Corrupt or Incompetent? No Good Answer for Democrats in Iowa

Probably my favorite line in the movie Moneyball is uttered in the wonderful scene where Billy Bean (Brad Pitt) is trying to teach his protégé (Joshua Hill) how to cut a professional baseball player.  Bean explains that delivering bad news works best if done with a detached, businesslike manner.  He compares the unpleasant task to the job of a hired assassin by asking, "Would you rather get a bullet to the head, or five to the chest and bleed to death?"

Hill replies, "Are those my only two options?"  

Therein lies the problem for Democrats come November.  There are only two possible explanations for the debacle in Iowa, and neither of them is good.  Either Democrats have corrupted the elections process so that Bernie Sanders cannot possibly win the nomination, no matter how well he does with their primary voters, or they are so incompetent that they can't even run a caucus in a state with a relatively small population.

The largest city in Iowa, Des Moines, is about the same size as Augusta (home of the Masters golf tournament), the second largest city in Georgia.  The entire population of Iowa (3 million) is only a little more than half the size of metropolitan Atlanta (5 million).  It seems almost inconceivable that a caucus in which the top four candidates received less than two thousand votes combined could get so screwed up that there are calls for the results to be scrapped and a second caucus held.  Is the Iowa election process being run by the Three Stooges?

There is reason to believe that corruption is the better explanation.  The results of the very last poll taken prior to the caucus by CNN and the Des Moines Register were never released to the public.  Hillary allegedly defeated Bernie in the 2016 Iowa caucus by a very narrow margin.  In 2020, the Iowa Democratic Party has this time declared that Pete Buttigieg won the State Delegate Equivalent Count (not to be confused with an actual vote count, which Sanders won) and would receive 1.5 more delegates to the national convention than Sanders as a result.

Unfortunately, we can't take incompetence completely off the table as a possibility only because we don't have any proof of corruption — just a lot of compelling evidence that seems to point in that direction.  Why are the Democrats allowing Bernie to run in their primaries if the fix is in so he cannot possibly win?  Why do they let him run as a Democrat when he leaves the party as soon as he loses and reverts to his "independent" socialist position?

And why would Bernie let the Democrats screw him over in two consecutive presidential campaigns, if the best explanation is incompetence?  Wouldn't he be better off to run as a third-party candidate, assuming he really hoped to win the 2020 election?

The answer to both sets of questions is money.  For a socialist with a lot of love for communism, Bernie does seem to love money — but just as my daughter whined when she was ten, he doesn't want to work for it.  After 2016, Sanders cashed in his chips and bought his third house, a lakefront vacation home in Vermont that cost only about a hundred grand more than my only house.  Obviously, as a member of the oligarchy, Bernie doesn't really relate to the proletariat or the bourgeoisie.

Why doesn't he care about winning?  Probably because Bernie knows he can't win...the closer he gets to becoming the nominee, the more light gets shed on his economic policies that cannot withstand close scrutiny.  Bernie's "single payer" health care plan couldn't succeed even in Vermont.  How could it possibly work on a national scale?  It can't.  Bernie is making lots of promises he can't possibly keep and spending more money we don't have.  He routinely demonizes anything resembling success via capitalism and pits Americans against each other, accusing the successful of achieving at the expense of his constituents.

My wife had an interesting response to my question of why the Democratic Party allows Bernie Sanders to use its party apparatus to run for POTUS, given that he probably wouldn't be able to achieve anywhere near the same fundraising numbers if he was considered a third-party candidate instead of a Democrat.  If the Democratic Party power brokers aren't going to let Bernie win, why let him run?  She thinks the party is afraid of Bernie's supporters, and I suspect she's absolutely right.  Kyle Jurek, the field organizer for the Sanders campaign, has threatened to burn American cities if Sanders loses to Trump and to send opposition voters to American gulags if they win in November.

The violent radicals are largely part of the Sanders crowd — never forget that James Hodgkinson, the man who tried to assassinate Congressman Steve Scalise and other Republicans at baseball practice, was a Sanders campaign volunteer.  The problem is, no matter whether the perception is incompetence or corruption, those who currently "feel the Bern" won't be feeling the love for anybody else.  If Bernie isn't the nominee, the enthusiasm won't be there, so they won't be dependable votes.

Check out what the Ragin' Cajun himself, James Carville, said in this recent interview with Vox:

Iowa caucus can't even count votes.  What the hell am I supposed to think?

You can think the party is either incompetent or corrupt, James.  No matter how you slice it, either the party cannot manage simple arithmetic and accurately count votes in a relatively small state, or it won't accurately count the votes because it doesn't like the nominee.

Meanwhile, the headlines at the Drudge Report show Trump winning on the economy and unemployment by just about every measurable standard.  More jobs than expected were added in January.  Wages are up.  Labor force participation has correspondingly risen to 63.4 percent.

How do Democrats plan to beat that?  Apparently, they didn't — they hoped impeachment would solve their problems for them, because the odds of winning at the ballot box are slim and getting slimmer by the day.  Even the AP has been forced to ask how much of an advantage Trump has over his potential opponents due to the success of his economy.

We should never celebrate victory until all the votes have been counted, but the best chance the Democrats seem to have at this point would be by cheating.  It won't be by championing socialism.  Carville also said:

Here's another stupid thing: Democrats talking about free college tuition or debt forgiveness.  I'm not here to debate the idea.  What I can tell you is that people all over this country worked their way through school, sent their kids to school, paid off student loans.  They don't want to hear this s---.  And you saw Warren confronted by an angry voter over this.  It's just not a winning message.

True fact.  Incompetence is usually caused by stupidity or laziness, and not malicious like corruption.  However, a third possibility has occurred to me, thanks to James Carville — and insanity might be the best explanation of them all.

John Leonard writes novels, books, and occasional articles and blog posts for American Thinker . You may follow him on Facebook or his website (and blog, which includes the AT "rejected" pieces) at southernprose.com.

Image: AFGE via Flickr.

Probably my favorite line in the movie Moneyball is uttered in the wonderful scene where Billy Bean (Brad Pitt) is trying to teach his protégé (Joshua Hill) how to cut a professional baseball player.  Bean explains that delivering bad news works best if done with a detached, businesslike manner.  He compares the unpleasant task to the job of a hired assassin by asking, "Would you rather get a bullet to the head, or five to the chest and bleed to death?"

Hill replies, "Are those my only two options?"  

Therein lies the problem for Democrats come November.  There are only two possible explanations for the debacle in Iowa, and neither of them is good.  Either Democrats have corrupted the elections process so that Bernie Sanders cannot possibly win the nomination, no matter how well he does with their primary voters, or they are so incompetent that they can't even run a caucus in a state with a relatively small population.

The largest city in Iowa, Des Moines, is about the same size as Augusta (home of the Masters golf tournament), the second largest city in Georgia.  The entire population of Iowa (3 million) is only a little more than half the size of metropolitan Atlanta (5 million).  It seems almost inconceivable that a caucus in which the top four candidates received less than two thousand votes combined could get so screwed up that there are calls for the results to be scrapped and a second caucus held.  Is the Iowa election process being run by the Three Stooges?

There is reason to believe that corruption is the better explanation.  The results of the very last poll taken prior to the caucus by CNN and the Des Moines Register were never released to the public.  Hillary allegedly defeated Bernie in the 2016 Iowa caucus by a very narrow margin.  In 2020, the Iowa Democratic Party has this time declared that Pete Buttigieg won the State Delegate Equivalent Count (not to be confused with an actual vote count, which Sanders won) and would receive 1.5 more delegates to the national convention than Sanders as a result.

Unfortunately, we can't take incompetence completely off the table as a possibility only because we don't have any proof of corruption — just a lot of compelling evidence that seems to point in that direction.  Why are the Democrats allowing Bernie to run in their primaries if the fix is in so he cannot possibly win?  Why do they let him run as a Democrat when he leaves the party as soon as he loses and reverts to his "independent" socialist position?

And why would Bernie let the Democrats screw him over in two consecutive presidential campaigns, if the best explanation is incompetence?  Wouldn't he be better off to run as a third-party candidate, assuming he really hoped to win the 2020 election?

The answer to both sets of questions is money.  For a socialist with a lot of love for communism, Bernie does seem to love money — but just as my daughter whined when she was ten, he doesn't want to work for it.  After 2016, Sanders cashed in his chips and bought his third house, a lakefront vacation home in Vermont that cost only about a hundred grand more than my only house.  Obviously, as a member of the oligarchy, Bernie doesn't really relate to the proletariat or the bourgeoisie.

Why doesn't he care about winning?  Probably because Bernie knows he can't win...the closer he gets to becoming the nominee, the more light gets shed on his economic policies that cannot withstand close scrutiny.  Bernie's "single payer" health care plan couldn't succeed even in Vermont.  How could it possibly work on a national scale?  It can't.  Bernie is making lots of promises he can't possibly keep and spending more money we don't have.  He routinely demonizes anything resembling success via capitalism and pits Americans against each other, accusing the successful of achieving at the expense of his constituents.

My wife had an interesting response to my question of why the Democratic Party allows Bernie Sanders to use its party apparatus to run for POTUS, given that he probably wouldn't be able to achieve anywhere near the same fundraising numbers if he was considered a third-party candidate instead of a Democrat.  If the Democratic Party power brokers aren't going to let Bernie win, why let him run?  She thinks the party is afraid of Bernie's supporters, and I suspect she's absolutely right.  Kyle Jurek, the field organizer for the Sanders campaign, has threatened to burn American cities if Sanders loses to Trump and to send opposition voters to American gulags if they win in November.

The violent radicals are largely part of the Sanders crowd — never forget that James Hodgkinson, the man who tried to assassinate Congressman Steve Scalise and other Republicans at baseball practice, was a Sanders campaign volunteer.  The problem is, no matter whether the perception is incompetence or corruption, those who currently "feel the Bern" won't be feeling the love for anybody else.  If Bernie isn't the nominee, the enthusiasm won't be there, so they won't be dependable votes.

Check out what the Ragin' Cajun himself, James Carville, said in this recent interview with Vox:

Iowa caucus can't even count votes.  What the hell am I supposed to think?

You can think the party is either incompetent or corrupt, James.  No matter how you slice it, either the party cannot manage simple arithmetic and accurately count votes in a relatively small state, or it won't accurately count the votes because it doesn't like the nominee.

Meanwhile, the headlines at the Drudge Report show Trump winning on the economy and unemployment by just about every measurable standard.  More jobs than expected were added in January.  Wages are up.  Labor force participation has correspondingly risen to 63.4 percent.

How do Democrats plan to beat that?  Apparently, they didn't — they hoped impeachment would solve their problems for them, because the odds of winning at the ballot box are slim and getting slimmer by the day.  Even the AP has been forced to ask how much of an advantage Trump has over his potential opponents due to the success of his economy.

We should never celebrate victory until all the votes have been counted, but the best chance the Democrats seem to have at this point would be by cheating.  It won't be by championing socialism.  Carville also said:

Here's another stupid thing: Democrats talking about free college tuition or debt forgiveness.  I'm not here to debate the idea.  What I can tell you is that people all over this country worked their way through school, sent their kids to school, paid off student loans.  They don't want to hear this s---.  And you saw Warren confronted by an angry voter over this.  It's just not a winning message.

True fact.  Incompetence is usually caused by stupidity or laziness, and not malicious like corruption.  However, a third possibility has occurred to me, thanks to James Carville — and insanity might be the best explanation of them all.

John Leonard writes novels, books, and occasional articles and blog posts for American Thinker . You may follow him on Facebook or his website (and blog, which includes the AT "rejected" pieces) at southernprose.com.

Image: AFGE via Flickr.