It used to be that no one who wasnâ€™t a politician focused on a presidential election until the year of the election. It used to be that many voters didnâ€™t pay much attention to presidential elections until the party conventions. Of course, it also used to be that once an election was over, people grumbled for a few weeks if their candidate lost but then moved on. Now, it appears a lot of people arenâ€™t done processing 2016, and at the same time peopleÂ on the same sideÂ are already unfriending each in squabbles over who the Democratic nominee should be in 2020. In the last election we didnâ€™t get nearly this crazy until the fall of 2015, not bleeping January.
I would like to propose some ground rules for political discussions to keep things sane. I donâ€™t expect anyone to follow them, but what the heck. In no particular order:
Rule:Â The most important thing to demand right now is a fair, open and transparent nomination process. A lot of people are not going to get their first choice for the nomination, but if the process is seen as fair I believe most will acccept the result.
If, however, it appears thereâ€™s a thumb on a scale somewhere, or that the elites are manipulating the process to get their favored candidate, or if some candidates donâ€™t get equal time in the debates or in media, the Democrats can forget about unity. See Chris Smith, â€œDemocrats Donâ€™t Like to Be Told Who to Vote For.â€
Rule:Â Bringing up â€”Â factuallyÂ â€” a politicianâ€™s voting record or positions on issues is not out of bounds and is not â€œattackingâ€ that politician. Weâ€™ve already seen a blowup in media because David Sirota brought up Beto Oâ€™Rourkeâ€™s record of accepting donations from the fossil fuel sector. This was greeted up a bunch of headlines screaming that Bernie Sanders was trying to â€œkneecapâ€ Oâ€™Rourke. One, Bernie Sanders had nothing to do with any of this; and two, since when is a politicanâ€™s actual record out of bounds? See Luke Darby, â€œNo Democrat Deserves a Free Pass Just Because Theyâ€™re Not Trump.â€
Rule:Â â€œBetter than Trumpâ€ is too low a bar. Who we nominate matters, becauseÂ even if the Democrat wins, a disappointing administration will just allow the Crazy Right to make a comeback. This puts together the two rules above. Stifling legitimate criticism of aÂ potentialÂ â€” bleeping Oâ€™Rourke hasnâ€™t even declared yet â€” candidate because heÂ mightÂ be the nominee is a recipe for ultimate failure. As Luke Darby wrote (link above),