The app that napped

We might still not have 100% of the votes counted in the Iowa Caucus, and the chairman of the DNC is calling for a re-canvassing of the results. What a nightmare that has application in other areas of government.

With the impeachment of Donald Trump behind us, I finally have some thoughts about it.

And Hillary Clinton is getting sued…by another Democrat. Get out the popcorn!

Mentioned links:

Results for Iowa caucuses delayed as state Democratic Party finds ‘inconsistencies’

The 2020 Iowa debacle

Software disaster sinks Iowa caucus

Nevada Democrats say their caucus won’t use Iowa’s app

Tulsi Gabbard’s $50M lawsuit against Hillary Clinton moving forward after Clinton’s lawyer accepts legal docs, attorney says

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Show transcript

Well, impeachment and non-removal are behind us. The effort that began the day after Election Day 2016 has failed, much like the huge Mueller Report effort before it. Even though it’s been pretty clear that the pitiful reach of Russian bots on Twitter and ads on Facebook did next to nothing to move the needle on the election, Democrats have been beating the drum suggesting that, without Russia, Trump would have lost, and have been hoping their short-attention-span voters bought it. A lot of them did. And thus began #Resistance.

This impeachment has indeed been historic in a few ways. It was only the 3rd trial of its kind in our history. It was certainly the fastest, though that’s not a good thing. But it was the one with the longest run-up to it, and had the most false starts, since Democrats in general, and Adam Schiff in particular, were telling us that any day now the conclusive proof of Russia collusion would be uncovered. It was the first that didn’t allege an actual crime. True, it doesn’t need to, but every other impeachment included at least one. Yeah, a few firsts in this one.

Now, some have said it didn’t include witnesses, but not so fast. There were 17 witnesses in the hearings in the House, and the testimony of 14 of them, along with 28,000 pages of documentation, were included in the evidence brought by the House Impeachment Managers. And in spite of the speed at which they conducted their side of the impeachment proceedings, they claimed they had a rock-solid case. Fourteen witnesses, 28,000 pages of documentation, a rock-solid case. But they still insisted that more witnesses and documentation were needed. Why exactly, they never explained.

They called Ronald Reagan the Teflon President because so many attacks on him never stuck. Well, Trump has certainly shown that to be even truer of him. I’ve heard from various pundits and podcasters the many, many supposedly impeachable crimes that he could have been charged with, and yet, in the end, Democrats only presented this weak tea, this thin gruel, and a few other unappetizing metaphors. Nancy Pelosi tried to rub it into Trump’s face by saying that impeachment is forever. But you know what? So is acquittal.

Taking a page from the Florida vote-counting playbook, the Iowa caucus results for the Democrats weren’t completely reported days later, with people unable (or unwilling) to use a new app designed just for this, and where precinct leaders were on hold for hours trying to at least phone in the results. New rules for how the results were to be calculated didn’t help.

As an aside, I want to mention a tweet I saw that night, but first some background. As I understand it, when choosing who to support at the caucus, if one candidate doesn’t reach a certain percentage of the vote in one round, they are considered “non-viable”, and so in the next round supporters of that candidate must then choose someone else. The tweet said something like, it can be scary to be labeled “non-viable” in a room full of Democrats. But anyway…

The talking heads on the networks wondered out loud whether this would be the beginning of the end of the caucus system, and/or whether Iowa’s position as the traditional first state in the election season would be called into question. Now, in one sense, I don’t blame Democrats for this. In 2012, it took Republicans days to get the final tally out because it was so close. But also, I’m a programmer and I know that sometimes, no matter how well you test, sometimes the unexpected happens. Rarely, though, even with good test procedures, things can fail spectacularly, or perhaps the volunteers using the app weren’t trained properly. Either way, the problem here was that this failure of either testing or training was broadcast nationally, forcing the networks to vamp for hours, talking to people around the desk and at the various campaign headquarters to hear the same thing; we don’t know what’s going on. Someone humorously suggested that, with all the screw-ups that night, someone needs to try unplugging Iowa and plugging it back in. Couldn’t hurt.

But I do blame Democrats in that government solutions to a problem can indeed fail spectacularly. So let’s let government takeover running our health care, right?

Oh, and that app created by the Democrats to report results? It was going to be used on February 22nd  for the Nevada caucus, but now they’re saying Nope. It’s a shame because I had my popcorn all ready. But hey, there’s still time to change their mind.

Listener Barb wrote to me saying she was interested in this story, so here we go. Back in October, Hillary Clinton did an interview on a podcast and claimed that presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard was the favorite candidate of the Russians. Well, Gabbard was having none of that and filed a defamation lawsuit against Clinton for $50 million dollars.

As much as I find it amusing that anyone finds Hillary’s conspiracy theories worth considering, and as much as I find it amusing to have Democrats going after other Democrats over Russian influence, I don’t think this lawsuit is going anywhere. Tulsi Gabbard is a public figure, certainly as a member of the House of Representatives but even more so as a presidential candidate, and there is protection from things like defamation and slander for those who criticize public figures.

But what I find very strange is that Clinton actively avoided or refused being served the legal papers 3 times. Finally one of her lawyers did accept them. What’s up with that? I just can’t figure out how in the world that makes sense. Because no one is above the law, right?

It’s just one more reason to stock up on popcorn during this election season.

And finally, Donald Trump reached his highest poll numbers so far on Tuesday the 4th, hitting 49% approval on the day of his State of the Union and the day before the final impeachment vote. Guess that whole impeachment thing didn’t quite go as planned. And incidentally, that’s 4 points higher than Obama at this point.

And speaking of the State of the Union address, if you missed it, it was actually quite good. The first 20 minutes are just Trump listing off all his accomplishments. No wonder Nancy Pelosi felt the need to tear up her copy at the end. And it’s hilarious that Trump essentially made all those Democrats attend the Medal of Freedom ceremony of Rush Limbaugh.

Filed under: Elections