Earlier this month, the Iowa Caucuses quickly went from an exciting political event to a disaster due to technical flaws and failures in the polling process. The current process for recording results is using an app, but on February 3, 2020, the app failed. Volunteers were instructed to try several alternate techniques, each of which failed due to both systematic and individuals’ incompetencies. It was eventually decided paper forms would be emailed in to record results, and map the data from there. This method made the situation even more disastrous, as the inbox that the paper forms were sent to was left unmonitored for hours. Hundreds of unread emails were waiting when it was opened, according to The New York Times and Wall Street Journal. Although there was no outside interference with the polls, the internal issues proved to be catastrophic.
The Iowa Caucus disaster has been incredibly demoralizing to democrats nationwide, but it is unlikely to make many negative, lasting effects on the Democratic Party, contrary to how many have depicted it. Its shortcomings and failures pointed out important gaps in the process, which although demoralizing, will hopefully result in constructive criticism and eventual improvement of the process.
The presidential primaries and election process is widely respected across America, but the Iowa Caucus is viewed as a disappointment. At Concord Academy, a very liberal community, I have heard comments and complaints from friends and other community members about the whole fiasco. Democrats nationwide are already struggling to nominate a supportable candidate strong enough to win Independent and more moderate Republicans away from President Trump, who will most likely secure the Republican Party nomination.
The catastrophe was an unquestionable blow to the Democratic Party’s confidence. However, many students do not view it as something which will produce lasting negative effects.
“Democrats feel like they have the moral high ground by being the party of human rights, but the Iowa Caucus] kind of reminded democrats that they are fallible, which is important because if they want to capture middle America, which is what they really need, they’re going to have to lose some of that ego. I hope this reminded them of that,” one student commented.
Although the disaster definitely hurt the party’s morale, it is unlikely that it will have many lasting effects, especially as it has not been mentioned in any primaries or caucuses since then. Hopefully, the Democrats will take this as an opportunity to improve the polling and recording system and to take a step back and gain more perspective on the upcoming election.