Shadow of Iowa Looms Large Over DNC Primary Betting

  • On Monday, Feb. 3, Iowa held the state’s primary caucus.
  • Issues with the DNC caucus app resulted in a domino-effect of controversies, that has left the Demcorats without a winner.
  • Pete Buttigieg claimed victory with 0% of precincts reporting.
  • As more information comes out about the app, Bernie Sanders supporters are crying foul.
Congratulations, Democratic Party – all of your hard work over these past couple months has finally paid off; Donald Trump has won four more years in the White House. The rest of the election cycle is merely academic from here.

As I write this, a full day after the Iowa caucuses, we still don’t have an official winner. With the entire progressive wing of the party already on edge after 2016’s perceived robbery, Iowa put on a truly impressive comedy of errors, that – if somebody wrote this as a fictional story – would be too on-the-nose and lacking subtlety for anyone to take seriously.

I mean, at the center of this whole controversy is a company named “Shadow Inc.,” for god sakes. And it just-so-happens to be staffed, almost exclusively by ex-Hillary Clinton staffers!

Fresh off of breaking a 76-year-old tradition by withholding the Des Moines Register poll — which reportedly put Bernie on top (with Warren and Buttigieg in second and third place, respectively), the Sanders supporters are already starting to call “BS.”

Whether Iowa’s disastrous caucus was a consequence of ineptitude or nefariousness isn’t of any concern now – the optics are terrible.

Here’s What We Know:

(These are the broad strokes from Monday in Iowa, more in-depth findings concerning the app and its developers are further down the page.)

  • On caucus day, the plan was for precinct captains to download the DNC caucus app, built to help officials record the multiple rounds of voting, calculate viability, and relay the results to the Iowa Democratic Party leadership.
  • By Monday afternoon, there were reports of the app crashing or failing to submit the proper data.
  • As a backup for the app, paper ballots were used as well.
  • Additionally, each campaign had representatives at the various precincts recording their own totals.

  • Due to the instability of the application, the Iowa Democratic Party (IDP) decided to use the paper backups instead.
  • On Monday night, the IDP reported that the delays were a “quality control” measure, due to discrepancies in the three sets of results (the app, paper ballots, and photos).
  • With 0% of the precincts reporting official numbers, McKinsey-product Pete Buttigieg gave a victory speech and tweeted that “Iowa, you have shocked the nation, because, by all indications, we are going on to New Hampshire victorious.
  • The IDP only released 62% of the official results on Tuesday.
  • They have Bernie Sanders winning the popular vote in Iowa, with Buttigieg winning more delegates.
  • The regions yet to be reported are primarily in strong precincts for Bernie Sanders.
  • Joe Biden is estimated to have finished either in fourth or fifth place.

Too Late Now

Whether the final numbers are consistent with the 62% of the results – which show Sen. Sanders leading in the popular vote, but Pete Buttigieg winning more delegates — reported today or not, the damage has already been done. Even if Iowa Democratic Party announces Bernie as the winner once 100% of the ballots are calculated, it won’t have the impact.

Winning the first State isn’t about their handful of pledged delegates, it’s about momentum. That’s gone now.

On Tuesday, the news networks spent most of their coverage, plastering partial results on their screens and declaring Pete the winner, based on delegate allocation. Meanwhile, most of the missing data belongs to Bernie-centric regions of Iowa, a coincidence, I’m sure.

The delays also help Joe Biden, whose campaign has suggested they might challenge the validity of the caucuses as a whole, after finishing in a dismal fourth or fifth place. The lack of concrete numbers has stopped the primaries from progressing naturally and left all of the candidates – except for Pete, the single beneficiary of the confusion – in limbo heading into the New Hampshire debate.

Why the Delay is Suspicious

With the delays ongoing, many in the liberal new media have blamed Bernie Sanders, who is responsible for the new rules after a controversial 0.3% loss to Hillary Clinton in 2016. For the first time, in 2020, the state party is going to be releasing all of the results – the first tally, second realignment, and delegate totals – to the public, in the name of “transparency.”

What the IDP didn’t seem to anticipate was all of the campaigns keeping thorough records of their own, and making them public as the night went on. Now, they’re apparently stuck having only partially released the numbers on Tuesday.

By all accounts, they’re attempting to trace the paper trail and photos to figure out where the app’s reporting went wrong. Combined with the fact that the precincts being held up are all strongholds for Sen. Sanders, the longer it takes to declare an official winner, the more it looks like the paper ballots tell a story much more favorable to Bernie.

And that’s a big problem, once you learn who’s behind that caucusing app.

It could also be like Marianne Williamson said, and the application is merely a “red herring.” The 62% reported may have been the cherry-picked amount of data required to show Buttigieg with a slight lead over Bernie.

When the full numbers are eventually released, if Sanders is winning both the popular vote and the delegates, we’ll know that the delay was orchestrated to deprive Bernie’s campaign of the big victory announcement and subsequent momentum.

It’s like when the mainstream news outlets report an inaccurate story on their front page, let it go through the 24-hour news cycle for a few days, then release a quiet retraction days later. By then, the dishonest message has already made its impact – and thus far, that’s telling America that Mayor Pete is the big winner in Iowa.

Des Moines Register Poll

We should have known what we were in for this weekend when the Des Moine Register poll was withheld for the first time in 76-years. Little did we know, that in doing so, the Register – hailed for conducting one of the most respected surveys in the nation – would give its most prophetic forecast yet.

Forget about the leaked numbers – by not releasing anything, the DMR told us exactly what to expect on Monday night! The poll, which – when leaked — showed Sanders winning Iowa with 22%, followed by Warren (18%), Buttigieg (16%), and Biden (13%), apparently came under scrutiny from Mayor Pete’s campaign.

Buttigieg’s campaign spokeswoman, Lis Smith, tweeted:
  • “Since people are asking:

    Our campaign received a report from a recipient of the Iowa Poll call, raising concerns that not every candidate was named by the interviewer when asked who they support (1/2)”

  • “We shared this with the organizations behind the poll, who conducted an internal investigation and determined not to release it. We applaud CNN and the Des Moines Register for their integrity.”

So, an A+ rated poll (by FiveThirtyEight) gets canceled for the first time in many decades because one recipient claims not to have been given Pete as an option? And it just-so-happens that Bernie Sanders was leading in said poll, while Buttigieg was a disappointing third, with only 16% support?

On its own, you could chalk this one up to surveyor error and smart politics – but everything that’s happened since Monday makes this Des Moine Register story look bad.

Shadow Inc. (You Can’t Make This Stuff Up)

Once the name of the company behind the DNC caucus app was discovered, social media sprang into action. Before long, internet researchers had discovered a treasure-trove of information, some of which is fairly disturbing in an alleged first-world democratic republic.

Shadow and ACRONYM

  • In April 2019, Nancy Pelosi, Neera Tanden,Chuck Schumer, Bernard Schwartz, Pete Buttigieg, and other top Democratic donors and party loyalists were reported to be holding a series of meetings focused on how to defeat Bernie Sanders.
  • The DNC caucus application in question was developed by a company named Shadow Inc.
  • It was engineered in the last two months.
  • Shadow Inc. has received funding from the DNC, Pete Buttigieg’s campaign – Pete for America Inc., Biden for President, and Democratic super PACs.
  • Shadow Inc.’s parent company is ACRONYM – a DNC-linked super PAC/campaign consulting non-profit with an emphasis on technology.
  • In addition to building the caucus app, ACRONYM is behind the DNC’s $75 million “counter disinformation team” to control the narrative for Dems online.
  • ACRONYM was founded in 2017 by Tara McGowan.

Connections to the Buttigieg Campaign

  • Tara McGowan, the founder and CEO of ACRONYM is married to Michael Halle.
  • Michael Halle is currently employed by Pete Buttigieg’s campaign as a strategist. He previously worked for “Hillary Clinton for America.”
  • Michael Halle’s brother, Ben Halle, is also employed by the Buttigieg campaign – as the Iowa Communications Director.
  • On Monday night, Ben Halle repeatedly tweeted photos of caucus worksheets, with their login PINs clearly visible, potentially allowing outside users into the app.
  • Tara McGowan has been a vocal supporter of Mayor Pete on Twitter.
  • She’s equally anti-Bernie.
  • Based on her connection to the Clinton campaign and importance to the 2020 Democratic strategy, McGowan likely took part in one or more of the 2019 “stop Bernie” meetings with DNC donors and leadership.

Shadow Inc.’s ex-Hillary Clinton Staffers

  • Shadow Inc’s CEO is Gerard Niemira. In 2015, Niemira was a senior product manager for the Hillary Clinton campaign. In 2016, he was put in charge of the tools Hillary’s campaign used for volunteers.
  • Ahna Roa, a product manager at Shadow, previously worked for the Hillary campaign as a Special Assistant to the CTO.
  • James Hickey, the COO at Shadow Inc., worked previously as an Engineering Manager for Hillary for America.
  • Krista Davis, CTO at Shadow, was a Staff Backend Software Engineer for the 2016 Clinton campaign.
  • Greta Carnes, formerly a Digital Organizing Director at ACRONYM, is now the Buttigieg campaign’s National Organizing Director.
  • The DNC caucus application that Shadow Inc. Produced was vetted for integrity by Robby Mook’s company. Mook was the campaign manager for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential run.

So, can you see why it’s a bit problematic that it was Mayor Pete who supposedly outperformed the leaked Des Moines Register poll? That same poll that the Buttigieg campaign had spiked over a single respondent alleging Pete was left off their survey?

Then, on caucus day, it’s Pete who claims victory before any official numbers have been reported. This is after his Iowa Comms director spent much of the night tweeting out sensitive login info that may have compromised the integrity of the app.

Finally, the Iowa state party apparently gets stuck after only processing 62% of the paper tallies, conveniently showing Buttigieg leading Bernie Sanders in delegates most of the day. Tuesday then comes to a close without a final answer.

How it Looks to Me

This is the part where I remind you that I’m not a journalist. Some of the predictions I make can’t be 100% substantiated – I’d probably lose trying to prove them in a court of law (at least without having full access to the relevant documents/info).

But I will say this:

When it comes to betting on politics, taking a cynical, conspiratorial point-of-view has served me well more often than not. If you still don’t believe that the political establishment manipulates their elections to prevent disruptive outsider candidates from getting too far, I don’t know what to tell you.

There isn’t a person running in the 2020 presidential race that the wealthy donor classes of both parties hate more than Bernie Sanders – what he’s proposing will impact the profit margins – if not outright destroy – several of the wealthiest, most influential industries in America.

We’re talking about weapons manufacturers, insurance companies, banks, oil companies, and oligarchs — all with lots to lose from a Sanders presidency. These aren’t run by executives who just lose an election and get forced into paying for poor people’s housing or healthcare.

I believe that the DNC caucus app was working exactly as it was intended – which meant shaving votes away from Bernie, Amy Klobuchar, and Elizabeth Warren and giving them to Pete.

In fact, one precinct chair told CNNthat “the app got stuck on the very last step when reporting results, which was uploading a picture of the precinct’s results. The chair said they were finally able to upload the results and screenshotted what the uploaded. But the app showed different numbers than what they had submitted as captured in their screenshot.”

When the app started crashing, as it hadn’t been properly stress-tested, the party had to turn to the paper ballots and photos. Once they started comparing the application data with the paper tallies and the self-recorded numbers that campaigns were posting on social media, the IDP realized they had a huge problem.

Now, they’re stuck – trying to finalize the vote and delegate totals, without alerting Democratic voters to the fact that something dirty took place. Knowing that they’d be forced to announce Sen. Sanders as the winner eventually, they did the next best thing: hold back the results, while only releasing the percentage of the tallies necessary to show Mayor Pete with an edge in State Delegate Equivalents.

By the time Bernie is declared the winner, it’ll be time for the New Hampshire debate and the subsequent primary. He’s already lost the momentum traditionally afforded to the victor. Plus, this entire charade does nothing but discourage his supporters, who were already dubious of the primary process after 2016.

Democratic Primaries Betting Predictions

Iowa gave us a better glimpse of what Bernie Sanders is up against this election cycle. Everywhere he looks – in the mainstream media, the DNC, and influential super PACs – the Vermont Senator is surrounded by Clintonites. Considering Hillary hasn’t exactly been shy about her disdain for Bernie over the past year, or so, I can guess all of these highly-placed officials have similar feelings.

On the other hand,
…the opening caucuses also showed us that the Sanders campaign is prepared for the establishment’s games. They went into Iowa with an app of their own and made sure to start releasing their findings as soon as Mayor Pete made his outrageous announcement.

From a political betting perspective, however, I’ve never been surer that Bernie Sanders will never be allowed the presidency. He’ll have the following, but weird little coincidences will happen along the way that just barely prevents the Senator from picking up enough delegates to avoid a second vote at the Democratic National Convention.

Soon, Michael Bloomberg will play a more prominent role in the primaries as every progressive’s biggest nightmare. He’s here to play the foil.

After New Hampshire, Mayor Pete will start a steep decline. He doesn’t carry any support from African Americans, a voting bloc that makes up over 20% of the Democratic electorate. He’ll eventually throw his support behind Elizabeth Warren – maybe in exchange for the Vice-Presidential nominee.

At the convention, Bloomberg will serve the purpose of making Warren more palatable to Bernie Sanders supporters — which is why I’m sticking by my prediction Monday, of Elizabeth Warren winning the Democratic nomination.

To Win the Democratic Nomination – Elizabeth Warren (+1400)

If I thought everything was on the up-and-up, I’d roll with Bernie. I do believe he has the most formidable campaign, extensive ground game, and the largest following – but he also has the most powerful enemies.

Trump Reelection Bets

Donald Trump is celebrating. Less than forty-eight hours before he’s to be acquitted in his impeachment case, the Democratic Party has presented themselves as either inept or corrupt – probably both.

On Tuesday, the same day as the State of the Union address, a Gallup poll showed that the President’s approval rating hit 49% — 95% among his own party, his highest since entering office. The night before, he won the Republican Party’s Iowa caucus with 97% of the support.

Even the President couldn’t have dreamed of a better outcome this week. With his opposition flunking tremendously in their impeachment attempt, and the DNC imploding any hope of avoiding inter-party bad blood at the convention, everything’s coming up roses for Trump.

Barring some significant changes to the Democratic Party’s approach to Bernie Sanders, we’re going to see a repeat of 2016. Warren will win the nomination, but too many Sanders supporters will be disenfranchised and embittered by all of the controversial “coincidences” they’re forced to swallow during the primaries. When the time comes to vote, they’ll stay home, vote third-party, or cast a ballot for Trump out of spite.

You can bet President Trump today at the following odds:

Online Sportsbook Trump’s 2020 Election Betting Odds
Bovada -150
BetOnline -145
888Sport -148

However, I’d suggest waiting to make some additional bets later on. Trump is surging at the moment, with lots of big wins coming in a short period of time. Wait for the Democratic field to generate some excitement, and you should find better odds on betting the incumbent.

Don’t Want to Hear Another Word about “Foreign Influences”

Speaking of the President and Iowa – I don’t want to hear another word about foreign governments, Russian bots, or Donald Trump unfairly interfering in our elections. It’s becoming abundantly clear that none of the media’s favorite “bad guys,” hold a candle to the US’s domestically created underhandedness.

Pouring over the details of this boondoggle, there’s nothing Vladimir Putin could do to us that our own parties aren’t already doing to ourselves. If Monday night’s activities took place in South America or the Middle East, the US we threaten sanctions and/or intervention, and UN election monitors would be sent in.

Of course, the neoliberal mouthpieces – like MSNBC, CNN, Neera Tanden, Dr. Jason Johnson, CNN – are already out there calling anyone with major suspicions about Iowa, a “conspiracy theorist,” that’s playing into Putin’s hands. Whatever – those attacks are losing their sting.

After all, what would Russia have any interest in influencing or changing? The DNC is doing a fine job of destroying itself all on its own.

Will Cormier / Author

Will Cormier is a sports and political betting writer living in downtown Las Vegas, Nevada. When he’s not wandering around the streets of the Arts District aimlessly, a lifetime of pessimism and paranoia has made Will perfectly suited for handicapping politics. Cormier tries to analyze current events as objectively as possible – a strategy that often enrages loyalists on both the right and the left. When he’s not covering major upcoming elections, Will enjoys writing about basketball, football, and MMA from a betting perspective. He also loves dogs, ice cream sundaes, the movie “Stomp the Yard,” and long walks on the beach.

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