There's no point in dwelling on the full scope of the failure -- they used a faulty app to count votes that they were told in advance was faulty -- and then had to manually recheck the votes. It took longer to recheck than it would have taken if they had used technology that was readily available in the 16th century.
And rather than just wait until they had a final tally, they released the tabulations piecemeal, making it possible for different candidates to claim victory based on partial results. Worse, they even got the recheck numbers wrong at one point and had to issue corrections.
It was like a surgeon who accidentally leaves a sponge in a patient's abdomen and then, in an effort to remedy the situation, takes too long going back in only to remove a kidney by mistake.
Why did it happen? One answer is that the
But there's a larger context. One of the reasons our politics have become so dysfunctional is that the political parties have, over the last 40 years, systematically dismantled themselves, or to be more fair, cooperated with the politicians, activists and journalists who sought to dismantle them.
Subscribing to a misplaced fetishization of democracy in all things, they completely outsourced the responsibility of choosing their candidates to the parties' most passionate voters -- something virtually no other advanced democracy has done. All in the name of reform, they acquiesced to rules and laws that took power away from the parties and put it in the hands of outside groups, donors, the media and, again, primary voters.
They embraced the cultural mantra "Who are we to judge?" and turned the parties into a "vehicle that anyone can drive" in the words of
The new rules that
Parties always cared about winning the next election; that's one reason they exist. But it's not the only reason they exist. They are also institutions that stand for certain ideas and interests that are more enduring than the just the next election. Or at least they used to be.
That meant they understood the need to police their own, to enforce compliance with certain policies and certain norms that contributed to the long-term health of the institution. Now, partisanship has been outsourced to the angriest voices and the media outlets who make money from them, leaving the parties as brands that can't tell their customers anything they don't want to hear.
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