The Iowa Democratic Party released the final, complete delegate counts for Tuesday's caucuses this afternoon. There's been some grumbling in the twittersphere and commentsphere that because some precincts, including a dozen here in the People's Republic of Johnson County, were delayed, there was some kind of results coverup. I can understand, since the 1996 regime at IDP did just that with the five delegates we elected for Uncommitted and Ralph Nader.
Well, the final results including the "coverup" shifted by all of 0.04% compared to the preliminary results. And here in Johnson, which took much of the heat of the implied corruption, the late results that were supposedly the Vast Conspiracy by Sue Dvorsky's Mafia goons (of which I'm proudly one since 1990) actually improved the president's margin. My friend Sue deserves an apology, but I understand the frustration so I won't ask that.
What happened? Just some human errors from the locals. Remember, at the county level the Iowa caucuses are an all-volunteer show. We had some rural precincts without chairs and a hard working couple who wasn't quite sure what to do with the extra packets, a family emergency in a student precinct, and a precinct chair who went out for a late dinner with his wife and forgot to call until 4 AM.
Johnson County was fair. We (by that I mean me, personally, on my own time and skipping a friend's funeral to do it) explained the process to the uncommitteds. We bent the rules to let them speak to the large groups. I let them talk in my own precinct. And even with all that, in the state's most lefty county, Uncommitted could not reach 15 percent viability. (Though I expect they will be viable at the Johnson County convention due to attrition, determination and tenacity.)
But almost no one is interested outside the readers of Iowa political blogs. Why not? Because there weren't enough people interested in going uncommitted to make it newsworthy. There weren't enough people to demand the speaking time and the clarification of the rules, or to get the national press interested in the results. If anything, uncommitteds and occupiers and protests have gathered FAR more than two percent of the Democratic news.
Sure, GOP had a more elaborate results operation right down to Matt Strawn's grand announcement of the eight vote margin. That's because because people were interested. Don't forget: when Republicans have an incumbent president, they cancel their vote. Ask Pat Buchanan about that.
There was a lot of noise, some of it for good reasons of policy, some of it because we screwed up in 1996. Some people in some places didn't know the rules, and maybe some people didn't make as much effort on that as Johnson did. You can make that argument and it may be fair. Argue about the viability rules and the no-absentee caucus process if you want; just understand that it all ties in to going first.
But you CANNOT argue that there is a critical mass, or even significant, opposition to the president's renomination. 98.42 to 1.58. If Uncommitted was a candidate, she'd be dropping out and going home with her wife Marcus. We are the 98 percent, give or take a decimal point.
I was a down-ballot candidate in a presidential year so I know this: The fate of the Democratic Party in this presidential year is linked to the fate of President Obama. The statement has been heard. Constructive criticism is always welcome. But the alternative is not President Sanders or President Kucinich. The Alternative is President Romney or President Santorum.
Thanks to everybody who did the right thing and stayed with the Democrats, Obama or Uncommitted, on Tuesday. Now it's time to unite to win.