What went wrong in Iowa: Affirmative Action

The Democratic Caucus in Iowa were an embarrassment. As The Guardian reports:

So what went wrong? It’s still not quite clear, though there were reports that a special app used to transmit vote totals had malfunctioned. Questions were immediately raised about who built the app and how it had been deployed. Ironically, it was introduced in order to “get results out to the public quicker” and had been “hastily put together” over the last two months. There had been security concerns from the start, and when NPR questioned the state party chairman, he “declined to provide more details about which company or companies designed the app, or about what specific measures have been put in place to guarantee the system’s security”. Ironically, it was apparently developed by a firm literally called “Shadow”, partly funded by the Pete Buttigieg campaign…

The Shadow is not primarily a technology firm, nor is IT its main strength. Rather, it is composed of:

…campaign and technology veterans who have built and implemented technology at Hillary for America, Obama for America, Google, Kiva, Apple, the AFL-CIO, and the DNC.

Our passion is to create a permanent advantage for progressive campaigns and causes through technology.

In other words, they’re first and foremost “campaign veterans.” Being “technology veterans” comes second. The requirements for getting being a front-end engineer at Shadow?


  • Strong communication and collaboration skills
  • Passion for the progressive movement and a mission-oriented attitude
  • Strong javascript, html and css skills
  • Experience integrating REST APIs
  • Time management skills

Nice To Have

  • Experience working on political campaigns or with progressive organizations
  • Mobile development experience

I don’t know what their Affirmative Action policies are; as a “progressive” organization, it’s safe to assume that they have “Diversity goals.”

But that’s not my main point. My main point is that any time you introduce goals other than “Quality,” the result will inevitably be reduced quality. You cannot focus exclusively on IT skill sets if you’re also focusing on other things – such as “strong communication skills,” or “passion for the progressive movement.” The moment you introduce such requirements, you will necessarily sacrifice quality.

This is a principle that is largely lost on the “progressive” community. It’s a major reason Affirmative Action policies are tolerated, even in essential services such as medicine or law enforcement. “Progressives” live under the illusion that they can have their cake and eat it too.

I seriously doubt that “progressives” will learn this from their debacle in Iowa.

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One Response to What went wrong in Iowa: Affirmative Action

  1. Anonymous Fake says:

    Affirmative action is at its deepest level a mockery of sortition and monarchy, the idea that a king is a random guy who happened to be born king, representative of his people. Setting up a merely racially representative demographic in political positions, yet still consisting of those hungry for power, is a kind of superficial spoof of actual representation. It’s a gilded defiance of authority, whether democratic or traditional.

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