Friday, January 29, 2016

Ten Things To Remember About The 2016 Election

1. That amazing thing you think is the thing that has happened for the first time ever in the history of America? It's happened before.

2. That article from an ideological-based web site you shared on Facebook is wrong and/or grossly misleading. Even those that used to be legitimate sources have fallen into the sensationalist clickbait rabbit hole. Stop sharing them.

3. If an article uses the phrase “this article completely destroys [insert candidate name]!” or “what [candidate] said is pants-soilingly terrifying to the other campaigns!” or any other combination of italics, exclamation points, and hyperbolic words, that article should not only not be shared but erased completely from the internet forever and the writers never allowed to write anything ever again.

4. Polls are good guides but don’t tell the whole story. Also, national polls don’t mean much during the primaries. If your guy didn’t win, it’s not because the pollsters cheated or the primaries were rife with fraud. It’s because polls measure certain things, and you’re probably using that information for other things.

5. If your candidate doesn’t win (I’m not naming names, but Bernie Sanders) it’s not because the system is rigged or the two-party system is garbage or that the other party bribed the local vote inspector or that Big Media was hard selling the other candidates or whatever, it’s because said candidate’s positions are well outside the mainstream of the voting populous as a whole. No other reason. And that’s OK, because that is how democracy works.

6. Just because you are passionate about politics doesn't mean everyone has to be. Honestly, about 95% of everything up until election day is going to be irrelevant nonsense that will have no bearing on how a candidate will perform as President, and most of that will be filtered through people's irrationally hyperpolitical lenses.

7. Be very wary of bias confirmation. People tend to talk/organize/interact with people who are roughly of the same socioeconomic and cultural situation, and will tend to have the same opinions regarding politics. Just because everyone you know is passionate about issue X doesn’t mean that everyone in the nation is passionate about issue X; just your non-random self-selected group of people.

8. As of right now, the rules are pretty much set for how the election is going to be run. You may disagree with the electoral college, or with how the primaries are run, or how superdelegates work, or how voting works at your local polling place, but that's how the election is going to be, full stop. All of the politicians running at all levels now know, or should know, all of the rules, and we can’t change the rules after the fact. None of these rules are surprises to anyone.

9. If you are the sort of person who completely rejects a candidate due to one mildly awkward word, phrase, or incident (see: Dean, Howard; Muskie, Ed), you are part of the reason that politics can get so awful. This isn't an apologia for candidates to get away with saying stupid things, but just keep some perspective. Even politicians are human and can slip up once in a while and still make a good president.

10. There is a pretty good chance that you read all of these items, and you thought to yourself, “Ha! Well, the other side does these things but thank goodness my side never does!” You are very, very wrong and you should feel bad about your lack of self-awareness.

Have a good year! It is going to last forever.

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