And stop telling us to “calm down!”
There isn’t time or margin enough for further error.
Is it really that big a deal that Iowa results were delayed for a few days? (Looks like Mayor Pete and Bernie came out on top). Maybe, maybe not.
Is it a big deal that Democrats kick off one of their most ambitious and crucial primary seasons ever by looking like they completely don’t know what the hell they’re doing? Do we have to even answer that?
Is it completely humiliating for DNC Chair Tom Perez, to throw up his hands days after the caucus and call on Democrats in Iowa to immediately begin a recanvass? Only to have those same Iowa Democrats indicate they are most likely going to completely ignore him?
There are not going to be multiple Presidential elections in November. All you get is one chance. So everything’s got to be done right the first time. The time to fix things and make sure they worked was from 2016 until about a week ago. Starting now is too late.
We want to emphasize before we go any further, our column today comes from a place of deep love for, and faith in the American electorate come this fall. (Just not wiseacres who think they know better.)
Part of the reason maybe, we’re reacting to the Iowa meltdown so viscerally, is the approach we’ve seen on the part of the people who seem to be responsible for it, evinces folks we encountered in the Hillary Clinton campaign in 2016: smug and self-righteous and completely impervious to the idea that anybody but them might have valid alternate ideas about anything or be even a scintilla wrong about anything. They just smiled enigmatically and looked at us with an air of amusement as we crazily drove back and forth to the middle of Pennsylvania because we thought there was a good chance Trump was going to win. Something we wrote about in blogs that preceded the launch of this newsletter. We are happy to say the attitude at Clinton HQ was not carried to the local level, and proud to this day that although Hillary did not win Pennsylvania, she won the area in which we and many unsung heroes of her campaign canvassed. While all the while her most direct minions sat on their smug little tuchases in New York waiting for the inevitability of her win, which would rocket them to stardom.
Here’s what we’d say to Shadow and ACRONYM (both those names are too clever by half anyway, then again, so was Cambridge Analytica). And maybe even Groundbase and maybe even PACRONYM and certainly even some of the top people at the DNC who apparently advised Democrats to invest in and buy some of these developers’ products in the first place. Also, to some or all of the people those groups and organizations and companies represent, and whomever else was out there and helped create this abject and historic mess that isn’t even close to being figured out. Also, finally to the people who could’ve stopped this disaster from happening but didn’t:
We do not need endless explanations and excuses and apologies and promises to do better. We just need you to stop. And let someone else do what you intended to do who is capable of actually doing it. And those people and organizations and companies are out there. They may not be as well-connected as you, and therefore not as well funded. (And unfortunately many of the people throwing money at you do not understand how what you’re trying to do works, which is why they didn’t know it wouldn’t. And might not now know where else they can turn.) But they already know how to do what you’ve already shown you don’t. So shut down and give whatever money you’ve got left over to them. No more making promises about the future you have no way of knowing you’ll be able to keep. You can make amends by showing up and voting on Election Day and encouraging anyone else you can to do the same. And that’s it! Don’t get us wrong: we have no doubt your heart is in the right place, just that it doesn’t matter.
The recent history of technological innovation in this country is littered with unnecessary failures and lessons learned, mainly because many of those failures and lessons learned had already been learned and solved by previous generations of innovators. But the newer folks just didn’t know or didn’t care. So they repeated mistakes they didn’t need to make.
That’s true on the investor side too. Because a lot of otherwise very smart people have no idea what they’re financing when it comes to tech or as Trump would call it “the cyber”. They just want to be involved and don’t want to be left out.
Sometimes that mix, after a few resets, does manage to produce powerful companies and products. Sometimes it crashes and burns. Right now Iowa looks unequivocally like the latter, and even if it isn’t, there’s a high probability that any time spent trying to determine whether the entities involved can recover, and recover stronger will be wasted time. Too high a probability in our view.
We are not just saying this to be critical. We are saying this because we know people out there who—if they’re interested—can do better and already know how. And time would be better spent seeking those people out than attempting to resurrect something that’s already in ruins.
We are big believers that mistakes do make you stronger. If you’ve got time. We’re out of time. Get out of the way.