going.

If we Berners — progressives — can’t take back our party this year, we will take it back in the near future.

Billary Clinton is not in a good place politically, not in the long term.

Why?

Well, if Bernie beats her, it will be seen as a victory for progressives. (Of course, if Bernie beats her but then goes on to lose in November, he’ll be lumped in with the likes of George McGovern, Walter Mondale and Michael Dukakis, which probably would be damaging for the progressive brand and seen as vindicating the Clintonistas’ brand of the Democratic Party, of course. [This wouldn’t last forever, but would last for some time, I surmise.])

But if Billary wins the nomination but then loses in November, it most definitely will be the final stake in the cold, stupid hearts of the Clintonistas. The members of the party will look for a new direction, and we progressives are quite ready to supply that direction.

But even if Billary wins both the party’s presidential nomination and the White House, she’ll have a very rough go of it.

She will be attacked relentlessly by the Repugnican Tea Party traitors, and if you look at who her supporters are now, it appears as though as president she’ll have the support of the Democrats in the South — Democrats who are fairly powerless within their own states.

The rest of us — us Northerners, mostly — aren’t at all thrilled about Billary Clinton now, so she probably can’t count on much political support from us should she actually become president.

And that’s her fault, not ours.

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Bernie wins N.H., of course; Robo-Rubio apparently KO’d from race

Updated below

With 92 percent of the precincts reporting, Bernie Sanders beat Billary Clinton in New Hampshire yesterday by more than 20 percentage points — 60 percent to 38.3 percent, per Politico.

Final polling had Bernie beating Billary by around 13 percent, so I had expected him to win (by at least high single digits), but no, I didn’t expect him to beat Billary by the 20 percent or so that he’d garnered in some of the polls.

We’ll see how the Nevada caucuses pan out on February 20, but until then, Bernie gets to be the victor for the next week and a half. We’ll see if that’s enough time to erode any lead that Billary might have had in Nevada.

I mean, keep in mind that Billary won New Hampshire in 2008, but just barely — she beat Barack Obama by 3 percent in the popular vote, but both of them walked away from the state with the same number of delegates.

So ponder the fact that Billary beat Obama (barely) in New Hampshire in 2008 but lost by double digits there to a self-proclaimed democratic socialist yesterday. Methinks that the times have changed but that Billary still lives in the 1990s, when a center-right Democratic Party, a Repugnican Lite Party, a Democratic Party in name only, still was OK with enough Democratic voters for sellout DINOs like Billary to be able to win a nationwide (or other big) election.

On the Repugnican Tea Party side, with 92 percent of the precincts reporting, it’s Donald Trump at 35.2 percent in yesterday’s primary election in New Hampshire, John Kasich at 15.8 percent, Ted Cruz at 11.7 percent, Jeb! Bush at 11.1 percent and Robo-Rubio at 10.5 percent. Just after Robo-Rubio is the man who brought him down, Chris Christie, at 7.5 percent.

If there were fewer competitors and if Christie hadn’t beaten him down at the last Repugnican Tea Party presidential debate, Robo-Rubio would have done better than fifth place (thus far) in New Hampshire yesterday. (Yes, the vote-counting isn’t over, but with more than 90 percent of it complete, I don’t expect Robo-Rubio to get into the top three.)

So it looks like the Repugnican Tea Party is stuck with Donald Trump and with Ted Cruz, the only two candidates who ranked within the top three in both Iowa and New Hampshire (unless Jeb! Bush actually overtakes Cruz and finishes at third place in New Hamsphire; we’ll see).

Trump loses to both Bernie and Billary in the match-up polling, but Cruz actually barely beats Billary in the match-up polling, whereas Bernie barely beats Cruz. Bernie does better against both Trump and Cruz than does Billary, in fact, so, as Robo-Rubio might say: We can dispel with the fiction that Billary is more electable than is Bernie. We can dispel with the fiction that Billary is more electable than is Bernie. We can dispel with the fiction that Billary is more electable than is Bernie. We can dispel with the fiction that Billary is more electable than is Bernie. We can dispel with the fiction that…

Update: It’s being reported now that Chris Christie is dropping out of the race. 

Well, we can’t say that he accomplished nothing; he apparently knocked Robo-Rubio out of the race, and, again, Robo-Rubio had been polling against Billary and Bernie better than anyone else in his party.

With 95.7 percent of New Hampshire’s precincts reporting, Robo-Rubio remains at fifth place, with only 10.5 percent of the vote.

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Iowa’s Des Moines Register: Dem caucuses were ‘a debacle, period’

Here, in its entirety, is an editorial that The Des Moines Register published last night (links are the Register’s):

Once again the world is laughing at Iowa. Late-night comedians and social-media mavens are having a field day with jokes about missing caucus-goers and coin flips.

That’s fine. We can take ribbing over our quirky process. But what we can’t stomach is even the whiff of impropriety or error.

What happened Monday night at the Democratic caucuses was a debacle, period. Democracy, particularly at the local party level, can be slow, messy and obscure. But the refusal to undergo scrutiny or allow for an appeal reeks of autocracy.

The Iowa Democratic Party must act quickly to assure the accuracy of the caucus results, beyond a shadow of a doubt.

First of all, the results were too close not to do a complete audit of results. Two-tenths of 1 percent separated Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton. A caucus should not be confused with an election, but it’s worth noting that much larger margins trigger automatic recounts in other states.

Second, too many questions have been raised. Too many accounts have arisen of inconsistent counts, untrained and overwhelmed volunteers, confused voters, cramped precinct locations, a lack of voter registration forms and other problems. Too many of us, including members of the Register editorial board who were observing caucuses, saw opportunities for error amid Monday night’s chaos.

The Sanders campaign is rechecking results on its own, going precinct by precinct, and is already finding inconsistencies, said Rania Batrice, a Sanders spokeswoman. The campaign seeks the math sheets or other paperwork that precinct chairs filled out and were supposed to return to the state party. They want to compare those documents to the results entered into a Microsoft app and sent to the party.

“Let’s compare notes. Let’s see if they match,” Batrice said Wednesday.

Dr. Andy McGuire, chairwoman of the Iowa Democratic Party, dug in her heels and said no. She said the three campaigns had representatives in a room in the hours after the caucuses and went over the discrepancies.

McGuire knows what’s at stake. Her actions only confirm the suspicions, wild as they might be, of Sanders supporters. Their candidate, after all, is opposed by the party establishment — and wasn’t even a Democrat a few months ago.

So her path forward is clear: Work with all the campaigns to audit results. Break silly party tradition and release the raw vote totals. Provide a list of each precinct coin flip and its outcome, as well as other information sought by the Register. Be transparent.

And then call for a blue-ribbon commission to study how to improve the caucuses, as the Republican Party of Iowa did after its own fiasco in 2012. Monday’s mess showed that it’s time for the Democrats to change, too.

The caucuses have become something they were never intended to be. It’s as if RAGBRAI tried to morph into the Tour de France. It wasn’t built for the speed or the significance.

The current process grew out of efforts to find a more democratic way to choose delegates to conventions, after the grassroots saw how Democratic power-brokers controlled the nominating process in 1968. But the caucuses have become as antiquated and opaque as the smoke-filled rooms of yore.

Democrats should ask themselves: What do we want the Iowa caucus to be? How can we preserve its uniqueness while bringing more order? Does it become more like a straw poll or primary? How do we strike the balance between tradition and transparency?

We have time to consider these questions. First, however, we need answers to what happened Monday night. The future of the first-in-the-nation caucuses demands it.

As I noted recently, there is no good reason for Iowa not to scrap the caucus model altogether and adopt a primary-election model, which most of the states possess.*

There should be paper ballots that can be recounted if necessary, as it is here in California. No caucusing, just secret ballots cast by individual voters — again, on paper, so that recounts and audits are possible.

We can’t have faith or trust in the results of what’s supposed to be a democratic process if we have no way to check those results, especially when the results are so close that they are within a fraction of 1 percent — and, of course, when a state’s Democratic Party official refuses to release for review the documentation that is supposed to back up the official results of a democratic process, as is the case in Iowa.

You’d think that Team Billary would want to avoid the skepticism and doubt of Billary’s razor-thin “win” in Iowa, would want to remove all doubt and skepticism that Billary “won” fairly and squarely, but I’ve yet to read or hear that Team Billary has asked for the documentation of the Iowa caucuses to be released.

Curious.

*Wikipedia states this of the New Hampshire primaries:

The scheduled date of the New Hampshire primary always officially starts out as the second Tuesday in March, which is the date when town meetings and non-partisan municipal elections are traditionally held.

New Hampshire law stipulates (in section RSA 653:9 of the statute book) that the secretary of state can change the date to ensure that the New Hampshire primary will take place at least seven days before any “similar election” in any other state.

The Iowa caucuses are not considered to be a similar election. In recent election cycles, the New Hampshire primary has taken place the week after the Iowa caucus.

New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation primary status was threatened in 2007, when both the Republican and Democratic National Committees moved to give more populous states a bigger influence in the presidential race.

Several states also sought to move up the dates of their 2008 primaries in order to have more influence and dilute the power of the New Hampshire primary. Originally held in March, the date of the New Hampshire primary has been moved up repeatedly to maintain its status as first. The 2008 primary was held on January 8.

Perhaps Iowans don’t want to compete with New Hampshire’s demand to always hold the first primary anywhere in the nation, so they don’t want to let go of the caucus model, but, it seems to me, a hybrid is possible: caucus as usual, but then cast votes on paper ballots as in a primary election, so that there is a clear paper trail of ballots.

P.S. Slate.com’s Josh Vorhees weighs in on the Register’s editorial and the problems with the Democratic Iowa caucuses, and concludes: “So, it’s fair to wonder: Would the Iowa Democratic Party be as confident in its final results if they would have shown Sanders with the narrow lead as opposed to the other way around?”

Yup.

Methinks that the Iowa Democratic Party wanted to deliver a “win” to Billary, whether she actually won or not.

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Live-blogging: Is Bernie Sanders about to win first-to-weigh-in Iowa?

Updated below (on Tuesday, February 2, 2016)

The Democratic winner of the Iowa caucuses appears to be … a tie (as I type this sentence at 9:30 p.m. Pacific Time).

8:43 p.m.: It’s 8:43 p.m. Pacific Time as I type this sentence, and as I type this sentence, Politico has Billary Clinton at 49.8 percent and Bernie Sanders at 49.6 percent in the Iowa caucuses, a whopping difference of 0.2 percent… This is with 93.8 percent of the reporting in.

Apparently Billary is walking away with more delegates than Bernie, but if Bernie wins the percentage war, he’ll be declared and known as the winner of Iowa, I do believe…

8:47 p.m.: Politico now has Billary at 49.9 percent and Bernie at 49.6 percent, with 93.9 percent reporting.

Martin O’Malley already has dropped out of the race; he stands at 0.5 percent in Iowa right now.

8:51 p.m.: We’re back to 49.8 percent Billary to 49.6 percent Bernie…

8:53 p.m.: Back to 49.9 percent Billary to 49.6 percent Bernie, with 94.1 percent reporting. I truly have no idea which one is going to win, but whoever wins, apparently it’s going to turn out to be almost exactly 50-50, so the bragging rights will be quite minimal, it seems to me (except that, again, Billary very apparently will get more delegates from Iowa than will Bernie).

9:00 p.m.: Ugh. This is painful. Still at 49.9 percent to 49.6 percent, with 94.3 percent reporting.

On the Repugnican Tea Party side, Ted Cruz has been declared the winner of Iowa (with about 28 percent), with Donald Trump and Marco Rubio in at second and third place (with about 24 percent and 23 percent, respectively). Cruz is a scary individual, but I recall that in 2012 Iowans picked as their No. 1 Prick Santorum, so I’m not overly spooked over Cruz yet.

That said, as I’ve noted before, Marco Rubio is the one the Dems should fear. I can’t see either Trump or Cruz winning the White House, but I can see Rubio winning it. He’s evil and insane like Cruz and Trump, but he conceals it much better than they do.

9:09 p.m.: With 95.1 percent reporting, we remain at Billary at 49.9 percent to Bernie at 49.6 percent… Again, round those up and that’s 50-50, so I see no real bragging rights for either candidate, except that, again, apparently Billary is getting at least 28 delegates from Iowa and Bernie is getting 21 of them. (I have to plead ignorance as to how the number of awarded delegates is determined. It very apparently isn’t strictly tied to the percentages, or it wouldn’t be a difference of seven delegates [thus far].)

9:19 p.m.: This is surreal. With 95.4 percent reporting, we’re back to Billary at 49.8 percent and Bernie at 49.6 percent… The way this has been trending, I expect Billary to beat Bernie by no more than 0.3 percent, if she beats him, and he still might win, it seems to me, or they’d have called it already, and they haven’t. Of course, if Bernie does win, I doubt that it will be by more than around 0.3 percent. Again: surreal.

9:30 p.m.: I just found a graphic to go with this and popped it up at top. With 95.8 percent reporting, we’re back at Billary at 49.9 percent and Bernie at 49.6 percent…

9:40 p.m.: We remain stuck at Billary 49.9 percent to Bernie 49.6 percent, with 96.5 percent reporting. I don’t expect the final difference between the two to exceed 0.5 percent.

Yet again: No bragging rights here, except that, of course, it says something about Bernie that he at least tied Queen Billary, whom conventional “wisdom” coronated a long time ago.

I mean, this is her second time around in Iowa, and the best that she could do, apparently, is a tie

And her opponent calls himself a (democratic) socialist; he hasn’t waited for the traitors on the right to slap that label on him as a pejorative. And he hasn’t been running for president (at least) since 2000, like Billary has.

9:55 p.m.: With 97.1 percent of the vote in, we’re still at 49.9 percent Billary to 49.6 percent Bernie. I don’t see Billary hitting even 50.0 percent, although she might, and it seems to me that psychologically, there is something about hitting 50.0 percent that helps a candidate, whereas 49.9 percent is seen as a bigger loss than it actually is. (This is why shit costs, say, $4.90 or $4.99 instead of $5.00…)

In any event, I’m off to bed now. Again, the final results are going to be so close that if Bernie or Billary is declared the “winner” of Iowa, it won’t mean much, as it will have been by a fraction of 1 percent, probably by no more than 0.3 percent.

I’ll update this tomorrow if necessary.

Update (Tuesday, February 2, 2016): This is sooooo typical of Billary. CNN reports:

Hillary Clinton declared victory early Tuesday morning in a razor-thin contest against Bernie Sanders in Iowa. But Democratic party officials have not yet declared a winner.

“Hillary Clinton has won the Iowa Caucus,” the Clinton campaign said. “After thorough reporting — and analysis — of results, there is no uncertainty and Secretary Clinton has clearly won the most national and state delegates.”

The state party indicated in a separate statement that it was not ready to make a call.

“The results tonight are the closest in Iowa Democratic caucus history,” Iowa party chairman Andy McGuire said. “We will report that final precinct when we have confirmed those results with the chair.”

One thing is clear after Monday night’s Iowa caucuses: there’s a long, volatile election season ahead before two deeply fractured parties can unite behind a nominee. …

Again, according to my very limited knowledge as to how Iowa awards delegates, Billary won more delegates in Iowa, but with 99.9 percent reporting, per Politico, she is at 49.9 percent to Bernie’s 49.6 percent.

So for Team Billary to claim that she’s clearly the people’s choice, at least in Iowa, is quite bullshit, given the imperfections of the Iowa caucus system (gotta love that line “there is no uncertainty”; if you have to claim that, it means that there is some uncertainty), and to brag about a lead of 0.3 percent demonstrates how desperate you are. I mean, Billary came in at third place in Iowa in 2008, so of course she’d love to claim a No. 1 win today, even if we’re talking a whopping difference of 0.3 percent.

Bernie will go on to win New Hampshire on February 9. (His lead there approaches 20 percent; see here and here.) Only if Billary clearly had won Iowa would she have been able to improve her outcome in New Hampshire.

We’ll see how Nevadans vote on February 20 (Nevada is the third state to weigh in). If Bernie wins Nevada, then yes, we will be in for a bit of a wrangle, methinks.

In the meantime, the degree to which Billary and the Billarybots spin her embarrassing tie in Iowa as a win demonstrates their desperation (as well as their character). Billary, with all of her corporate cash and her establishmentarian support, should have done much better in Iowa than she did against a rumpled, 74-year-old (democratic) socialist who only relatively recently obtained a comb. That it was a tie reveals, as 2008 did, what a weak candidate Billary Clinton is, that those of us who are left of center just aren’t at all that into her.

P.S. Speaking of the psychological significance of hitting at least 50.0 percent, if you add Bernie’s 49.6 percent and Martin O’Malley’s 0.6 percent, you get 50.2 percent of the vote in Iowa last night that was not for Billary. Just sayin’.

P.P.S. To (try to) clarify, the percentages to which I have referred above (i.e., 49.9 percent for Billary, 49.6 percent for Bernie and 0.6 percent for O’Malley) are percentages of “state delegate equivalents” earned in Iowa, not percentages of individuals’ votes.

Again, I don’t claim to be an expert in the fairly complicated ins and outs of the Iowa caucuses’ process.

Slate.com’s Josh Vorhees does a pretty good job of briefly explaining the process here.

Vorhees concludes that “There is a strong case to be made that more Iowans showed up to caucus for Sanders [last] night than did for Clinton,” but notes that “the Sanders campaign says that it doesn’t foresee contesting the final results.”

P.P.P.S.: The Associated Press explains further that in Iowa Billary Clinton garnered 23 delegates and Bernie Sanders garnered 21.

The AP notes that 2,382 delegates must be won in order to secure the party’s presidential nomination, and that thus far Billary has 385 so-called “superdelegates” on her side to Bernie’s 29. (“Superdelegates” may switch from Billary to Bernie, and many of them probably will if he racks up a lot of wins in the coming states’ primaries and caucuses.)

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