2020 is going to be a circus, unless voters demand better – Washington Examiner

The 2020 presidential election is still more than 500 days away, but already things are chaotic. What the country needs is a boring race centered around serious policy discussions. Instead, what it will get is another circus.

Currently, there are 24 major Democratic candidates vying for their party’s nomination and the chance to compete against a polarizing incumbent. The list is an outwardly diverse group of individuals that includes racial minorities, women, and even a gay man. Despite the praise for a vast and varied field, former Vice President Joe Biden tops the polls as the favorite. An older white man with decades of experience is still preferred over other, more groundbreaking options by a party that prides itself on inclusivity.

Voters on both sides are still recovering from a hostile 2016 presidential election. But the span between then and now proceeded rapidly, and an exhausted electorate will have to go through a Trump era campaign once more. That isn’t to say that the problem with a presidential campaign in these toxic times, when Trump is on the national stage, is only made divisive because of him. The landscape before us is tense due to constant contributions from both parties. While the GOP follows Trump and too often disregards his words and actions, the #Resistance routinely pounces on the petty instead of focusing on substance.

During a time when politics is sometimes nothing more than entertainment, Republican and Democratic voters alike should insist on a return to normalcy. This does not mean we must agree with the Left’s definition of morality or support their initiatives. Instead, it’s a call to tone down insulting rhetoric and inject a dose of cordiality into the fray.

While I wholeheartedly disagree with Vice President Joe Biden on how the country should be run, I believe his campaign’s recent effort to raise the bar of decorum should be applauded by all and used as a pattern for future exchanges.

I understand that Republicans are anxious to keep the White House for four more years. However, this does not mean the sitting president should side with a brutal despot just to score points against his chief rival. It is unbecoming of any American. When it comes from the commander in chief, it is disappointingly cringeworthy behavior that demeans the office and the country it represents.

To be sure, campaigns and candidates have always engaged in some form of mudslinging. There are voters of every persuasion who enjoy the spectacle. But this does not mean each new season should be an exercise in stooping as low as possible in an effort to injure our adversaries. This goes for Republicans, Democrats, and the politically unaffiliated. Shouldn’t we, as voters, demand better? We should want those publicly interviewing for the job of leader to dial back the disparaging remarks.

The viral temptation of social media does not help create a positive political environment, whether you’re a candidate on stage or someone in the crowd. Even though instant attention is desired by anyone running for office, it should not be at the expense of another. There is a way to call out a politician’s proposals without lowering oneself to attacking their mental capacity or appearance. This is something that President Trump desperately needs to work on. This is something his opponents should bear in mind, too.

If 2020 presidential candidates (and the president himself) truly want to improve a divided country, they can start by being an example on the campaign trail and in their dialogue. They should reject the desire to lean on insults as their brand. Otherwise, the coming year will be a repeat of the past and even more circus-like than before.

Kimberly Ross (@SouthernKeeks) is a contributor to the Washington Examiner’s Beltway Confidential blog and a columnist at Arc Digital.

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