Charles Bruner

Enter Bleeding Heartland’s 2020 Iowa caucus prediction contest

Feb 09, 2020

Whos the Winner and What Did J.D. Do?

So who’s the winner (not me). Either Laura or John Webb in my book — he left out Buttigieg but was much closer in actual turnout. For Iowa, I think there are two big findings — (1) Joe Biden has only name recognition support, really, and (2) we don’t yet evidence the same energy as in 2012 — so we better unite.
I am still interested in how J.D. went — our three sitting members all went for Biden along with recognized leaders Vilsack and Gronstal; Hubbell went for Bloomberg and then Biden.
I would like to have a discussion of “philanthropcapitalism” and the elections. Gates, Bezos, Buffett, Zuckerberg, and Soros may all be Democrats — but why should they decide how to invest in our future, particularly in the policy arena. They may be atoning for their aggregating of wealth, but they also have a certain vested interest in capitalist accumulation. Better to have the money be invested on a more democratic and representative basis. And, of course, these are the “good” philanthrocapitalists. What about the Kochs, Abelsons, and De Vos’s seeking to impose their radical libertarian capitalism on us. I think the Hubbell’s support of Bloomberg on the first ballot is indicative of a philanthrocapitalist perspective that ultimately is not beneficial for democracy.
So what about J.D. in his caucus?

Confusion reigns as Iowa caucus results are delayed

Feb 04, 2020

What Worked and Didn't

Let’s be clear. 99 % of the caucus worked well, despite complicated rules. Thousands of volunteers and local democrats managed 1700 caucus sites and most were completed by 9:00 p.m. with complete counts to provide to the state party for entering and tabulating. Precinct chairs had about 12 numbers to report each (vote totals for the first round usually for 8 or so candidates who received votes and vote totals for 4 or so candidates in the final round). These then had to be entered into a spreadsheet and the results would be available (that spreadsheet can be seen on the Democratic party website).

This is not a huge task and is very straightforward — the complicated stuff occurred at the caucus sites themselves. In previous years, there likely would have been a phone bank to collect phoned-in results and computers to enter them and make sure they were right. Results would have been reported periodically, but by 11:00 p.m. certainly all but a few sites would have been in.

Instead, this year the state party relied on an app and its back-up was to call-in or text information. The app crashed and the call-in was not sufficient to handle calls nor was it able to enter the data when it got that information.

This is not rocket science or some deeply complex process. What is particularly baffling is the time it has taken to put into place a back-up plan. At many points individual candidates had more complete and reportable information than the state party — and political pros certainly knew the general results and their implications — but they could not provide them because there was no official data from the party.

Everyone leaving each precinct had been told the exact vote totals — no machine had to add up ballots. What could have been a model night for Democrats showing their deliberative and democratic decision-making process as efficient and well-managed
turned into a fiasco.

The results — which when finally reported will be entirely accurate — may also be tainted and not given the attention they deserve.

Enter Bleeding Heartland’s 2020 Iowa caucus prediction contest

Feb 01, 2020

Caucus Conjectures and Election Exhortations

1. 280,000, with an increase over 2008 disproportionately in college precincts and among millennials.

2. Biden 28 percent; Warren 23 percent; Sanders 22 percent; Buttigieg 12 percent; Klobuchar, 9 percent; uncommitted 4 percent. My view is the delegate count (electoral college) overweights rural and older precincts.

3. A muddle — Sanders and Biden and Warren 21 percent; Buttigieg 15 percent; Klobuchar 12 percent; Yang 4 percent; Steyer 2 percent; uncommitted 3 percent; other 1 percent. This is the popular vote. In 2016, while it wasn’t reported by the Iowa Democratic party (and rightfully so, according to the rules), I think the results would have shown Sanders at 48 percent, Clinton at 46 percent, and O’Malley at 5 percent. This could have changed the course of that primary election! The difference between 2 and 3 may also result in a confused (and therefore less relevant) Iowa picture and national reporting suggesting that Iowans do not know what they are doing (which, of course, we do, and Mark Shields is spot on about). The absence of an Iowa/NH makes campaign strategies (using money) like Mike Bloomberg’s much more probable.

4, Warren at 25 percent; Biden at 25 percent; Sanders at 21 percent; Buttigieg at 14 percent; Klobuchar at 10 percent; and uncommitted at 3 percent. See why it could be a muddle?

5. Delegate or popular vote one or popular vote after realignment? Biden — 46; Warren — 23; Sanders — 21; Klobuchar — 6; Buttegieg — 3.

6. Yes.

7. No.

8. I hope Warren. My guess is Klobuchar and, if necessary, moving to Biden.

9. Interesting — and how many of the Trump party and how many of the not-Trump party? If one thinks there are divides among the D’s, there are much greater hidden divides among the R’s. My answer is 25,000.

I support Elizabeth Warren so I probably have done this with a guardedly optimistic estimate of her vote. I think she is a good second choice between the old white guy establishment-establishment candidate Biden and the old white guy establishment-anti-establishment candidate Sanders — and would be a better candidate and President than either. There is no and never will be a perfect Presidential candidate — it is up to us (the electorate that values diversity, inclusion, compassion, and commitment to stewardship and vision on the part of candidates) to ensure that there is a political and policy movement that creates political will so our leaders will actually tackle the “existential” issues facing us — money and power in the hands of the few, global climate change, and inequity and blocked opportunity for those at the bottom and now middle of our society, with particular consequences to the healthy development of the next generation. Herbert Hoover said, “Blessed are the young; for they shall inherit the national debt.” They will inherit a lot more than that unless we elect leaders who tackle the tough challenges and embrace those of the next generations in fashioning solutions.

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