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Fri May 4, 2012, 11:04 AM

According to the DU Terms of Service, general election season has begun. Don't expect big changes. [View all]

It is clear that the 2012 presidential election is going to be President Obama vs. Mitt Romney. So, for the purposes of enforcement of the DU Terms of Service, general election season has begun. Here is the relevant section:

Vote for Democrats.
Winning elections is important therefore, advocating in favor of Republican nominees or in favor of third-party spoiler candidates that could split the vote and throw an election to our conservative opponents is never permitted on Democratic Underground. But that does not mean that DU members are required to always be completely supportive of Democrats. During the ups-and-downs of politics and policy-making, it is perfectly normal to have mixed feelings about the Democratic officials we worked hard to help elect. When we are not in the heat of election season, members are permitted to post strong criticism or disappointment with our Democratic elected officials, or to express ambivalence about voting for them. In Democratic primaries, members may support whomever they choose. But when general election season begins, DU members must support Democratic nominees (EXCEPT in rare cases where were a non-Democrat is most likely to defeat the conservative alternative, or where there is no possibility of splitting the liberal vote and inadvertently throwing the election to the conservative alternative). For presidential contests, election season begins when both major-party nominees become clear. For non-presidential contests, election season begins on Labor Day. Everyone here on DU needs to work together to elect more Democrats and fewer Republicans to all levels of American government. If you are bashing, trashing, undermining, or depressing turnout for our candidates during election season, we'll assume you are rooting for the other side.

So, what does this mean? In short, it means we're all expected to support President Obama for re-election in 2012. If you are going to vote for President Obama, then you'll probably be fine.

We know some members are expecting the start of election season to signal a sea change on DU, in which the hammer drops and criticism of President Obama is stopped in its tracks. But 2012 is not 2008 or 2004. At this point, we don't see any reason why that would happen. In fact, we don't think there is going to be a particularly noticeable difference between primary season and general election season here on DU, for two reasons.

There was no divisive Democratic presidential primary campaign this year
Back in 2004 and 2008 we had fiercely contested Democratic presidential primaries, in which DU members picked sides and fought like hell for their candidates. When the primaries were finally over there was lots of ill-will, and some members who supported unsuccessful candidates were not in any mood to support the nominee. Those people who insisted on continuing the primary-season fighting after primary season was over were poisoning the community and ultimately some of them needed to be removed. But this year there was no Democratic presidential primary, so we don't have any problems with primary-season sour grapes.

Barack Obama is already the President of the United States
Back in 2004 and 2008 the sitting president was a Republican, George W. Bush. In both years, our candidates -- John Kerry in 2004 and Barack Obama in 2008 -- were merely aspiring to the job of President. This is an important distinction. When our candidates did not hold the office of President, there was really no compelling need to criticize them except to derail their campaigns. But this year, President Obama is already President, and he is going to continue to exercise the powers of the office of President of the United States throughout the campaign. This means he is going to make real decisions that have real-world consequences, and DU members are likely to disagree about some of those decisions. We are not going to stop people from posting good-faith criticism of the President's actions as President. We know we went through some pretty ugly periods here during the Obama presidency, but at this point it looks like almost everyone here is on-board with President Obama already, and we don't anticipate that changing. (To be clear, you don't get a green light to relentlessly trash President Obama if you claim you are going to vote for him. As the TOS say: If you are bashing, trashing, undermining, or depressing turnout for our candidates during election season, we'll assume you are rooting for the other side.)

Having said all that, please be aware that the DU Terms of Service are pretty strict, and we don't cut a great deal of slack to people who violate them. If you are here to advocate on behalf of Mitt Romney or some lost-cause third-party spoiler, you will be banned. We're unlikely to give you a warning first because -- let's face it -- if you are supporting someone other than Barack Obama you are on the wrong website. We don't care if you live in the bluest blue state, or the reddest red state -- President Obama is our candidate.

Skinner, EarlG, Elad
DU Administrators

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Reply According to the DU Terms of Service, general election season has begun. Don't expect big changes. [View all]
Skinner May 2012 OP
Scuba May 2012 #1
loggerboots May 2012 #78
JNelson6563 May 2012 #2
Number23 May 2012 #42
JustAnotherGen May 2012 #3
dixiegrrrrl May 2012 #16
Scurrilous May 2012 #4
maddezmom May 2012 #5
Prism May 2012 #6
Skink May 2012 #7
aquart May 2012 #20
abelenkpe May 2012 #26
corkhead May 2012 #8
SidDithers May 2012 #9
Tarheel_Dem May 2012 #31
RC May 2012 #36
SidDithers May 2012 #39
RC May 2012 #40
one_voice May 2012 #10
TBF May 2012 #11
Whisp May 2012 #12
secondwind May 2012 #13
Enrique May 2012 #14
ellisonz May 2012 #17
aquart May 2012 #22
Crunchy Frog May 2012 #25
freshwest May 2012 #76
abelenkpe May 2012 #29
gkhouston May 2012 #32
MineralMan May 2012 #15
Dawson Leery May 2012 #18
gateley May 2012 #41
AnotherMcIntosh May 2012 #19
Jakes Progress May 2012 #59
AnotherMcIntosh May 2012 #67
Jakes Progress May 2012 #71
mmonk May 2012 #21
frazzled May 2012 #24
mmonk May 2012 #27
FlaGatorJD May 2012 #23
proud2BlibKansan May 2012 #28
FredStembottom May 2012 #33
obamanut2012 May 2012 #38
quakerboy May 2012 #55
JTFrog May 2012 #61
quakerboy May 2012 #66
rhett o rick May 2012 #35
NYC_SKP May 2012 #49
secretdj May 2012 #53
JTFrog May 2012 #63
AnotherMcIntosh May 2012 #68
classof56 May 2012 #30
FredStembottom May 2012 #34
Javaman May 2012 #37
kurtzapril4 May 2012 #43
tomp May 2012 #44
dmr May 2012 #45
tomp May 2012 #60
Jamaal510 May 2012 #46
joshcryer May 2012 #47
usregimechange May 2012 #48
SunSeeker May 2012 #50
pacalo May 2012 #56
grahamhgreen May 2012 #51
AnotherMcIntosh May 2012 #69
snot May 2012 #52
Lil Missy May 2012 #54
Suji to Seoul May 2012 #57
BlueIris May 2012 #58
mr pants May 2012 #62
beyurslf May 2012 #64
proud2BlibKansan May 2012 #65
beyurslf May 2012 #72
proud2BlibKansan May 2012 #73
beyurslf May 2012 #74
proud2BlibKansan May 2012 #75
AnotherMcIntosh May 2012 #70
UnrepentantLiberal May 2012 #77