Are Iowa’s Caucuses Another Hillary Scandal?

Something is rotten in the State of Iowa. That’s what the Des Moines Register says, with the headline: “Something smells in the Democratic Party.”

What happened Monday night at the Democratic caucuses was a debacle, period. Democracy, particularly at the local party level, can be slow, messy and obscure. But the refusal to undergo scrutiny or allow for an appeal reeks of autocracy.

The Iowa Democratic Party must act quickly to assure the accuracy of the caucus results, beyond a shadow of a doubt.

First of all, the results were too close not to do a complete audit of results. Two-tenths of 1 percent separated Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton. …

Second, too many questions have been raised. Too many accounts have arisen of inconsistent counts, untrained and overwhelmed volunteers, confused voters, cramped precinct locations, a lack of voter registration forms and other problems. Too many of us, including members of the Register editorial board who were observing caucuses, saw opportunities for error amid Monday night’s chaos.

The Sanders campaign is rechecking results on its own, going precinct by precinct, and is already finding inconsistencies, said Rania Batrice, a Sanders spokeswoman. The campaign seeks the math sheets or other paperwork that precinct chairs filled out and were supposed to return to the state party. They want to compare those documents to the results entered into a Microsoft app and sent to the party.

“Let’s compare notes. Let’s see if they match,” Batrice said Wednesday.

Dr. Andy McGuire, chairwoman of the Iowa Democratic Party, dug in her heels and said no.

Did Iowa’s Democratic Party rig the results of the caucuses to hand the “victory” to Hillary, by the slimmest of margins? The Guardian writes:

In Grinnell Ward 1, the precinct where elite liberal arts college Grinnell College is located, 19 delegates were awarded to Bernie Sanders and seven were awarded to Hillary Clinton on caucus night. However, the Iowa Democratic party decided to shift one delegate from Sanders to Clinton on the night and did not notify precinct secretary J Pablo Silva that they had done so. Silva only discovered that this happened the next day, when checking the precinct results in other parts of the county.

Were other votes “shifted” by the Democratic Party? Who knows? An audit is certainly in order. The result was so close that correcting a few errors, intentional or otherwise, won’t make a significant difference in the delegate count (although Sanders claims that a proper vote count will give him “at least two” more delegates). More significant is Hillary’s razor-thin margin of alleged victory. Winning the Iowa caucuses was important to her, because Sanders is expected to clobber her in New Hampshire.

Is the Iowa Democratic Party corrupt enough to switch votes to Hillary? I have no idea, but I certainly wouldn’t put it past the Clinton machine. One wonders whether the taint of the Iowa caucuses will dog Hillary through the rest of the campaign.