All political parties and candidates have bad days. But the new progressive Democratic Party had four of its worst days in recent memory in a single week in February.
On February 3, the Iowa caucuses imploded for the first time in their history. The new app-driven counting melted down, discrediting the very idea of caucusing in general.
The winner — Pete Buttigieg by two delegates over Bernie Sanders — was not known for days. The mess was ironic in at a number of ways.
The Democrats are the party of the Silicon Valley. They pride themselves on being on the cutting edge of youthful computer culture. But the inability to count simple votes was a bitter reminder that they understand the cyberworld no better than their Republican opponents.
Voters might remember the 2013 meltdown of the Obamacare website, the abject failure of Hillary Clinton’s supposedly sophisticated 2016 campaign analytics, and the incompetence of supposedly tech-driven 2016 polling.
Four years ago, the Democratic Party found ways to thwart socialist Bernie Sanders’s primary bid. Democratic National Committee interim chair Donna Brazile leaked CNN debate questions to Hillary Clinton, and the party used superdelegates to nullify Sanders’s grassroots surge.
This time around, the release of a pre-caucus Des Moines Register poll was canceled for the first time ever. Rumors swirled that the Democratic establishment was embarrassed over the likely strong showing of Sanders. Such conspiracy theories were only further fueled when it was not known for days who actually won the caucuses.
The Iowa mess confirmed that the Democratic Party is torn apart at a time when a near-record 90 percent of Republicans are united under President Donald Trump.