Four more years

The Democratic party responded to hears of Russian election meddling by hacking their own election:

Democratic party officials in Iowa worked furiously Tuesday to deliver the delayed results of their first-in-the-nation caucus, as frustrated presidential candidates claimed momentum and plowed ahead in their quest for the White House.

Technology problems and reporting “inconsistencies” kept Iowa Democratic Party officials from releasing results from Monday’s caucus, the much-hyped kickoff to the 2020 primary. It was an embarrassing twist after months of promoting the contest as a chance for Democrats to find some clarity in a jumbled field with no clear front-runner.

Instead, caucus day ended with no winner, no official results and many fresh questions about whether Iowa can retain its coveted “first” status.

Now I know why @Iowahawk moved to Texas.

Democrats faced the possibility that whatever numbers they ultimately released would be questioned. And beyond 2020, critics began wondering aloud whether the Iowa caucuses, a complicated set of political meetings staged in a state that is whiter and older than the Democratic Party, are a tradition whose time had passed.

The party has tried to accommodate critics, this year by promising to report three different data points about voters’ preferences, presumably improving transparency. But the new system created new headaches.

State party spokeswoman Mandy McClure said it had “found inconsistencies in the reporting of three sets of results,” forcing officials to try to verify results with “underlying data” and the paper trail.

Some of the trouble stemmed from issues with a new mobile app developed to report results to the party. Caucus organizers reported problems downloading the app and other glitches.

Des Moines County Democratic Chair Tom Courtney said the new app created “a mess.” As a result, Courtney said precinct leaders were phoning in results to the state party headquarters, which was too busy to answer their calls in some cases.

Organizers were still looking for missing results several hours after voting concluded.

If the Republican Party is the Terminator, the Democratic Party is C3P0. How on earth do you screw it up this badly, at such an important time? They should be united in the fight to take down a uniquely harmful President, but now they’re fighting among themselves. As usual.

Trump can’t win in 2020. But Democrats can lose in 2020, and they almost certainly will.

The Democratic candidate who does come out of this mess looking the best is probably Mike Bloomberg. I certainly didn’t agree with all of his policies as mayor of New York, but at least he was competent at it. And his decision to avoid wasting time in Iowa (and New Hampshire) now looks like a stroke of genius.

Divorce trial by combat

Honestly, compared to several family law matters in which I’ve been involved, this would be much less painful:

A Kansas man has asked an Iowa judge to let him engage in a sword fight with his ex-wife and her attorney in a trial by combat that will settle their ongoing legal dispute.

David Ostrom, 40, of Paola, Kansas, said in a 3 January court filing that his former wife, Bridgette Ostrom, 38, of Harlan, Iowa, and her attorney, Matthew Hudson, had “destroyed (him) legally”.

The judge had the power to let the parties “resolve our disputes on the field of battle, legally,” David Ostrom said, adding in his filing that trial by combat “has never been explicitly banned or restricted as a right in these United States”.

He also asked the judge for 12 weeks’ time so he could secure Japanese samurai swords.