Background Briefing: February 4, 2020


A Coding Error in a New App Creates Chaos in Iowa

We begin with the voting tabulation meltdown in Iowa in which the results of the much-anticipated first election in 2020 presidential race were held up by the Iowa Democratic Party due to a coding error in a new app used to tabulate results. With 62% of the results released today at 5 PM Eastern while the final totals still remain unavailable with no clear understanding of how much and when the totals will be released, it appears that Pete Buttigieg is ahead, followed by Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren in third place with Joe Biden coming in fourth. Again these are not the final totals as we go to air one hour before the State Of The Union begins. Joining us now is Justin Levitt, the Associate Dean for Research and a Professor of Law at Loyola University Law School who is an expert on election law and election administration whose work has been cited extensively in the media and in the courts, including the Supreme Court. We discuss whether this inauspicious opening of the first uncertain and incomplete results in the 2020 election campaign augers more troubles ahead as new voting machines are being deployed in Georgia and here in California. And since the caucus method of voting itself appears to be a cumbersome anomaly that is often arbitrary ending with a disparity between the number of votes for a candidate and the number of delegates they end up with, should the whole process be scrapped and replaced by the tried and true method of casting ballots and counting them?


The Company That Supplied The App’s Ties to the Democratic Establishment

Then we look into the company who supplied the app responsible for the Iowa debacle Shadow which is owned by ACRONYM headed by a veteran of The Obama Administration and the Hillary Clinton 2016 campaign’s tech division which lost overwhelmingly to Trump’s effective use of Facebook (along with Russian trolls) after the Clinton campaign turned down a similar offer from Facebook. Lee Fang, an investigative journalist with The Intercept where he has an article “New Details Show How Deeply Iowa Caucus App Developer Was Embedded in Democratic Establishment”, joins us.


Who Is Best to Campaign on Pocketbook Populism?

Then finally we speak with Robert Kuttner, the co-founder of The American Prospect who was formerly an assistant to the legendary I.F. Stone and a chief investigator for the Senate Banking Committee who for 20 years wrote a column for Business Week, and is the author of The Stakes: 2020 and the Survival of American Democracy. We discuss his article at The American Prospect “Was Impeachment a Mistake” and with preliminary results from Iowa having Buttigieg ahead of Bernie, we will assess who is best to campaign on the pocketbook populism issues Kuttner feels are needed to win back the votes of working Americans to defeat Trump.