February 26, 2020

Can Iowa recover from caucus app debacle? - Daily Leader Extra : Editorials

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Can Iowa recover from caucus app debacle?

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Posted: Tuesday, February 11, 2020 2:59 pm

We feel for our neighboring state to the southeast over the disastrous caucuses a week ago.

Iowa has long held an extraordinary influence over presidential elections. That state's caucus -- similar to a primary -- is the first in the nation, and prospective presidential nominees want to do well in Iowa. Those who do poorly in Iowa have been known to drop out of the race altogether.

The importance of Iowa benefits the state's economy: the hiring of paid staff in the state, huge advertising budgets, and being mentioned daily in news reports around the nation all help Iowa. Issues that are important to Iowa -- like ethanol -- are raised in profile.

That's why the embarrassment of not being able to tally the votes in a timely manner is worrisome. The Des Moines Register said what happened was "more akin to a gymnastics routine, one in which the state Democratic Party belly-flopped the landing."

We won't get into detail about how a newly-introduced smartphone app sabotaged the event, other than it's often a bad decision to reject methods that have worked for decades in lieu of a new, cool, untested technology.

Nevertheless, we hope Iowa can quickly recover and re-establish itself for future presidential elections. South Dakota probably benefits a bit from the Iowa caucuses (lots of money is spent in Sioux City, which probably spills over into southeast South Dakota), and Iowa's political issues are probably pretty close to our state's agenda, as well.

Reducing the public relations damage is most important, then establishing new policies and practices for 2024 needs to be addressed sooner rather than waiting. We hope Iowa recovers quickly.

-- Jon M. Hunter