This Week in Politics

By: Kenyan Carter | Reporter

Last week has been an eventful one in U.S. politics. From a controversial election to a viral State of The Union moment, to a vote to determine whether or not our president is removed from office.

Let’s take a look at some of the moments that impacted the country this week in politics.

The Iowa Caucus Debacle

Citizens in the state of Iowa participated in a caucus election on Monday, Feb 3. The purpose of this election was for Iowans to win delegates for their preferred candidate in the highly contested Democratic Primary. Iowa, despite being a relatively small state with low levels of diversity, is important for voting first and setting the tone for upcoming primary elections in other states.   

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Results were expected Monday night but there was an unexpected delay. According to the Washington Post, “Hours after caucus-goers had returned home, the contest remained in a state of suspended confusion — with precincts unable to communicate results.”

The delay stemmed around the malfunction of a new app precinct captains were using to upload caucus results. Bret Niles, the Democratic Chairman in Des Moines Iowa, explained the difficulty of submitting results.

“People are getting hung up on different parts of the app,” Niles said. “They tried that and either they can’t get through or it takes a while. Or they’re calling to report the results and it’s just a large number of people trying to get through.”

Results expected on Monday were still being processed as late as Friday. To make matters worse, Caucus goers noticed inconsistencies in the results reported, specifically in the formula used to assign delegates. Shayla McCormally, the Iowa Democratic Party lawyer, explained that even if wrong, results cannot be changed.

“The incorrect math on the Caucus Math Worksheets must not be changed to ensure the integrity of the process,” McCormally wrote in an email. According to the New York Times, the lawyer said correcting the math would introduce “personal opinion” into the official record of results.

The final results of the caucus saw candidate Pete Buttigieg winning by a razor-thin margin of .1% and the most delegates at 13 with Sen. Bernie Sanders in second winning 12 despite winning the popular vote.

Donald Trump Acquitted

The impeachment investigation into President Donald Trump’s obstruction of Congress and abuse of power reached its conclusion last Wednesday with the Senate majority voting to acquit on all charges. This acquittal does not un-impeach the president, but it does prevent him from being removed from office because of the accused crimes.

This came as no surprise with Trump’s impeachment being a highly partisan process since he was impeached in Congress in December. In the Senate, Mitt Romney was the only Republican to vote for conviction. No Democrat voted to acquit.

Romney explained his decision to break ranks from the GOP saying he believes the president is guilty.

 “The grave question the Constitution tasks senators to answer is whether the president committed an act so extreme and egregious that it rises to the level of high crime and a misdemeanor,” Romney said during a Senate floor speech. “Yes, he did… The president is guilty of an appalling abuse of public trust.”

Mitch McConnell, the Republican Senate Majority Leader in the Senate, believes Democrats failed at impeachment and intends on capitalizing on that in future elections.  

“The president has his highest approval rating since he’s been in office,” McConnell told reporters during a press conference. “Every one of our people in tough races is in better shape today than they were before the impeachment trial started.”

State of the Union Drama

President Donald Trump delivered the 2020 State of the Union Address speech in the chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday. Most of the discourse, however, didn’t revolve around Trump’s posturing on the economy but instead focused on the actions of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

At the end of Trump’s address, Pelosi is seen tearing up her copy of Trump’s speech in protest. Pelosi explained her actions in a press conference the following Thursday, saying the speech represented the president’s lies.

“It was, in my view, a manifesto of mistruths, falsehoods, blatantly really dangerous to the well-being of the American people if they believed what he said,” Pelosi said. “So again, we do not want the chamber of the House of Representatives to be used as a backdrop for one of his reality shows with unreality in his presentation.”

President Trump responded to reporters saying that what Pelosi did should be considered criminal.

“Well, I thought it was a terrible thing when she ripped up the speech,” Trump said. “First of all, it’s an official document. You’re not allowed, it’s illegal what she did. She broke the law.”

Speaker Pelosi’s act of defiance became an instant meme online.