Impact of #IowaCaucusDisaster on Democratic Elections
By Veronika Fomina
Keeping up with electoral races in the United States is like watching soccer –as scandalous and intriguing.
On Feb. 3 Iowa State hosted the first caucus within Democratic elections of this 2020 year. The application called Shadow that was responsible for announcing results, have gone down for 3 days, leaving candidates and the crowd hanging. Along with the failure of organisation, Iowa caucus has brought us intriguing controversial reactions of a few candidates, a number of questions about the ownership of the Shadow, and an overall public doubt about the effectiveness and accuracy of the American system of Democratic elections, its caucuses and primaries.
Hashtag IowaCaucusDisaster, Hashtag MayorCheat
The first Iowa caucus incident is not a surprise. Should we call it an incident or is it just the beginning of the series of unfortunate events? Investigations have started and scandals have been provoked. A lot of money invested and statements made. What else is on a table? Russian involvement as if it is already a tradition, and shadow’y sponsorships of the application launched for reporting voting results. Millions of Tweets booming, and the trending ones are covering the hottest topic since Monday night– #IowaCaucusDisaster
Speaking of Twitter, we cannot ignore a persistent presence of social media influence on US elections. Blue-bird application is again taking the lead in US political discussions. It has been a trend since the 2008 elections when Barack Obama actively started using all social media networks prioritizing them over TV, radio and other alternative media channels.
The Social Media President was using online platforms as if he was an average American millennial–opening the discussion on the unity of his family life, revealing his personality in a highly natural and simple way–by which he gained the sympathy from millions of his online friends and followers : The American voters.
But it’s not 2008, and what’s important is which Democratic candidate, we would suggest is taking the lead in this thrilling, 2020 race. The focus of our discussion is a quite aggressive feedback of the Americans in the form of ongoing-for-hours debate over #MayorCheat.
The incident has drastically influenced the situation in Iowa and the public’s perception of Democratic candidates. Trump used an opportunity to mock the opposing party elections: “The Democrat Caucus is an unmitigated disaster. Nothing works, just like they ran the Country,” Mr. President mentions on his Twitter account.
Claimed Victories & Unexpected Positivity
Despite the uncertainties and overwhelming scandals, candidates are feeling very positive, claiming their victories one after another without results being announced (along 4/2/20 with Mr. Trump’s tweet sarcastically claiming his victory).
Here, we are referring to the #MayorCheat, Former Mayor Pete Buttigieg’s announcement of his victorious campaign in Iowa caucus. American citizens did not wait to put various conspiracy theories out there, to the Web. People have been linking the Shadow application to Pete Mayor’s name, the most scandalous theory that cost Mayor Pete Buttigieg his new Twitter nickname #MayorCheat.
Right after, Sen. Bernie Sanders has revealed his own calculations of being ahead. What a self-claiming race.
Others are feeling good as they say and are already off to New Hampshire, focusing on other state campaigns–clearly seeing the Iowa voting environment as chaotic.
Mike Bloomberg, on the contrary, decides to ignore the first four states to vote and confidently tosses in his billions (one highly privileges from) into later voting, but bigger and more important campaigns due to his reasoning. Traditional media platforms are flooded by his candidacy advertising that, we should say, clearly helps Mr. Bloomberg to stand out compared to other Democrats that do not have access to such colossal funds.
Iowa Caucus, Iowa Chaos
So, what did Iowa grant us and Democrats with? Most of the other candidates, as we mentioned, were forgotten and lost in the Iowa chaos thanks to the tech disaster. And they lost their chance to stand out and stand by their policies.
Supporters’ opportunity to define the leadership was also taken away. Sanders and Buttigieg have been targets of broadsheets and tabloids, social media and TV, only for sake of ratings and as a fuel of the current debate.
Thus, Iowa has just lost its meaning in the 2020 race, as the first state to host the caucus, and the impact of this scandalous situation is not in any way exaggerated.
At the end of the day, the controversy has shifted the focus from the caucus itself and Democratic candidates profiles to mass aggression, online world flooded with buzzwords and hyped trends, all conspiracy theories one could only think of, along with a rise of public’s dissatisfaction with US electoral system (…again…). While chaos still continues to thrive, a whole range of other issues related to the first voting four states pop up in social media and are raised among active voters.
To sum up, everything that has been said, Iowa caucus ended up being a severe
distraction from the initial purpose of the first voting state far-dated tradition.