All of the focus in Iowa this evening was supposed to be on any number of Democrat candidates. However there is another name that is almost certain to be on the lips of many in the party — Robbie Mook. This will be likely due to the calamitous results in the Hawkeye State. Or, maybe more accurately, the non-results.
It was midnight when there was a stark dichotomy between the two parties in regards to the Iowa caucus results. It was hours from the time that normally candidates would be giving speeches of various victorious measures, however all of the candidates gave their address to followers, but no one claimed a real victory.
That was because due to technical foul up the results of the Democrat vote were not able to be reported for any of the precincts. Many reports cited a reporting application that was put in place by Mook, campaign manager from the Hillary Clinton 2016 election camp.
As the clock ticked over to Tuesday the GOP had reported all of its precinct results. The Democrats were the polar opposite– 0% reported. A number of explanations were given for the fact that no one was sure of the result. Some had said there was a delay in the count, then ‘’quality control’’ was cited, and then more detailed news came that there was an issue with the integrity of some of the results. It gradually came to be revealed that the problem could be attributed to a reporting app that was failing to a varying degree.
There are now reports that the app that caucus leaders are using to report Iowa results isn’t working. Nobody knows who owns the app and there were major security concerns: https://t.co/l6bfvyOSpT
— Scott Stedman (@ScottMStedman) February 4, 2020
The candidates had all manner of patient to impatient reactions to the stalled process, but there was word from the Bernie Sanders camp that they were deeply suspicious over the lack of reporting. Those suspicions may not be the work of conspiracy theories.
A spokesperson from the Iowa Democratic party declared there was no issue with the app as some had claimed.
Robbie Mook issued a brief comment late Monday night where he stated he was not in any way involved with the application.
Sorry, folks. I did NOT have anythjng to do with building the Iowa caucus app. I dont know anything about it, had no role in it, and dont own a company that makes mobile appa. Please contact @iowademocrats with questions about it.
— Robby Mook (@RobbyMook) February 4, 2020
However this defies a report that appeared in the Des Moines Register just last week that detailed how the state party was employing the new system. It was put in place by the Defending Digital Democracy Project, a system launched by Mook to aid in election security. Further, he was named as one of those who worked directly with setting up the system.
They worked with campaign experts Robby Mook and Matt Rhodes — as well as experts in cybersecurity, national security, technology and election administration — and simulated the different ways that things could go wrong on caucus night.
Mook, 2016 campaign manager for Hillary Clinton, and Rhodes, Mitt Romney’s 2012 campaign manager, helped develop a public-service video to alert campaigns to the warning signs of hacking and misinformation.
As far as the party officials attempting to deflect the problems away from the app, this contradicts earlier reports that the app was giving campaign workers problems early in the day on Monday. A number of county chairs from across the state were reporting an array of issues, from downloading the program to being able to access the app by logging in. Many had declared they would need to forego using the app altogether and resort to calling in results rather than electronic submission.
The IDP had been alerted to these problems ahead of the vote tally, but had stated that there would be no problems as a result. The state party even issued a statement addressing the concerns. “The IDP is working with any precinct chairs who want to use the optional tabulation application to make sure they are comfortable with it,” Mandy McClure, the party spokeswoman, said in a statement.
The look for the Democrats is not a good one at all. A crucial first vote of the campaign season is nonexistent. The Iowa result is frequently pointed as more than crucial to a candidate getting traction in the ensuing election but most of the time the Caucus winner has been going on to secure the party nomination. Now the party is in a position where not only is campaign momentum becoming dissipated but also the eventual declared winner will have a cloud of doubt over their victory.
It becomes more than problematic when you have party officials deflecting blame away from a technical problem they were previously alerted to, and a key designer comes out to say he had nothing to do with the technology who was previously hailed as a key player in rolling out the system.
Make that designer someone with deep connections to Hillary Clinton and the issues within the Democratic Party become gravely important on the very first crucial vote of the election season.