Election 2020

It's Open Season for Conspiracy Mongers After Iowa Caucuses Debacle

Supporters for Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., raise their hands to be counted during a Democratic party caucus at Hoover High School, Monday, Feb. 3, 2020, in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

Even before the Iowa caucuses convened on Monday night, conspiracy theories were circulating on social media. A prominent conservative legal group, Judicial Watch, posted what turns out to have been misleading statistics about there being thousands more registered voters in Iowa than there were people. Iowa’s secretary of state felt compelled to issue a statement debunking the information, but few believed him.

Even when Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton admitted to the Associated Press that he used older stats and census numbers to create a bogus meme, the uproar didn’t die down. Fitton lamely said that voter fraud is “a big issue,” which is why he released the data on the eve of the caucuses.

In other words, fake but “accurate.”

Voter fraud is, indeed, “a big issue,” but caucuses are normally pretty transparent about who votes. The tomfoolery that was being pulled in Iowa last night has fed the paranoia of many Democrats who see monsters in the shadows working against their candidate.

Washington Examiner:

Supporters of Sanders began flocking in immediately after caucus locations closed, all with the same complaint, that precinct leaders and other campaigns were conspiring against their candidate.

One woman who spoke with the Washington Examiner on the condition of anonymity said the precinct captain at her location in Des Moines was biased against Sanders and allowed supporters of former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg to vandalize their signs.

“We put up our signs to show undecided caucusers and others during the realignment where to stand for Sanders, but then, supporters of Buttigieg rushed us and put stickers over the sign,” the woman said. “When it was our turn to give a speech, the Buttigieg supporters kept interrupting us, and the campaign didn’t do anything.”

Is it a coincidence that Buttigieg then declared himself the victor before any numbers were published?

Of course it is. Events were far too chaotic as they unfolded last night to be part of a “plan” to deny Sanders a win. Sanders will likely eventually claim the most delegates, meaning he was the actual winner. But the chaos will prevent him from gaining any momentum going into Nevada and New Hampshire.

Sanders supporters are livid and have every right to be. But when new-age guru and former Democratic presidential candidate Marianne Williamson gives permission for unhinged Democrats to see ghosts in the machine, all bets are off.

How do otherwise intelligent people come to believe in the “hidden hand” theory of events? Sometimes incompetence is just incompetence, stupidity is just stupidity. To read more into it — especially without evidence — bespeaks a dysfunctional level of distrust born out of experience, not events.

And that experience for Sanders supporters happened during the 2016 campaign when the Democratic National Committee was caught putting their thumb on the scales in a series of emails posted by Wikileaks that clearly showed the national party working to keep Sanders off the ballot.

That still may be true today. But would the party really sabotage the entire process to stop one candidate? There are going to be court challenges arising from this debacle, and the bad press may have just assured the re-election of Donald Trump. It seems a little extreme that the party would destroy itself to save it.

Incompetence and stupidity cause far more problems than the “hidden hand” of conspiracy.