Feb 4, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Trump camp weaponizes Iowa caucus chaos against Democrats

Photo: Sarah Silbiger/Getty Images

The Trump camp seized on Democrats' caucus meltdown in Iowa, using the lack of results and tech-driven chaos to sow uncertainty about the process in its aftermath.

Why it matters: The right is weaponizing the mess in an attempt to fire up its base and highlight Democrats' organizational failure, seizing on the botched caucus to argue that the left's top candidates can't be trusted to enact their promised sweeping structural reforms.

  • Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale issued a statement, saying, "Democrats are stewing in a caucus mess of their own creation with the sloppiest train wreck in history."
  • "It would be natural for people to doubt the fairness of the process. And these are the people who want to run our entire health care system?" he added.

Trump himself jumped into the fray on Tuesday morning, mocking the lack of caucus results in a series of tweets:

  • "The Democrat Caucus is an unmitigated disaster. Nothing works, just like they ran the Country. Remember the 5 Billion Dollar Obamacare Website, that should have cost 2% of that. The only person that can claim a very big victory in Iowa last night is 'Trump.'"
  • "It is not the fault of Iowa, it is the Do Nothing Democrats fault. As long as I am President, Iowa will stay where it is. Important tradition!"
  • "When will the Democrats start blaming RUSSIA, RUSSIA, RUSSIA, instead of their own incompetence for the voting disaster that just happened in the Great State of Iowa?"

The big picture: The Trump camp also wasted no time in highlighting the results of the Republican caucuses — in which the president was expected to cruise to a massive victory — as he pulled in 97% of the vote.

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The 2020 Iowa debacle

A caucus volunteer fills out paperwork in Carpenter, Iowa. Photo: Steve Pope/Getty Images

The Iowa Democratic Party announced Tuesday that it plans to release "a majority" of its caucus results by 5pm ET, though it gave no indication when full results might be available.

The state of play: It blamed Monday night's caucus meltdown on an app "coding issue," but it made clear that it did not "impact the ability of precinct chairs to report data accurately."

Go deeperArrowUpdated Feb 4, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Anxieties over Nevada caucuses mount following Iowa chaos

Nevada voters during the 2018 midterm elections. Photo: Mikayla Whitmore/The Washington Post via Getty Images

There are growing concerns that the Feb. 22 Nevada caucuses could be a repeat of the chaos that hit Iowa's caucus process earlier this month, AP reports.

What's happening: Election volunteers in the state have yet to receive training for the iPads they will use on caucus day — or specific details about what the process' electronic "Caucus Tool" is and how it will ultimately be used.

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

Photo: Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Nevada's Democrats say their Feb. 22 caucus will not use the same vote-tallying app that's being blamed for the unprecedented delay reporting Monday's Iowa caucus results. CNN previously reported Nevada would.

Our thought bubble: When software introductions fail as badly as Iowa's just did, engineers typically "roll back" their system to its last previously functioning state. For Nevada's Democrats, that's likely to mean turning back the clock to the way they did it four years ago.