This is shaping up to be quite a week for President Trump. And the best, or at least the most hilarious parts, have nothing to do with President Trump’s twitter feed. Instead, the stars have seemingly aligned in Trump’s favor to deliver a multitude of gifts this week, and that was before Iowa Democrats started awarding delegates with coin flips.
After the high drama vote Friday about whether additional witnesses would be heard in the impeachment saga, which is a topic worthy of its own column, there is little suspense left in the final vote. Queue Adam Schiff and the house managers who thought a convincing closing argument included a scenario where President Trump would give Alaska back to the Russians.
Not only were there never 20 Republican votes to remove the president, the case Congress presented was so incomplete and outside the regular order that even Lisa Murkowski saw through the noise and second-hand straw men the House bet the farm on.
By the way... this is still Monday morning, and the week is just getting started.
Setting up Monday night’s Iowa Caucuses, the Democratic National Committee announced that it changed the metrics for debate inclusion - new rules that were changed in the aftermath of the 2016 election - magically to benefit Mike Bloomberg, the newest knight in shining armor to save the Democrats from the Bernie Sanders wing of the party and allow him onto the debate stage without hitting previously announced polling targets.
I would find that especially galling if I were one of the former candidates who had to drop out after not making the stage. Seems disenfranchising from the outside looking in, and it gives Sanders more credibility when he gets on stage and says the establishment is afraid of him.
I just watched Donald Trump do exactly this to the Republican Establishment four years ago.
By Monday night, and Murkowski’s announcement from the Senate floor that she was a “no” vote on impeachment, it was time for Iowa’s political day in the spotlight, and the official start to the presidential election in November.
The Republican caucus was announced at 8 p.m., not a surprise since President Trump faces no real opposition. What was surprising was the record turnout, with Republicans outperforming President Obama’s impressive turnout in 2012.
The Democrats.... well, I think the President’s tweet Tuesday morning summed it up pretty well. “The Democrat Caucus is an unmitigated disaster. Nothing works, just like they ran the country. Remember the $5 billion Obamacare website, that should have cost 2 percent of that. The only person that can claim a very big victory in Iowa last night is ‘Trump’.”
It is such a disaster that on Tuesday as I write, Democrats announced they are releasing partial results 20 hours after the fact, campaigns are threatening lawsuits, and since there are no results everyone gets to claim victory. And, claim victory they all did. Amy Klobuchar spoke first, grabbing media looking to fill time, Elizabeth Warren gambled that networks would carry her message over Joe Biden’s - starting her speech after the former VP. They stepped all over each other’s messaging. And Pete Buttigieg... well he just went out and said he won!
Absolute fiasco. Unmitigated disaster.
There were caucus heads with an untested app that didn’t work, no backup systems for manually reporting numbers (giving no thought to logistics) and a media that has turned county caucus reporting into a slick prime time event with graphics and interactive maps...but absolutely no actual numbers to report.
By the time I woke up and had my coffee Tuesday morning it was being reported that there was no separate phone line to report caucus numbers - instead there was a central number for app help, issues and reporting actual numbers.
In the void, social media and the media at large filled time. We saw videos of ties and coin flips to award additional delegates. Caucuses are hard enough with rounds of voting and picking a second and third choice without adding games of chance to the mix. Even MSNBC declared Trump the winner of the night, with Chris Matthews announcing “the Democrats couldn’t organize a three-car funeral.”
Come to find out, the app developers Iowa Dems were depending on turned down the Department of Homeland Security’s Cyber Task Force offer of testing and evaluating the app prior to the caucus. Part of me understands the reasoning in these hyper political times. But I would also make sure tests were being run, the app was completely deployed with training and at a minimum simulations of caucus night were run before the software was given the go-ahead.
.Hand in hand with the fiasco was a low turnout. Well below 2012, Iowa had 2016 levels of turnout. Definitely not a good sign right out of the gate. And with Biden’s below expectations finish... well there’s definitely some trouble in Democratic ranks.
I expect many more headlines like Tuesday’s for the rest of the week... “Trump gloats over Iowa’s bungled Democratic caucus...” was definitely worth a chuckle over my morning coffee. It usually means Republicans are doing something right for a change. Or Democrats have really messed up. Sometimes both these things can even be true.
And we’re still only on Tuesday.
Still on the calendar for the rest of the week... The State of the Union, the predictable impeachment vote, finally (maybe?) getting Iowa’s numbers and whatever else Trump has up his sleeve to drive D.C. absolutely nuts - while the candidates head to New Hampshire.
I also have to wonder how many judges Mitch McConnell has ready to queue up for confirmation once the Senate gets back to regular business? There will be a price for Democrats bringing a weak, partisan impeachment to the Senate.
You just know he’s been waiting to pounce.