The country is built on faith in the electoral process, but that’s been severely dented in the 20 years since the 2000 Bush v. Gore debacle over Florida’s hanging chads. Since then, we’ve added foreign interference to a mix that’s long included voter suppression, gerrymandering and an antiquated Electoral College that routinely gives the person with fewer votes the White House.
Put together all these very real and different challenges to the American system and it’s hard to fight the feeling that this experiment in democracy is teetering.
The end result is there is still no clear winner for the first 2020 primary contest.
The Iowa Democratic Party made things worse by hiding the issue behind its delayed results for hours on caucus night. Then, it released only a portion of results.
That opened the door for campaigns to sow doubt about the numbers.
The whole process took a gut punch.”
Nobody, including Biden, is actually suggesting the results are so flawed that Joe Biden’s current fourth place showing in Iowa is incorrect. But there are serious problems with the results.
CNN analysis of Iowa results shows errors in the result count reported by the Iowa Democratic party won’t give anyone more faith in the process. It showed mis-tabulated results related to the caucus system, which begins at a designated time and where caucusers can realign if their first candidate doesn’t reach a 15% viability threshold at that particular caucus site.
about the caucuses being undemocratic.
“This is just one moment in time,” said Maria Cardona, a Democratic strategist and CNN political commentator. “Democrats are going to fix it and move on from it and focus on the priority, which is beating Donald Trump.”
Trump likes to question US democracy
suggested on Twitter that the Iowa results were “rigged.” That picked at a scab for Democrats left over from 2016, when Trump said the same of the whole process.
The President built his political career calling American democracy into question.
When Trump criticized the electoral process for being “rigged” against him in 2016, he was rightly criticized. It felt at the time like he was building an excuse for when he lost. But he won the White House even though he got fewer votes than the other candidate.
Turned out the process wasn’t rigged, but built in such a way that a divisive nationalist intentionally appealing to white voters could win with fewer votes than the other person.
And that’s even without factoring in that Russians were trying to influence it by spreading fake information on social media and hacking the Democratic party.
Trump didn’t stop with his “rigged” allegation, even after he won.
finding nothing to support Trump’s claims.
laid groundwork to challenge the results this coming November by saying that congressional investigations into his administration are an attempt “to win an election in 2020 that they know they cannot legitimately win!”
Meddling from the outside
And that was before Democrats impeached him for pressuring Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden while holding up needed security aid to the country and Republicans, deciding they were okay with that behavior, acquitted him in the Senate.
two Florida county election systems, although they did not manipulate any data.
Government Accountability Office reported this week that the Department of Homeland Security needs to “urgently finalize the strategic plan and the supporting operations plan for securing election infrastructure for the upcoming elections.”
It’s clear from testimony by the US intelligence community and others that Russia is still actively trying to influence the 2020 election with misinformation that spreads on social media. The question is how successful they will be.
Voter suppression and voter fraud
All of that, taken together, is a pretty clear pattern that could shake Americans’ faith in the electoral process. It is the faith in that process, and the peaceful transfer of power, that is the ground upon which the entire American experiment in self government is built and Trump has been criticized for trying to undermine it.
Russian interference in 2016 contributed to her loss.
Republicans are generally better at it, in part because they aggressively sought to control state legislatures.)
He won by less than 50,000 votes.
2018 Election Day results were invalidated.
according to NPR.
Who can vote in red states vs. blue states
has written about the electoral process.
But he added that “both political parties look to create electoral processes that likely advantage their political fortunes.”
Republicans, generally, favor more restrictive practices and Democrats favor making voting easier.
“Access to voting really depends on where you live and how competitive the parties are in your state,” he said. “Differences among the states allow for legitimate concerns to be brought up over who is shut out or invited in when it comes to the electoral process.”
maintains a database of voter laws by state.
Changing the process
Rather than seek the national spotlight as a Senate or presidential candidate, Abrams has turned making US elections more fair a call to action.
Her Twitter feed in the aftermath of the Iowa debacle is a documentation of how the Democratic primary process isn’t actually that democratic and how the party is taking minority voters, in particular, for granted.
“Regardless of the tech issues, Iowa uses a caucus system that excludes people who cannot participate because of work or family obligations. The most democratic process invites all eligible voices, which is why early and mail-in voting and a full Election Day are essential,” she tweeted.
She also called for the entire early primary system to be overhauled.
“The Iowa Caucus is a long and storied tradition, but traditions can and do change. As we build a more accessible election process, we should revisit how Democrats launch our primary season,” she said, later adding, “Suppression exists when voices are intentionally silenced AND when no one is willing to admit or fix the problem. Voter suppression awaits millions of voters in November unless we organize against efforts to block and discourage voters.”
Democrats wanted to make election reform their calling card in 2020.
Likewise, Trump’s complaints about a rigged system are unlikely to be as effective. He is, after all, the President.
“In 2020, it will be clear that Trump can win re-election and those who wish to see him unseated will be far more likely to turn out to vote to do so,” said Alexander, who added there will be an equal concern among some of his opponents that the system is actually rigged for him — “whether they view it through Russian interference or voter suppression.”