A Plea to Reporters: Stop Talking About the 2016 Presidential Election

An Apt Metaphor for Mittens - Via ABC News

I can stomach a days worth of tweets about etch-a-sketches. I can even handle an hour of tweets about etch-a-sketch and Mitt Romney’s dog, Seamus.

I am less patient when it comes to all things Tim Tebow. From his uber-obvious mediocrity as a QB to the on-again, off-again, on-again trade to the Jets.

But the one thing that gets my goat – every damn time it comes up is articles about the 2016 presidential election. No less, 2016 frontrunners! Seriously? We’re already talking about this? Do you hear anybody talking about who is going to represent the US in the 2016 Summer Olypmics? No, because there is a little thing called the 2012 summer olympics. People aren’t even talking the midterms – its my pet name for the Winter Olympics.

You know, it would be understandable if so much more had already happened. Like the Republican candidate had locked up the nomination. Or selected a Vice-Presidential running mate. Or how about started to run a national campaign after the convention in St. Petersburg.

With a third of the US Senate seats up for election, all 435 Congressional seats, a bushel of governorships, and a boatload of State Representatives and Senators on the line this November, it isn’t as if there is a lack of important stories for journalists to dig into.

Yesterday’s Roll Call article, “2016 Frontrunners Diverge on Redistricting,” is the second prominent article I’ve seen recently that devotes a significant amount of ink to the Democratic Governors of New York and Maryland, Andrew Cuomo and Martin O’Malley. Even crazier, it tries to extrapolate their place in the Democratic Party based on each state’s redistricting fight! A Sunday Times article from February goes even further and hyping up long-time electeds like Vice-President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Not to be outdone, Politico went all in today, in what I can only imagine is their effort to win every morning between now and January 20, 2017 with the top of the page article, “Joe Biden in 2016? Not So Crazy.” The impetus for this piece is that Biden, who will be 73 in 2016, has started to put together a top-flight staff with no indication of the rationale behind these moves. And then throw in a West Wing-reference to fights between POTUS and VPOTUS and you got yourself a top story of the morning. Unless, these folks are being hired to run the Joseph Biden Institute on International Relations, High-Speed Rail, Baseball and All Things Awesome, lets focus on some substantive news.

The prize for earliest article has got to go to the New York Observer’s David Freedlander who wrote up the clash between Cuomo and O’Malley last November! Before the first Republican primary voter had cast a vote!

Articles about 2016 have a lot in common with this logo - Via GamesBid.com

Lets put a stop to this craziness now! Maybe reporters are addicted to the horse race of politics, but even if they are, why are they jockeying for a race that is still years away from even reaching the starting gate. There is a horse race happening right now! Even if the GOP is beginning to coalesce around Romney, it’s not, for lack of a better phrase, signed, sealed, and delivered. We don’t know what type of tomfoolery could happen at the Republican convention in St. Petersburg. We don’t know what the general election will bring.

There is no question that 2016 will matter. But we kind of have an election going on right now and wouldn’t it be nice if we just focused on that? Who would want to miss a campaign trail reference to another “quintessentially American” toy by getting in a tizzy a governor who might run in 2016 or might bomb in the run-up to the run-up? Hey, Bobby Jindal!

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One thought on “A Plea to Reporters: Stop Talking About the 2016 Presidential Election”

  1. Thank you for this Joe. Political reporters love these kinds of stories because it allows them to do what they’re best at: baselessly speculate. Unlike the current Presidential horserace which is bound by such restrictions like polling, election results, and current events that require thoughtful research and contextualization in order to provide analysis that is both original and factual, they’re not under any burden to prove their points for the 2016 race as it’s so far out and thus can play with whatever narrative that they want. Meanwhile, politicians and operatives love to hype these stories as it boosts their profile and keeps them in the national spotlight. (O’Malley, for example, goes from being some random governor of a smallish mid-Atlantic state to a “possible Presidential candidate;” Biden or Clinton go from being lameduck members of a Cabinet to “potential rivals to the President.”) It appeals to the laziest impulses of a myopic Beltway press that would rather abscond themselves of the hard work necessary of a journalist – not to mention the type of current reporting that would possibly alienate them from the power players they rely on for scoops – and thinks that the rest of the nation cares as much about these mindless parlor games as the folks mixing cocktails in Georgetown.

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