Election 2020

Iowa Democratic Party on Caucus Delay: 'This Is Not a Hack.' So What Is It?

Precinct 68 Iowa Caucus voters seated in the Biden section hold up their first votes as they of the caucus as they are counted at the Knapp Center on the Drake University campus in Des Moines, Iowa, Monday, Feb. 3, 2020. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

As America waited for the results from the Iowa caucuses late Monday night, the Iowa Democratic Party released a cryptic statement that did little to assuage concerns that party leaders might be engaging in shenanigans to deny Sen. Bernie Sanders (S-USSR) his likely victory in the first 2020 contest.

“We found inconsistencies in the reporting of three sets of results,” a spokeswoman said. “In addition to the tech systems being used to tabulate results, we are also using photos of results and a paper trail to validate all that results match and ensure that we have confidence and accuracy in the numbers we report.”

“This is simply a reporting issue, the app did not go down and this is not a hack or an intrusion,” the statement concluded. “The underlying data and paper trail is sound and will simply take time to further report the results.”

The insistence that no hacking undermined the smartphone app the party uses to report results will not go far to assuage concerns. Whenever you have to say, “This is not a hack,” you’re doing something wrong. Naturally, the one who helped design the app is a former Hillary Clinton campaign operative…

Supporters of Bernie Sanders who remember how the Democratic National Committee hampered his campaign in 2016 will suspect another party effort to suppress support for the “democratic socialist.” Sanders was leading in the polls in the run-up to the caucuses, and FiveThirtyEight gave him the best chance of winning. The delay will likely anger his campaign and his supporters the most.

“Democrats had four years to prepare for this moment, and instead have turned it into a conspiracy theorist’s wet dream. This is incredible,” Josh Jordan tweeted.

“Yea rigging the primary worked wonders for the Democrats last time,” Donald Trump Jr. quipped.

As for the “inconsistencies in the reporting,” that may make sense without any shenanigans going on. This year, the Democratic Party announced it would release three sets of results, complicating the reporting of the Iowa caucuses. Perhaps different caucuses across the state mixed up their results.

Then again, perhaps not. Perhaps the party is trying to pull the strings against Sanders.

Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), along with former Vice President Joe Biden, delivered remarks before any results had come in, flying off to campaign in New Hampshire.

Tyler O’Neil is the author of Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Follow him on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.