Do We Really Need to Start the 2016 Election Already?

Memeorandum

The political media is at it again, attempting to convince the general public that the just-finished 2012 presidential election was little more than the first course in a much longer and more grueling meal.

Scanning the top headlines at political punditry aggregator Memeorandum, you might hazard a guess or two about the state of politics this post-election season.

First, you might surmise that all this talk of Hillary Clinton being at the top of the 2016 food chain and the repetition of the names “Rubio” and “Ryan” adjacent to one another in headline after headline, indicates that the media is already circling the wagons around their favorite candidates.

Second, you might guess that this means there’s a deficit of current news to keep the fires burning.

Unfortunately, that second point is only half true. The world is full of important stories just begging to be covered: the escalation of violence in Syria; the horrifying “Kill the Gays” bill in Uganda and its roots in American evangelical funding; the endless War on Drugs and militarization of the police and the very real violence it sustains; the list goes on and on. And yes, they’re being covered, but it feels at times like the least important news always rises to the surface.

Politics is so often about distraction. We talk about the “fiscal cliff” using imagistic and misleading language that obfuscates the real issues with our national debt, such as our dangerous sustained level of defense spending, and creates a sense of fear around something that in no way represents any sort of actual cliff.

This is a monster of our own creation. 24 hour cable news, the blogosphere, social media…is it any wonder the 2016 election has already begun? Political news is like a shark. It can never stop swimming, even to sleep.

I’m guilty of this, of course. I implicate myself in this wide, wide net of trivia and pettiness. But surely we can do better? Surely we can, at the very least, put a moratorium on 2016 election predictions, or fawning over the handsome, charming specter of a Rubio/Ryan ticket? Perhaps we can let Hillary Clinton fade into some temporary obscurity at least until, say, 2014.

Let’s not allow the next presidential race to become a five-year engagement.

One More Thing

And it's a big one. Mother Jones is launching a new Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on the corruption that is both the cause and result of the crisis in our democracy.

The more we thought about how Mother Jones can have the most impact right now, the more we realized that so many stories come down to corruption: People with wealth and power putting their interests first—and often getting away with it.

Our goal is to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We're aiming to create a reporting position dedicated to uncovering corruption, build a team, and let them investigate for a year—publishing our stories in a concerted window: a special issue of our magazine, video and podcast series, and a dedicated online portal so they don't get lost in the daily deluge of headlines and breaking news.

We want to go all in, and we've got seed funding to get started—but we're looking to raise $500,000 in donations this spring so we can go even bigger. You can read about why we think this project is what the moment demands and what we hope to accomplish—and if you like how it sounds, please help us go big with a tax-deductible donation today.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate