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The Spill: Technical Difficulties and Election Confusion in Iowa

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Technical Difficulties and Election Confusion in Iowa

The Iowa caucus for the Democratic Party was expected to give presidential candidates some sense of how they’re doing Monday, Feb. 3, but technical difficulties led to election confusion. A smartphone app used to report results crashed, and the backup system that was supposed to kick in failed as well.

Former Vice President Joe Biden, Senators Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), and former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, Pete Buttigieg were left hanging, not knowing where they actually ranked among Iowa voters. Sen. Klobuchar went ahead and delivered her victory speech, even though there were no results in, and the rest followed after her. The media, however, focused primarily on the technical failure, calling it incompetence.

As odd as it may be that each candidate delivered their victory speech despite not knowing who actually won the day, the practical outcome is that nothing really changed. All the candidates want to put their best foot forward for the New Hampshire primary on Feb. 11. Since there aren’t any results, no candidate actually lost – yet. But we should have an answer soon. The actual results of the caucus are expected to be released at 4 p.m. Eastern.

YouTube’s New Election Policies: Sift, Sort, and Censor

YouTube announced new rules regarding election material Monday under the heading “How YouTube supports elections.” The new policy forbids “manipulated” or “doctored” videos related to the U.S. election, as well as “deep fakes” and “birther-type conspiracy theories” that question candidates’ eligibility for office. All this, allegedly, is part of an effort to prevent deceptive practices that could possibly mislead people about voting. Any content meeting one of the following criteria will be considered a violation:

  • Content that has been technically manipulated or doctored in a way that misleads users (beyond clips taken out of context) and may pose a serious risk of egregious harm; for example, a video that has been technically manipulated to make it appear that a government official is dead.
  • Content that aims to mislead people about voting or the census processes, like telling viewers an incorrect voting date.
  • Content that advances false claims related to the technical eligibility requirements for current political candidates and sitting elected government officials to serve in office, such as claims that a candidate is not eligible to hold office based on false information about citizenship status requirements to hold office in that country.

The Accused Speaks: State Of The Union 2020

President Donald Trump will deliver the State of the Union (SOTU) Address Tuesday, Feb. 4, at 9 p.m. Eastern. It may seem surreal to some that the president would deliver the SOTU to Congress less than 24 hours before the Senate votes on whether to remove him from office.

There is an obvious animosity between the current president and the opposition party – the Democrats, in this case, who hold a majority in the House of Representatives but not the Senate. The House of Representatives voted to impeach Donald Trump along party lines, and the Senate is expected to acquit him also along party lines, though that vote won’t occur until Wednesday, Feb. 5.

Last year, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi  (D-CA) invited President Trump to deliver the SOTU, but then revoked it. There was some speculation as to whether she would do the same again this year. Interestingly enough, while the Constitution requires the president “give the Congress Information of the State of the Union and recommend to their Consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient,” it doesn’t have to be in person.

George Washington, the first president, delivered the State of the Union in person, but presidents who came after delivered theirs in writing. It wasn’t until Woodrow Wilson that the tradition of addressing Congress personally was revived.

Donald Trump could deliver his address by letter, as presidents have in the past, or even by phone or email, but he won’t. The fact that President Trump intends to deliver the SOTU in person could indicate different things to you, depending on how you feel about him. It could be that he intends to mitigate the negative feelings between the current White House administration and the Democrats in Congress – or perhaps he simply wants to draw some attention away from the impeachment process. Either way, President Trump will address Congress and the nation at 9 p.m. Tuesday night – and the Senate will vote on whether to acquit him or remove him from office the next day.

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