Despite having endorsed Hillary Clinton prior to the Iowa caucuses, the Des Moines Register has joined a chorus of critics who believe something fishy went on last Monday night. Clinton edged out her rival Bernie Sanders by only 0.2 percentage points, leading many to view the results skeptically.
“Too many questions have been raised,” wrote the editorial board. “Too many accounts have arisen of inconsistent counts, untrained and overwhelmed volunteers, confused voters, cramped precinct locations, a lack of voter registration forms and other problems.”
The Register called on the DNC to initiate a “complete audit” of the vote to ensure the integrity of the results. The editorial said that the party’s refusal to take a closer look at the raw data would only fuel the growing discontent among supporters of Sanders. “Their candidate, after all, is opposed by the party establishment – and wasn’t even a Democrat a few months ago.”
So far, though, DNC officials have resisted the pressure. Iowa Democratic Chair Andrew McGuire told the paper that she was satisfied with the process. “The answer is that we had all three camps in the tabulation room last night to address any grievances brought forward, and we went over any discrepancies. These are the final results,” she declared.
As pointed out by the Daily Caller, though, McGuire may not be the kind of objective voice needed to stifle the controversy. The former Meridian Health executive has donated thousands of dollars to Clinton’s previous campaigns and, at least at one point, drove a car with an HRC2016 license plate. Suffice to say – bumper stickers are one thing, but a custom license plate is a whole different story. There’s no direct evidence that McGuire thwarted democracy on behalf of Clinton, but her confidence in the results must be viewed with skepticism.
“Her path forward is clear,” wrote the Register’s editorial board. “Work with all the campaigns to audit results. Break silly party tradition and release the raw vote totals. Provide a list of each precinct coin flip and its outcome, as well as other information sought by the Register. Be transparent.”
The victory in Iowa has taken much of the pressure off Clinton as she heads into New Hampshire trailing Sanders by double digits. Given how she and the media have portrayed the upcoming vote, she’ll be able to spin anything other than a complete landslide as another victory. Heading into the South, where her popularity with African-Americans makes her tough to beat, she is undoubtedly feeling renewed confidence in her ability to bring home the nomination.
In a year marked by severe discontent with the establishment in both parties, the idea that this election might ultimately come down to Clinton vs. Rubio is unfortunate. Voters who hoped this might be a unique moment in American political history are seeing those hopes drain away with every passing day. Can Trump mount a comeback? Can Ted Cruz ride his upset in Iowa to electoral success in less-favorable states? Is there any candidate – Republican, Democrat, socialist, populist, or other – who can defeat the Clinton machine? Does the system still work at all?
These questions will be answered. And when they are, the American people may have some tough choices to make.