Monday, September 18, 2017


Primaries are very important. They also make people a little crazy.

People who prefer a candidate fall into like-minded communities where everyone says the best about their candidate and the worst about the other. These communities give them an exaggerated sense of the differences between the candidates, at least relative to the spectrum of national opinion and the spectrum of outcomes they'd create relative to the opponent.

(Personally, I wouldn't say that Hillary-Bernie in 2016 was especially fiery by historical standards. Seriously, contested presidential primaries are always that way. I'd rate 2004 with Howard Dean a bit higher. The Iraq War was going into its worst period. The Dean people were rightly furious at the other Democrats who had let that happen.)

This dynamic has continued post-primary. Except since there isn't a primary anymore and we aren't focused on the policy outcomes, it's more purely about lauding your hero and hating the enemy.

Social media sharing after Hillary's book came out has been an example. People who were in one social media environment or the other during the primary should probably reflect a little on how they might be seeing the best or the worst stuff related to a 512-page book. Content is more likely to go viral if it's more intense, so you might be seeing some especially slanted material.