Who could have possibly foreseen that an arcane electoral process involving public balloting and groups of over-caffeinated activists trying to pressure others into supporting their candidates — with the votes being tabulated on an app developed by a company called (oh, you can’t make this up) Shadow — would go so horribly awry?
The Iowa caucus had already gone from a charming outlier in our electoral process to a questionable way to frame the beginning of the primary cycle. This was in no small part due to the very public objections of Julián Castro, the failed Democrat candidate who argued the Iowa caucuses were too strange in a state that was too white and too small to set the agenda in any real way.
On most issues of importance, one can safely take Castro’s protestations, do exactly whatever the opposite of what he says and have a clean conscience. At 11 p.m. on Monday, as former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg stood in front of his eight African-American boosters — conspicuously arranged by someone who proved exactly why Mayor Pete has no black support while trying to prove he had ample black support — and declared victory before a single vote had been officially counted due to irregularities, you would at least have been inclined to agree it was “weird.”
However, as the great magnifying glass of democracy began to hover over Iowa and Monday’s debacle, one curious fact emerged that contradicted part of Castro’s argument: For a state that was supposed to be Ward-Cleaver mayonnaise white-bread America, there certainly were quite a lot of illegal immigrants and non-citizens being used by Democrats to help mobilize caucus-goers, even as these individuals couldn’t vote.
If you’re not familiar with how the Iowa caucus system works and cable news hasn’t managed to explicate the whole process to you, I’m not going to attempt to, given that it makes a papal conclave look like your local school board election. Suffice it to say that while every election depends on turnout, that’s especially true when it comes to Iowa. Organizers and volunteers are critical in ways they ordinarily wouldn’t be in other states.
That’s where our controversy comes in. A HuffPost puff piece from Jan. 30 on non-citizens — including several illegal immigrants — who helped organize voters is getting a bit more attention from those who might view it with a more critical eye than its original readership.
It’s worth noting there’s no evidence the organizing efforts described in the article had any substantive effect on the outcome of Monday’s caucus. (Whatever that outcome ends up being once that app starts working or whatever.)
Luis Gomez, 31, according to HuffPost’s Amanda Terkel, is a non-citizen resident who, among other activities, organized a soccer tournament that doubled as a teach-in for Bernie Sanders campaign reps to educate participants about how to caucus.
The self-described Sanders die-hard “has campaign merch displayed at his auto body repair shop” and uses it to start conversations with people about Bernie.
“I’m always wearing my pin,” Gomez told Terkel.
“So, people ask me ― usually we’re fixing their car brakes and they’re tired and they have to wait for a little bit, so I get a chance to say, ‘Hey, you know ― what do you do? How’s your health care?’ You know, just everyday things. People are interested, and then that starts a conversation and we go from there.”
Yes, you know, just everyday things you talk about when someone’s fixing your brakes. He’s well within his rights, of course. That’s what you come to this country for — the freedom of expression for which we’re so rightly renowned.
Sanders’ campaign, however, might want to be a bit more circumspect when it comes to who’s doing its organizing. Having non-citizens stumping for your candidate probably sounds great to HuffPo’s readership. There are certain elements outside of that readership that might raise an eyebrow when reading this — and not because they’re angry white nationalists dreaming of going back to the days when the only Hispanic they knew of was Ricky Ricardo.
The same eyebrows may be induced to rise when they read of Monica Reyes, 29.
“I know a lot of these farms ― whether it’s hogs or milking cows or working with turkeys or soy, whatever it is ― they are being run and worked by immigrants. So we’re in every little tiny small town in all 90 counties. You’re going to see some Latino faces,” Reyes is quoted as saying. (It’s unclear whether Reyes misspoke or the quote includes a typo, but just for the record, Iowa has 99 counties.)
And they ought to participate if they’re able. That’s what democracy is all about. Here’s what some people might have a problem with: Reyes is an illegal immigrant who’s also an organizer for the Democrats.
“Reyes came to the United States when she was 3 years old and was a recipient of former President Barack Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. She and her sister founded the group Dream Iowa,” HuffPo reported.
“I feel like a lot of the advocacy and the civic engagement here ― and across the state ― but especially here in the area of Des Moines, is being led by people that actually are not able to vote,” Reyes told HuffPo. (Emphasis ours.)
She isn’t the only DACA recipient doing significant political organizing.
“Non-citizens are working on behalf of the race’s more moderate candidates, too. Ariana Wyndham, 29, lives in Ohio, but she’ll be in Iowa this week, her second trip to the state this cycle. She’s one of the leaders of a grassroots group called Barnstormers for Pete, composed of activists who travel to the early primary states to help elect former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg,” the article read.
“Wyndham is also a DACA recipient and came to the U.S. when she was 9.”
Organizing for the Iowa caucus is one thing, but keep in mind the Hawkeye State is a minor-league battleground state the Democrats might try to capture. It’s an unlikely target, but one assumes this isn’t the only state where “a lot of the advocacy and the civic engagement” — which is to say the get-out-the-vote effort — is being led by people who are here illegally.
I can guarantee a fair amount of these organizers aren’t DACA recipients or individuals who are here legally, either. When it comes to the Iowa caucus, fine, go to town. I doubt any Democrat would express concern — which is something that should concern everybody, but welcome to liberalism in 2020. In the general election, however, this is an entirely different matter.
When people who aren’t in this country legally are organizing for candidates who have made it clear they’re not going to enforce the law, Americans have every right to take exception.
Why? Well, as Breitbart has previously reported, “[Bernie] Sanders has a handful of DACA illegal aliens working on his presidential campaign, and they helped write the democratic socialist’s immigration platform — which includes taxpayer-funded free health care for illegal aliens, decriminalization of the southern border, and amnesty for the majority of the 11 to 22 million illegal aliens living in the U.S.”
Americans ought to decide what America’s public policy ought to be. This is no slight on the men and women who aren’t citizens and who are here either legally or illegally. It’s merely stating the obvious: A country’s citizens ought to be the ones deciding a country’s political fate. That’s not xenophobia, it’s merely common sense.
No, this sort of activism wasn’t anywhere near the most insane, irrational, fatuous or broken part of Monday’s Iowa caucus.
However, it joins the long list of things we should be concerned about. What should concern us most is that no one in the media or on the left is at all concerned.