Could things have started any worse for the Democrats after their virtual face-plant in Iowa? And could they have started any better for President Trump? As Damon Linker noted at The Week, "Whatever the eventual outcome of the 2020 Iowa Democratic caucuses—and whether or not anyone in our conspiracy-addled country believes in the veracity of the officially certified result—there is one clear winner of the vote, and that is President Donald Trump."
On every level, this was a disaster for the Democrats and a victory for Trump, playing into our worst conspiratorial nightmares and further enhancing the Trump mythology.
A selection of headlines on Real Clear Politics says it all:
—'Total Meltdown': Democrats Bungle Iowa Caucus Results, Korecki, et al, Politico.
—Bernie's Internal Results: Sanders 1st, Biden a Distant 4th, Ryan Grim, The Intercept.
—Biden Flopped in Iowa. So Did the Dems' Reputation, Nathan Robinson, The Guardian.
—Last Night's Big Winner? Donald J. Trump, Damon Linker, The Week.
—The Iowa Caucuses Just Died Forever, Zachary Wolf, CNN.
—Mess in Iowa Only the Beginning for 2020 Dems John Podhoretz, New York Post.
—Welcome to the New Hampshire Primary, James Pindell, Boston Globe.
—Pulling the Plug on Democrats' Life Support, Conrad Black, American Greatness.
It's almost as if the Democrats reaped what they have been sowing for the last three years, right out of the gate.
In other words, after beating the drums of Trump's alleged illegitimate victory since late 2016—he lost in the overall vote to Hillary, he colluded with Russia and he asked Ukraine to help him stop Biden—their very first primary is deeply tainted. And with fears already that there was a conspiracy to stop Bernie Sanders, will the general public take these results with total seriousness?
Last night, as the fiasco was unfolding, I did a poll on Twitter, asking: "Well, this is partly half-hearted and partly serious, but here goes anyway. What do you think is causing the long delays in releasing the results of the Democratic caucus in Iowa?"
The four choices were: Russian hacking (this has received 6.6% of the vote, as of this writing); Chinese hacking (0.9%); tech or human error (23.5%); and trying to stop Sanders (69%).
Is this in any way indicative of the thinking of the populace at large? Either way, right out of the gate, there is now suspicion and distrust in the system. The "system" failed badly, and Trump can hardly be blamed for this.
Not only so, but as Linker pointed out, if the Democrats can't run a simple caucus, how are they going to run an ever-expanding government? "The sad fact," he wrote, "is that Monday night was stunning display of rank incompetence. 'You mean this is who you want to put in charge of taking over health-care delivery from sea to shining sea?'"
Trump's team jumped on this as well, with Brad Parscale, Trump 2020 campaign manager, stating, "Democrats are stewing in a caucus mess of their own creation with the sloppiest train wreck in history," he said. "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?"
The graphics last night were also very telling, posted on numerous websites awaiting the results. On the one side, the blue side, there was a long list of candidates, all showing 0% of the vote. On the other side, the red side, was the name of Donald Trump, crushing the few Republican candidates who also ran.
What it said was this: A bunch of Democrats were still at the starting gate, fighting and tussling for space, while Trump had already lapped the field.
As The Guardian noted, "With no results, political number crunchers on cable news stared in horror at blank maps and columns of 0%. Candidates who had been expecting to make victory speeches, or consoling speeches, were left in limbo."
And this, in turn, plays into the Trump mythology.
He is always in your head.
He cannot be defeated.
He's playing 4-D chess.
He has been raised up by God Himself.
He creates chaos and then thrives in it.
And so, last week, at a rally in Des Moines, Iowa, Trump told the crowd, "They want to nullify your ballots, poison our democracy and overthrow the entire system of government. That's not happening."
He was speaking, of course, of the attempt to remove him from office, thereby nullifying the results of the 2016 election and eliminating him from the 2020 race. But his words almost seem prophetic now, as if he was pointing to the Democrats' mishandling of the Iowa caucus.
For the moment—and it is a very big moment—Donald Trump has been left with the last word. As he tweeted, "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.'"
Could this be a sign of things to come?
Dr. Michael Brown (www.askdrbrown.org) is the host of the nationally syndicated Line of Fire radio program. His latest book is Evangelicals at the Crossroads: Will We Pass the Trump Test? Connect with him on Facebook or Twitter, or YouTube.
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