Democrats were frustrated on Tuesday night when the results of the long-awaited Iowa caucuses were stalled due to what the Iowa Democratic Party said was a coding error.
The results remain delayed until the state Democratic party can account for a number of inconsistencies reported through a new app it was using to count the results.
Though the issues were purely technical, allies of President Donald Trump are already drumming up conspiracy theories involving their oft-repeated claims that Democrats participate in widespread voter fraud.
The President's sons, campaign manager Brad Parscale, and campaign spokesperson Kayleigh McEnany baselessly accused Democrats of rigging the Iowa caucuses.
Mark my words, they are rigging this thing... what a mess. This is why people don’t want the #Dems running our county. #meltdown— Eric Trump (@Eric Trump) 1580791268.0
Rigging ain’t easy. https://t.co/HUiygk4M4e— Donald Trump Jr. (@Donald Trump Jr.) 1580832635.0
Quality control = rigged? 🤔 https://t.co/rJY3gdRccE— Brad Parscale - Text TRUMP to 88022 (@Brad Parscale - Text TRUMP to 88022) 1580786395.0
“Still No Results” 🤔 Dems rigging it at the Iowa Caucuses! https://t.co/xcMegkJ1mv— Kayleigh McEnany (@Kayleigh McEnany) 1580789165.0
It's unclear just how they believe the caucuses were rigged, and to whose advantage.
Chris Anderson, a pollster for Fox News, scoffed at the idea .
"One thing that we can say with a whole lot of confidence is this was not rigged. Because if something is "rigged," it benefits the people that rigged it. And this is the absolute worst outcome... that is slightly more ridiculous than the outcome of the caucuses last night, which is a travesty. It wasn't rigged. There's just no way around that."
But the Trump campaign's trademark eagerness to sow disinformation served its purpose, with numerous supporters echoing the sentiments that the caucuses were rigged.
Some, however, sided with Anderson and called them out.
Eric Trump is now claiming the caucus is "rigged," which I'm not going to retweet. All of this is standard informa… https://t.co/9ODHaj7Gei— Ben Collins (@Ben Collins) 1580793281.0
Color me unsurprised the Trump campaign is concern trolling this, but the issue we're seeing is with *reporting* th… https://t.co/mav9dptvBW— Andrew Egger (@Andrew Egger) 1580787975.0
Trump’s team is already using the confusion over the delay in our caucus results to spread conspiracy theories. DO… https://t.co/ahBXo6Jbii— Andrew Wortman (@Andrew Wortman) 1580789628.0
Trying so very hard to delegitimize voting- this is right-wing propaganda to create uncertainty. Don’t fall for it. https://t.co/lmeJ57MCun— Ruth Ben-Ghiat (@Ruth Ben-Ghiat) 1580787554.0
I want a President who doesn’t allow his surrogates to do the Kremlin’s job for them - sowing disinformation and… https://t.co/75lAMzr4VT— Sam Vinograd (@Sam Vinograd) 1580792572.0
Trump pushed the "rigged election" theme at every turn in 2016, would have kept doing it if he lost, and will do it… https://t.co/3JDgDBXnLP— Don Moynihan (@Don Moynihan) 1580786939.0
Expect a relentless, obvious effort by the Trump campaign to call Dem primaries into doubt. They believe it will he… https://t.co/CyTIzIYgdW— Justin Hendrix (@Justin Hendrix) 1580787095.0
The misinformation gleefully spread by Trump's campaign gave some the opportunity to test Twitter's new feature allowing users to report misleading information about an election.
For more information on fake news, check out Active Measures: The Secret History of Disinformation and Political Warfare, available here.