Inside Acronym’s Disastrous Foray into the Iowa Caucuses

Shadow, a branch of the glossy digital strategy startup, was a mess from the start

A faulty smartphone app, developed by the Acronym subsidiary “Shadow,” failed to correctly tabulate Iowa caucus votes. Though the Iowa Democratic Party says the vote counts are unaffected, the confusion has given ailing campaigns room to maneuver that they otherwise wouldn’t have had. Pete Buttigieg took the opportunity to declare victory, apparently based on nothing more than a gut feeling. Joe Biden, who has been slipping in polls for the past couple weeks, has asked for the actual votes to be invalidated.

According to an Acronym staffer, who spoke under condition of anonymity because of a non-disclosure agreement, Acronym is “far and away the most disorganized place I’ve ever been a part of.” Though Acronym’s initial statement to the press on Monday night kept Shadow at arm’s length, referring to it in the third-person and noting that it “also has other private investors,” this is a diversion.

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