Jay Ambrose: Iowa caucus chaos — a lesson in progressive leadership
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Jay Ambrose: Iowa caucus chaos — a lesson in progressive leadership

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Jay Ambrose

This year’s Iowa caucus could go down in history as illustrative of what happens when progressive Democrats are in charge.

We had unintended consequences, confusion, undeserved shame for the state, TV cameras perplexed by the curtains not rising, presidential candidates wondering what they were supposed to do next and why they had campaigned so hard and spent so much money.

Finally, after waiting around for days to see who won, the results were announced with ignored pleas by top Democratic officials that there had to be a recount.

Although it could be an alternate reality, it seems that presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg may be a fraction of a percentage point ahead of Bernie Sanders in the popular vote and that each one has at least 11 delegates.

It is interesting that Sanders emerged reasonably well out of the chaos because he is a champion of chaos, someone who wants to dismantle essentials of free enterprise, squeeze liberty to the point of being a flat tire, spend us into economic ruin and thereby win the hearts of the people.

His ambitions include scorching taxes, “Medicare for All” while Medicare is already in financial straits, a Green New Deal aiming to generate more change than the climate is capable of, and paying off mostly middle class student loan debt, meaning less government money will be available for the poor, a socialist sin.

Sanders and his followers are mostly wedded to equality of monetary outcome even though it can only be achieved through coercion. They do not know that no economic system has ever benefited humanity as much as capitalism. And the youthful Sanders supporters don’t seem to get it that this elderly man with adolescent dreams has less common sense than President Donald Trump.

But wait, you might say. Pete Buttigieg also did really, really well in Iowa, and is a veteran, a Harvard and Oxford University grad and a moderate.

Some of that’s true, and there’s no question that this 38-year-old former mayor of South Bend, Ind., is articulate and alert enough that his campaign workers figured out he had done well days before the caucus managers were announcing anything.

The day of the vote, he gave a victory speech about a new generation bringing about political unity under which inequities would disappear and America would thrive.

Understand, however, that he is not a moderate and flubbed the job in South Bend.

Is it moderate to want to reshape the Supreme Court so that constitutionalists will lose their majority position? Is it moderate to want to replace the Electoral College with a system that would lessen the standing of less populous states in a union that aimed to ameliorate that issue? Do those of us who do not live on the East or West Coasts want them to rule us? And Buttigieg struggled to get along with his police department and some in the black community who felt they were victimized by police.

It’s true that Buttigieg has modified his policy positions to the point of not being as extreme as Sanders or Sen. Elizabeth Warren, but he is still mostly racing down the same track, if at a slower pace. He does have some good ideas in my view, but I frankly doubt his leadership capacity, and a serious problem has been his inability to connect with black voters.

Buttigieg’s success at the polls might have something to do with his having a chance to campaign heartily in Iowa while a number of the other candidates, being U.S. senators, were stuck in Washington impeachment proceedings.

But fumbling Joe Biden also had the opportunity to scoot around the state to no benefit whatsoever. Some are saying he’s in trouble now and are looking at billionaire Michael Bloomberg, former successful mayor of New York City, to be the real moderate, and, yes, he is less scary than Sanders, as are most politicians in the country.

Let’s hope the next primary elections are conducted more smoothly than this last one and that the more sensible candidates do climb to the top.

Jay Ambrose is an op-ed columnist for Tribune News Service. Readers may email him at speaktojay@aol.com.


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