As the 2020 primary season gets underway (no, “2020” isn’t a typo), it’s clear the Twitter hellsite, along with political commentary on the leftward side of things, will become unbearable. Unlike some, I’ve never been big on unity, as this liberal Democrat sensu the 1990s has long recognized that calls for comity by the Democratic party establishment are a one way street–and the street doesn’t head in my direction. So I don’t want or expect people to be civil towards each other. This stuff matters, and it can affect people’s lives–it is not Friday night football. We need to be far more transactional about all of this.
What I would encourage–which like my voting recommendations, probably only means I might follow this advice–is that we argue with specifics. That is, generic statements about liberals, BernieBros, Betoheads, and so on serve very little purpose other than to inflame and troll*. If someone said something stupid, link to it (or at least screenshot it if you’re avoiding the trolls) and argue the specifics. Avoiding terms like liberal, which are vague and, importantly, mean different things to different people helps too. If you’re going to make statements about electability**, back it up with polling data.
That brings me to the second plea–show your work. Statements about ‘group X will never support group Y’ and so on are rarely supported by data, but instead, reflect what the (shit)poster believes should be. If you’re going to make statements about policy, back it up.
Third, be honest about your assumptions and biases. One annoying thing during 2016 was the incessant proxy arguments. If you can’t support a candidate because of their views on a given issue (e.g., gun control, votes on war, the environment, reproductive health, economic policy), then just say that. Much of the idiotic back and forth could have been avoided if people had honestly said ‘I can’t vote for candidate X because of issue Y’, or ‘this issue is where I go all in.’ It would certainly have made things clearer.
All that said, 2019 and 2020 are going to suck when it comes to the Democratic primaries, but I’ll try to do my part to make them less sucky.
** Democrats arguing about electability is fucking stupid anyway, since too many Democrats are really bad at figuring this out; after all, how many got Trump winning the primary and the electoral college right? ‘Nuff said.