Does the Democratic Party lack transparency?

Stephen Irving on the revelations surrounding the Democrats' disastrous Iowa caucus

Stephen Irving
10th February 2020
Image: Gage Skidmore on Flickr
3 February marked the launch of the Democratic primary season with the Iowa caucuses, and the contest has made headlines for all the wrong reasons. The results were scheduled to begin coming in on 3 February, but a malfunction in the vote counting app meant they were still being filtered days after the caucus took place.

The app, named IowaReporterApp and designed by the company Shadow Inc., was revealed to have previously found clients in Democratic presidential candidates Pete Buttigieg and Joe Biden. This revelation - coupled with the discrepancies in how the delegates were allocated in the complex caucus system - has cast aspersions on the transparency of the DNC.

How closely can an electoral candidate be tied to those organising the election without a conflict of interest arising?

The Biden and Buttigieg campaigns are said to have paid $1 225 and $42 500 respectively to Shadow Inc. for political technology services. It raises an important question: how closely can an electoral candidate be tied to those organising the election? When does a conflict of interest arise? What is more galling in this whole debacle is that the lack of transparency became even more apparent when the organisation behind Shadow Inc. - Acronym - was investigated.

Acronym CEO Tara McGowan
Image: Tara McGowan on Twitter

The company’s CEO and founder, Tara McGowan, worked as the digital advertising director for Priorities USA, a Super PAC affiliated with Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign. Such careless, corrupt cronyism among members of the DNC feeds directly into Trump’s “drain the swamp” narrative, which is especially worrying when his approval ratings are already over 40%.

The cronyism and lack of transparency have impugned the integrity of the entire primary process

The rancid cherry on the cake in this gross disregard for transparency is McGowan’s husband. It has been revealed in light of this farce that McGowan’s husband is a senior adviser to Buttigieg. How this does not impugn the very integrity of the entire primary process is difficult to comprehend. It is beyond the comprehension of anyone with a modicum of respect for a transparent, accountable democracy.

In the age of Trump’s “drain the swamp”, the DNC cannot allow this disrespect to voters to continue if it hopes not to be expelled from the White House for another term.

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