Friday, February 8, 2008

To the media: don't hush democratic politics!

CNN is not the only news source saying that "Democrats dread drawn-out, costly campaign."

This is a sort of wacky argument. Elections are supposed to be opportunities for Americans to choose their elected officials. In a related point, a person's vote is supposed to mean something.

Now let's consider the GOP. With Romney gone and Huckabee not doing too well, McCain seems to be the Republican nominee. This is true despite the fact that many Republican states have yet to vote. So every voter who lives in a state that has not yet voted is effectively disenfranchised by the early end of the Republican race for the nomination.

On the other side of the aisle, Democrats in states like Maryland and Pennsylvania have a rare opportunity - for the first time in a long time - our votes for the Democratic candidate are meaningful. Don't lets let this power go to our heads.

The power of the vote exists whatever CNN says. But its message is nonetheless damaging. When major media outlets predict winners, those choices become more likely to win simply by virtue of having been choses as a winner. Perceptions of "who is going to win" will influence people's decisions about who to vote for.

So by saying the Democratic party is in trouble because the race might not be over long before the finish line, CNN is supporting the GOP over the Democratic party. This is just as bad as when its analysts suggest the GOP is split and weak because its members disagree with each other.

The democratic process NEEDS conflict. It needs individuals and parties to disagree with one another, and it relies on different interests getting together to hash out compromises and build new common ground.

Message to CNN: Stop stuffing the ballot boxes of public discourse, and let democracy, in all its squalid glory, function as intended.

And to the Democratic Party: Fight. For all you're worth, fight for what you believe in, as long you keep your ethics and your moral standards about you.

Here's to a long race and an exciting convention!

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