The United States’ 2020 Presidential election cycle is in full swing and it’s as messy as it’s ever been.

The 2020 Iowa caucuses took place Monday, Feb. 3, 2020, and after a long night of triumphant speeches candidates became aware that something had gone awry. The results were not coming in as expected and nobody seemed to know why.

As it would turn out, the culprit for the issues was an app developed by a company called Shadow and its supporters at Acronym. According to an article published on by Emily Stewart today, Feb. 5, 2020, Acronym is a Democratic organization that was formed in 2017. In 2018 it became a nonprofit political action committee (PAC) with for-profit organizations working under it. Its work is undoubtedly shady and it has kept relatively quiet so far about the technical failures that took place Monday night into Tuesday.

Shadow, the company directly responsible for the failed app used at the caucuses, was developed by former Clinton (2016) campaign personnel. In the wake of Hillary Clinton’s loss in 2016, the company’s projects experienced technical failures and fallout financially, nearly driving the company to bankruptcy.

The app in question also experienced these technical failures which caused glitches in the system, which in turn delayed the caucus results. Incorrect number tabulations are an unaffordable mistake for the Democratic party. The party has been clear about its intent to dethrone Donald Trump. Trump, who was acquitted of impeachment charges this afternoon by the Senate, also commented on the poor reflection cast of the Democratic party. Major changes will need to be made to prevent this from happening again.

To Offer an Editorial:

My opinion is that it is perfectly obvious why this happened. The Democratic party hired people who were responsible for a failed campaign effort. These same people have also failed numerous times technologically and financially, and the party hired them to run the number system for the Iowa caucus. How blind do you have to be to not notice such glaring red flags? Democratic officials should absolutely be worried now with New Hampshire coming up. The party looks foolish in this light and all this does is give unscrupulous outlets like Fox News more ammunition to support Trump’s re-election efforts.

Top Democratic candidates like Bernie Sanders and Pete Buttigieg have every right to be angry about this screw-up. This episode has the potential to undermine their campaigns and ultimately allow Trump to win in November.

Additionally, the events in Iowa have sparked the debate over whether foreign governments are still attempting to interfere with the U.S. democratic process. While it is reasonable to assume that they are, it is equally reasonable to assume that this was a case of involuntary self-sabotage.

The Democratic party must make swift changes and levy punishments to prevent further mistakes such as these. If they do not, it will cost them another election and perhaps irreparably damage their political reputation.


This is a student-run blog for a senior-level course in Journalism. The opinions expressed in this writing do not necessarily reflect those held by the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, its faculty, or its affiliates.


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