The Iowa caucus is supposed to tell a story about America. He’s still trying to figure out what it meant.

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    • #400721
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      The first time was in June 2019, months into the process of trying to twist the caucus system into something more accessible and transparent via the creation of a “virtual caucus,” when the Democratic National Committee first expressed concerns about the security of the tech they were developing. Price happened to be in Israel, watching a livestream of the DNC meeting, “just screaming in my hotel room, which was probably not great because it was Shabbat.” The next time was at a DNC meeting in August, when it became clear that the party wasn’t going to allow the virtual caucus to go forward. He was summoned to meet with Tom Perez, the national party chair, in his suite at the San Francisco Marriott. Price sat down and saw the words “virtual caucus cannot go forward” written on Perez’s notepad. “That’s when my resolve ended,” he says. The meeting ended cordially, but when he got home to Des Moines, he thinks he had a nervous breakdown. Back in his office, where he kept a ball of Scotch tape that he globbed together while working for Hillary Clinton in 2016, he at one point picked up the ball and hurled it at the wall, leaving a small hole.


      Price can recount the nine days that began at 8 p.m. local time on Feb. 3, 2020, hour by awful hour, ending with his resignation as chair of the Iowa Democratic Party.

      He remembers walking down the hallway at the Iowa Events Center, the hulking concrete conference facility in Des Moines that served as headquarters on caucus night, when the tech team from the DNC stopped him and told him to turn around. They walked back to Price’s private conference room. At first, everyone was silent. They were getting Perez on the phone. Price asked what was wrong. They told him there was a problem with the results reporting system. He immediately wanted to puke. He asked what the problem was. They didn’t know. He asked if they had been hacked. They didn’t think so. The numbers were going into the app — developed that year for precinct chairs to submit results on their phones — but the numbers were getting flipped as they came out. They eventually described it as cords routed into a system: There were 17 cords plugged into various jacks, and somewhere two of them were flipped. They just needed to untangle the wires. That made sense to Price. He remembers DNC staffers seemed calm. Perez did too. He remembers they said to give them 15 minutes and they would know more. “Every 15 minutes,” he said, “they would say they needed another 15 minutes.” It was a “hell loop.”


      Down the hall in the boiler room — set up as a call center for precinct chairs to report their results if they couldn’t or didn’t want to use the app — things were also melting down. There was supposed to be a 20-minute hold time. It was two hours, at least. Pete Buttigieg’s campaign accidentally published the call center phone number and private code, causing a flood of prank calls, false reports, and people calling to curse. In total, there were 5,816 phone calls that night, more than 2,000 of which were neither answered nor picked up by the system before the caller gave up trying.

      Let this radicalize you rather than lead you to despair - Mariame Kaba

      Like many public systems, GOP want to rip the battery out + say the whole car doesn’t work, so they can sell it for parts - AOC

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      Destruction is easy; creation is hard, but more interesting.

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