Last night was a lot. Super Tuesday is always a crazy day for the candidates in primary races, and for the voters who support them, but the addition of social media (specifically Twitter) and the media commentary with stations calling winners as soon as polls close made it even more frenzied. And although there are clearly two candidates pulling ahead at this point, it could still be anyone’s game.
On Twitter last night, there was a rash of Bernie supporters (or bots – it is hard to tell the difference between them and bros at this point) attacking Warren supporters. The conversation went basically like this:
Warren supporter: I am so disappointed that Biden is winning.
Bernie supporter: Your candidate needs to drop out.
Warren supporter: There are still 2/3 of the delegates remaining after tonight so, no, my candidate can continue on in the race just like everyone else.
Bernie supporter: Your candidate needs to drop out. She is ruining the race. She is going to be the reason Bernie loses.
Warren supporter: Bernie is the reason Bernie will lose, if he loses. Why aren’t you telling Biden or Bloomberg supporters that their candidate should drop out.
Bernie supporter: …
Warren supporter: I figured. Misogyny. Blocked.
Bernie supporter: One vagina down – 169 million to go
So yes, the above is an over emphasized version of real twitter conversations, but you can see what is happening here, right? Even if these are bots that are interfering with twitter feeds, they are acting as trolls for Bernie. And they are energizing real Bernie supporters to continue the toxic rhetoric.
We saw a surge for Biden last night because many people are not on Twitter (lucky for them) and they are not seeing all the vitriol that gets spewed during online disagreement. But many of the people that are not on Twitter are certainly still on Facebook and that platform can be just as rough when it comes to political discourse.
The solution? Primary Day! Instead of dragging this process out over many months, why not have a few debates, early on, with the full candidate field present and then, in late winter, have ONE DAY where everyone goes to the polls and chooses their candidate based on the information each voter has gleaned from the campaigns, up to that point. This would close the door on Twitter discourse as it is now because the opportunity to smear each other between primary days would be removed.
Voters would have to be informed in the voting booth and truly vote their personal preference, rather than being swayed by earlier primary outcomes.
Yes – this might ruin the strategies of candidates like Biden, who got a huge boost from South Carolina and the suspension of the Buttigieg and Klobuchar campaigns on Monday night, but it would make it more fair across the board. This would also remove all the media commentary that happens between primary days and unite us behind the one candidate that prevails. Candidates are talking a big game about uniting behind the front runner, but pushing people out prior to even 50% of the delegates being assigned proves that they are not willing to stand behind their claims. Again – this would be alleviated by assigning all the delegates on one day. Primary day!
Also – sidenote – I truly believe that if everyone who likes Elizabeth Warren as a candidate, voted for her in the primary and the general we would have a President Warren. But, unfortunately, people still don’t think that a woman can win. The thing is if we all voted for her, she could, but if we keep believing a woman CANNOT win, she will never win because everyone is too scared to just vote for the MOST QUALIFIED CANDIDATE. You know? Seriously. Disappointing.
I would also like to say THANK YOU to Rachel Maddow for attempting to bring some levity to the discussion on MSNBC last night. When she saw that Biden and Sanders were the only two faces that kept coming up for the visuals during the calls for each State she pushed the producers to show the full field so as not to box out Warren, which is what generally would happen in that case. This also showed the full field, which is important for the country to see. We can’t keep showing two dudes over and over and over on the screen and expect people to ever envision a woman as a feasible candidate. As you know, representation matters.
Primary Day is a feasible plan and fairest for all candidates. It would prioritize party unity over trolling for one candidate. Twitter will always be twitter and the trolling will continue, but at least it wouldn’t effect the one day primary in the way that it has during these staggered events. Also – candidates like Bloomberg wouldn’t be able to jump it at the last minute in order to be on the ballot. Everyone would have the same deadline and have to make the case for themselves in real time, at the same time as every other candidate.
I think this would solve a lot of the speculation and infighting that is caused by the current system and help us all have less blood pressure spikes throughout the election season. What do you think? Let me know in the comments. I look forward to a lively discourse on this. We can’t solve all the issues now, but we can start coming up with plans to fix things and then follow through with the plans. Hmm – plans – what a NOVEL concept, right?