February 04, 2016
Such nettlesome facts count for little, though: the media tells the paint-by-numbers story of the establishment’s certain redemption in the polls because it’s the story that the media was built to tell. And Iowa is, in its twisted way, the perfect showcase for this tale because the Iowa caucus process is the most obdurately undemocratic balloting ritual this side of the Florida pageant of hanging chads and disfranchised African Americans. To tease any sort of abiding civic-republican moral from the seamy conduct of the caucuses requires some truly epic lurches into wish-fulfillment fantasy.Chris Lehmann in The Baffler.
... That Iowa City caucus, like many in the eastern half of the state, went overwhelmingly to Sanders, but his commanding margin there didn’t translate into correspondingly fulsome gains in the delegate column. That’s because the caucus voters aren’t voting for candidates at all so much as for recondite formulas by which party bosses eventually allot delegates to a major party convention. ... This is all to say nothing of the outlandish ways in which caucus votes are weighted to favor past trends in a precinct’s voter participation — as if that had any bearing on anything — and the eventual nomination-rigging practice known as super-delegate apportionment.
On the Republican side, shenanigans likewise abounded. When Ben Carson announced he was leaving the state ahead of any final tabulation of returns, Cruz apparatchiks pounced to circulate the unfounded rumor that Carson had bagged his presidential run altogether. Suppressing turnout for your rivals, and opportunistically poaching their supporters in the caucus cattle call — it’s all just more of democracy’s rich pageant.
As thuggishness like this transpires, media onlookers typically wander off to play with shiny new things...