So, it’s getting close to finding out what Democratic candidate finished first in the Iowa caucuses, yesterday.  Of course, the results were supposed to be announced before midnight, central time, yesterday. It’s 3:25 here in the Midwest. Perhaps by the time this posting concludes that “winner” will be annouced. I put quotes around winner because already there are suspicions about the DNC and its very clear agenda of avoiding–at any and all costs–one Bernie Sanders from the momentum that this first formal public assessment of candidate worthiness for the White House should he prevail. Bernie? The socialist! Quick! Secure the children! Bolt the doors!

Apparently–or should I say APP-arently–the vote count was to be calculated by an app. It went very wrong. But apps are countless. What do you need to know or do? There likely is an app for that need. A Portugese dictionary? Yep. There’s an app for that. How to cook to impress–her? There’s an app for that, too. But of course again. Big Tech is, by this time, a major influence in most everyone’s life. I suppose there are recluses somewhere out there, holed up in a natural cavity of some sandstone formation out near Death Valley. You know there’re out there. The assumption is that they must be mentally ill to live away from society and its 21st century connectivity provided by one social media platform or another. Maybe he/she is bonko. So what? Aren’t we all in one measure or another? This hypothetical recluse might be “crazy” but with the typical news of the day, wouldn’t it be refreshing to not even know what new craziness has manifested itself somewhere in one or another outpost in the greater USA? Safely tucked away in that cave, The Recluse is in a blissful state: that being ignorance, as the saying along that line goes.

The Iowa caucus went haywire because of an app that didn’t work? Recluse is innoculated from such information’s inherent WTF? reaction. Okay, maybe there’s a radio in the cave, but a true Recluse Cave Person doesn’t have electricity and probably can’t budget for batteries that easily. This is theoretical, of couse. Just play along okay?

We non-cavers most likely have at least a cell phone. Still using a flip-phone? Okay, but it does permit being connected. Plenty of people have smart phones, plus a tablet, plus a laptop. You can spot them in coffee shops, or libraries, at their work desks. Or in their houses, condos, apartment buildings–their version of a sophisticated cave. I’m one of them per my Samsung A50 and my 72 unit apartment building. My laptop, an HP passed away about a year ago. I still haven’t replaced it. Maybe someday…I’m still well connected without it. Smart phones are more powerful per computing ability than those that helped get man to the moon, honest to HP! And as such, the app-gaff in Iowa is on my connectivity radar. But I’m not wringing my hands about it. I’m not surpised by it. I’m amused. Why? Unlike the prevailing political notion of this initial voice of the voter/citizen being counted, proclaiming great importance as to its outcome, I’m okay with the the app-wrench that wrecked the programmed, machination of insufferable self-importance of the matter. I mean, it’s goddam IOWA, a virtually lily-white state, with a dinky population of 3.1 million in a country of about 350 million people. Why is this Iowa caucus given such reverence? Disregarding the ongoing fiasco of the app flop that is still being sorted out, usually whoever gets the most thumbs up from the caucus-goers is annoited as a literal front runner for the Party’s nomination. Really? From a podunk state like Iowa? Really? Iowa?!

Hey, in my home state of Illinois there are over 12 million people and just about every race, ethnicity, and religion is represented within it. Or even more wildly diverse would be New York state, with almost 20 million poeple, 8 million ( and quite a mix of race, ethnicity, etc. as well) alone in New York City. Or the biggest of the big, and again a state of much diversity, is California and its nearly 40 million inhabitants. Texas, with it’s prideful “bigness” has 28.7 million. In fact, the 10 most diverse states are–in order of percentages– California; Texas, Hawaii, New Jersey, New York, New Mexico, Maryland, Florida, Nevada and Illinois.

So, why is Iowa such a big deal? Other than the media breathlessly reporting on it as though it somehow is. But it isn’t. What difference does it make who wins a scrawny amount of supporters in the low population, 43rd most diverse state in the country? This is nonsense. The good news is that Big Tech has likely reduced Iowa’s self-importance, now that it has shown it can’t even operate an app to reliably count the damn votes, which once upon a time was by a ballot box, as were all elections from “back in the day”. But that’s so low tech, eh? Well, counting votes, or rather a vote being counted, has become scandalous in our national elections for a long time now. Gerrymandering. Voter suppression legislation. Dubious touch-screen voting, SCOTUS gutting the voting rights act. The 2000 election in which the Supreme Court literally appointed Geoge W. Bush as President when it told the State of florida to STOP COUNTING VOTES (before Al Gore could be shown as the clear winner; look it up if you doubt; the final vote was ultimately tallied and Gore indeed would have prevailed).

Yeah, counting the vote accurately matters. But can we get real about making such a big deal out of the teenie, tiny, semi-microscopic voter turnout of the Iowa caucus? Why not start with any of those top-ten states per population and/or diversity? Even more absurd is that the next measure of profound electoral importance will emanate from New Hampshire, and its population of 1.3 million people, and rank of 47th per diveristy. Hell New Hampshirep

makes Iowa look like its overrun with people, and rich with different kinds of folk by comparison. N.H. is 94% white! Aren’t the Democrats suppose to be the party of all  people, regardless of their particular distinctions? Never mind. That slogan is implied, even as it’s grubbing for votes in caucasian strongholds.

Iowa! New Hampshire! App-sol-lute-ly!

The 2020 election is almost exactly 9 months away, the same time frame for the gestation period of we humans from the point that a a single male sperm hooks up with a single female egg in the fallopian tube of love. No dating app needed for that redezvous. Of these two events that will reach their critical mass in the next nine months, one is always considered a miracle, and a moment of extreme, profound wonder, pride, relief and joy. The other one, I have a feeling, will be a dreadful culmination of a corrupted and incompetent electoral process. Anything may pop out of the political ooze that is this very day already a putrid mess, even without voting apps to gum up this massively flawed means of choosing whom to lead the way into the future. 

Well, for you non-Iowans or Hampshire-ites, your state will eventually have its day. Hopefully those first two contests in sparesly populated, very white outposts of America will not have already sealed the deal on a candidate not of your choosing being annointed The Chosen One. After all, they are SO closely watched as arbiters of a final outcome. By the media at least.

If the outcome is not at all to your liking, and you are angry and feaful, there’s probably an app for on-line psychotherapy. Hopefully it won’t be made by the same outfit that provided Iowa with the one that is the news of this day.



About jharrin4

mass communication/speech instructor at College of DuPage and Triton College in suburban Chicago. Army veteran of the Viet Nam era.
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1 Response to In-App-titude

  1. It’s now past 11 pm Tuesday CST and the votes/ delegates reported correspond to just 62% of those who participated in this fiasco of a primary in Iowa. Imagine what November 2020 will look like. I doubt there will be an app that can prepare us for that!


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