Wednesday, February 5, 2020

They'll find a way to blow it.

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Many years ago, when I was a kid, I was at a Giants baseball game with my dad and siblings when my dad ran into someone he knew from work. This was back when the Giants were terrible.  They chatted briefly and my dad mentioned the fact that the Giants were leading the game and his friend said "don't worry, they'll find a way to blow it." Well, the late 70's Giants got nothing on today's Democratic Party.

How do you screw up a caucus this badly?
The good thing about caucuses is the transparency. Everyone can see for themselves if their candidate has more votes than the other guy or whether Smith has more supporters than Jones or whatever. Everyone writes their choices on a card and signs it. No touch screens, no black-box voting, no reason to suspect fraud. So, is there a way for the Democrats to eff this up? They've got an app for that!

Shadow, Inc. is the name of the company that built this app. They are either a subsidiary of a company called ACRONYM, or ACRONYM merely invested in Shadow no one seems to be able to tell for sure.

(from the Intercept)

Kyle Tharp, a spokesperson for Acronym, released a statement on Monday night downplaying his company’s affiliation with Shadow.
“ACRONYM is an investor in several for-profit companies across the progressive media and technology sectors,” Tharp said. “One of those independent, for-profit companies is Shadow, Inc, which also has other private investors.”
But previous statements and internal Acronym documents suggest that the two companies, which share office space in Denver, Colorado, are deeply intertwined.

Former Clinton campaign manager Robbie Mook may or may not have been involved in building this app, he denies it but everyone seems to think he was. Who knows?

Is something shady going on? I don't think so. Occam's razor and the recent history of the Democratic Party both indicate incompetence, not malfeasance. But for Gpd's sake why would you allow the company that is going to tabulate the votes to take money from two of the candidates? It just makes you look bad. It looks like a conflict of interest.

(via Daily Beast)

Those hiccups had already caught the attention of conspiracy theorists who noted that Shadow received tens of thousands of dollars last year from the presidential campaigns of Democrats Joe Biden and Pete Buttigieg. Those payments were simply for use of the company’s text messaging technology.

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Seriously? There weren't any other tech companies out there whose text-messaging software you could use? You know, so it doesn't look like you're bribing the refs? So you wouldn't open the door to this kind of speculation?

Now it's Wednesday night and we still don't have the complete results. Which has allowed Pete Buttigieg to declare victory, Joe Biden to announce that he is "going to walk out of here with our share of delegates.," and Amy Klobuchar to state that she was "puinching above her weight," and Elizabeth Warren to say the race is "too close to call." Now, eventually we are going to get the complete vote tally and delegate count, and by all accounts, it's going to be Sanders and Buttiegieg wwith the lion's share of the delegates. But if Sanders, or any other candidate, finishes ahead of Mayor Pete, after Pete already declared victory, his supporters are going to think they were robbed. And they will have good reason to think so. When Warren's supporters find out that the race was not actually too close to call, it just took forever to get all the votes recorded and that Warren underperformed expectations, they're going to think she got screwed. That the app stole votes form her or whatever. Sanders supporters are already assuming that the delay was intentional and done for the purpose of hurting Bernie.

No matter what the outcome ends up being, this debacle is going to undermine the electorate's faith in the democratic process. It's bas enough that Republican idiots are already taking it as an article of faith that voter fraud is rampant and millions of "illegal votes" were cast for HRC in 2016 (whatever that means) we sure as hell don't need Democrats also thinking that elections are rigged.

None of this needed to happen. The Iowa caucuses have been going on since 1976. And it's been working relatively well. The process is too convoluted and it discriminates against potential voters who don't work bankers' hours, but there was never any problem with precinct captains phoning in the vote tallies. But some geniuses looked at the process and thought "no, we need to be able to use a smartphone app for this."

This is how corporate America thinks. I am a tiny cog in a small wheel in a Fortune 500 company. Over the last couple years, the company has been on a mission to take applications off of the desktop computers and move them to smartphones. Do the new apps have all the same features? Nope! Are their features that are gone now that made the job easier? Oh yes. But smartphone apps are the shiny new toys of corporate America, so they're inherently better, right?
I actually got to talk to one of the tech guys and tried to explain to him how the old application worked better than the new one and he just kept repeating "it's old technology. It's gotta go." These people have no concept of "if it ain't broke, don't fix it."

So the Democrats, the only party imaginable that would be capable of losing to the dimwit son of an unpopular one-term president and a senile, racist game-show host with a string of bankruptcies behind him, of course take the same approach.
The old system works just fine?
 So what? It's old technology. We have a shiny new app that will make it batter!

 Have you tested the app?
No need! It's a shiny new smartphone app, it will, by definition, be better!

There's really no problem with the current system, no one is asking for an app..
We got a fancy new app!

But. . .
an app!

It really should be almost impossible to lose a second time to Donald Trump, now that the country has seen him in action for 3+ years. But don't worry. Democrats will find a way to blow it.