The first elections to determine the Democrat party’s candidate for the 2020 national presidential elections were held in Iowa on Monday and they were, by all accounts, an unmitigated disaster. The Democratic National Convention used an untested app by a company for precincts to report caucus votes. The app did not work and neither did the backup hotline system. The DNC resorted to a time-consuming manual tally based on information called in by precinct chairs or pictures sent on their smartphones. On Tuesday evening, the results were finally announced.
Election workers attempting to call results in using the IDP Caucus Hotline faced long wait times, and one precinct chair was even hung up on after waiting an hour to report results.
According to a report in the NY Times, installing the app required bypassing the phone’s security settings and a two-factor authentication and PIN passcodes. Only one-quarter of the 1,700 precinct chairs successfully downloaded and installed the app.
The delay led to confusion with all four of the Democrat front-runners (Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Pete Buttigieg) claiming victory.
The DNC’s decision to use the app was questionable. Work on the app began just two months before the caucus, leading to a product that was difficult to download and produced inaccurate results. Produced by a company called Shadow Inc., whose previous work was marked by a string of failures, including a near bankruptcy. Political cronyism may have had a role in the bad decision as Shadow Inc. was founded by veterans of Hillary Clinton’s unsuccessful 2016 presidential campaign.
In 2016 primaries, the DNC successfully used a system developed by Microsoft. Microsoft was quick to announce they had no hand in the Iowa caucus this week.
Perhaps most perplexing was the decision to use the app despite concerns of its cybersecurity. This is even more perplexing given the ongoing claims by Democrats that President Trump’s 2016 victory was due to hacking of their campaign.
The campaign of Joe Biden began to use the app’s texting technology and digital advertising consulting aimed at small-dollar donors last year but stopped due to concerns surrounding the app’s security.
Much of the blame was placed on the company’s lack of experience and expertise made even worse by their rush to get the app into service. Shadow issued an apology/explanation on its website.
We sincerely regret the delay in the reporting of the results of last night’s Iowa caucuses and the uncertainty it has caused to the candidates, their campaigns, and Democratic caucus-goers. As the Iowa Democratic Party has confirmed, the underlying data and collection process via Shadow’s mobile caucus app was sound and accurate, but our process to transmit that caucus results data generated via the app to the IDP was not. Importantly, this issue did not affect the underlying caucus results data. We worked as quickly as possible overnight to resolve this issue, and the IDP has worked diligently to verify results. Shadow is an independent, for-profit technology company that contracted with the Iowa Democratic Party to build a caucus reporting mobile app, which was optional for local officials to use. The goal of the app was to ensure accuracy in a complex reporting process. We will apply the lessons learned in the future, and have already corrected the underlying technology issue. We take these issues very seriously, and are committed to improving and evolving to support the Democratic Party’s goal of modernizing its election processes.
The app was funded by Acronym, a nonprofit organization that is focused on helping liberal and left-wing causes in the digital arena. After the Iowa debacle, Acronym is distancing itself from Shadow.
— Kyle Tharp (@kylewilsontharp) February 4, 2020
President Trump unabashedly bashed his opposition.
When will the Democrats start blaming RUSSIA, RUSSIA, RUSSIA, instead of their own incompetence for the voting disaster that just happened in the Great State of Iowa?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 4, 2020
It is interesting to note that the current dilemma faced by the DNC mirrors Israel’s current election crisis. After Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman left the coalition led by Prim Minister Netanyahu last year, elections were held in April but no party was able to form a coalition, forcing new elections. For the first time in Israeli history, a second round of general elections was called for. These too were unsuccessful in leading to the formation of a government. In one month, Israel is headed to the polls for a third time.
This unprecedented impasse was actually predicted forty years ago by the mystic, Rabbi Yitzchak Kaduri, who made the cryptic prediction, “When there will be elections but there will not be a government, the Messiah will arrive.”
Rabbi Yosef Berger, the rabbi of King David’s Tomb on Mount Zion, saw a bit of divine justice in the predicament of the DNC.
“When the Democrats blessed Israel, supported Israel, they were successful in politics,” Rabbi Berger told Breaking Israel News. “But they have changed and in a sly way, they are no cursing Israel. The Torah says that those who curse Israel will be cursed.”
I will bless those who bless you And curse him that curses you; And all the families of the earth Shall bless themselves by you.” Genesis 12:3
“That is a given. But it does not mean that their curse will harm Israel,” Rabbi Berger said.
The rabbi referred to the example of Balaam, a wicked magician sent by Balak, the king of Moab, t curse Israel. In the end, Balaam blessed Israel, earning the ire of Balak.
“Having elections and not electing a leader is a disaster for the Democrats. But for Israel, this will lead them to greater service of God. Their intention was to curse Israel and it was returned, measure for measure. Like Pharoah in Egypt, they were cursed by the utterance of their own mouths, but their curse turned to a blessing for Israel.”
49 delegates are awarded according to the results of the Iowas caucus, of which 41 are pledged delegates allocated on the basis of the results of the caucuses. The next primary contest will be in New Hampshire on Tuesday.