The idea that thousands of people should be dragged from their homes the day after the Super Bowl and herded into gymnasiums in which they vote two times (in many cases for candidates they do not actually support) and that the whole absurd process should cost hundreds of millions of dollars in spending on television, travel, event planning and so on, and that the ultimately meaningless result — less than 1 percent of the total delegates that will be awarded — should be heralded as one of the most important events in American public life beggars belief. It is hard to imagine that the Iowa caucuses actually exist in 2020. It might have been dreamed up by Lewis Carroll’s Queen of Hearts or the more cynical kind of Soviet planning official…

It is impossible for a process to fail this spectacularly without giving rise to conspiracy theories. Already it is being darkly hinted that Biden, whose share of the vote might have been as low as fourth, has the most to gain from a significant delay in the results of the first 2020 nominating contest. By the time it becomes clear, supports of other candidates whisper, who actually won the momentum that might have otherwise come out of Iowa will be negated. One wonders whether Bernie Sanders regrets having insisted upon the various post-2016 rules changes that gave us the new system.