A question was asked in FQ about whether Nixon could have run for another term as President after his resignation. (answer: no.) And then the discussion swiftly turned to a discussion of Trump’s eligibility to run again. @Chronos responded thus:
I think this is inappropriate behaviour for a moderator. Political potshots are forbidden in FQ. Saying that Trump has ‘delusions’ is definitely a potshot. Anybody else using this term would get a mod note or a warning.
I think it was correct to rule discussion of Trump off topic for that particular thread. I don’t have any problem with that. And I think Trump probably is delusional. I don’t have any problem with people saying so, in the correct threads in the correct forum.
What I object to is the hypocrisy. Chronos noted other people against breaking the rules, while taking the opportunity to break them himself. That’s just wrong.
I have no standing in this discussion but this doesn’t seem reasonable to me. For one thing, AFAICT, from an ignorance-fighting standpoint it is valid to describe the position that Trump was successfully re-elected but was defrauded of his second term by a “stolen election” as “delusional”.
That seems to be a generally accepted term for a view so far removed from demonstrable reality that only someone deluded could really believe it (although as typically used, it doesn’t seem to preclude the possibility that the person stating the view is instead deliberately lying).
In the second place, three posts before Chronos’s post that you’re complaining about, another poster remarked,
That poster didn’t get “a mod note or a warning”.
I mean, it is quite securely factually established that Donald Trump habitually makes claims that are delusional, in the sense of being ridiculously inconsistent with reality, and/or illogical. I don’t see why it should be off-limits to acknowledge that in FQ, as long as it isn’t used as an excuse to derail a thread on a different topic into an anti-Trump snarkfest. Which ISTM is what Chronos was cracking down on.
The half dozen posters immediately prior didn’t use the word “delusions”, but that word describes the intent of all those posts. Is @Chronos saying that he thinks trump is delusional, or just using the word as shorthand to describe what about those last few posts was off topic?
I think there’s a LOT of point being missed by Chronos in his mod notes, AND by the posters in this thread.
First, let us note that OP’s original question was fully and unambiguously answered immediately in Post #2. We used to have a rule around here that FQ threads were allowed to drift, within limits, once the initial question is fully answered. Is that rule no longer operative on this Board?
So the thread drifted to the question of whether Trump would be eligible to run again. The same Amendment that ruled out a third election for Nixon seems clearly to apply to Trump’s case too, once we know how many times Trump has already been elected, a question upon which Trump himself is not necessarily the final authority.
One view was presented that Trump himself must at least present consistent claims: Either he claims to have been elected twice already in which case he forfeits the right to run again, OR he must acknowledge that he lost the 2020 election in which case he retains the right to run again.
My post (which seems to be one of the ones thus mod-noted, and one among the “half dozen posters immediately prior” that puzzlegal cites above) did NOT express any opinion as to whether Trump is right or wrong or delusional or not.
My point was that, under the 22nd Amendment it’s irrelevant what Trump thinks or what he says he thinks, and there’s no requirement for him to be consistent in his claims. Nowhere in the 22nd Amendment is there a test for that.
I think that kind of observation is well within the “drift boundaries” of that thread, given that the OP was already fully addressed. The moderator in that thread, and the posters above in this thread, are completely missing that point.
You can certainly make a solid case that Trump is objectively delusional, just as a Flat Earther is objectively delusional. But I still think it would be better for FQ moderation to be very conservative in its approach to something like this, and just steer well clear of anything that might be perceived as political bias. So I tend to agree with @Peter_Morris about the wording of the moderation…
… but then I agree with this, it shouldn’t have been ruled off topic.
What else was there to say about Nixon? It was answered definitively in the second post. I see no reason to bar a conversation from natural expansion when it is not getting in the way of people trying to discuss the narrower starting point.
Well, I might not because I’ve now remarked everything that I had to remark on the topic, within FQ limits. If a new thread were to be started in Politics or IMHO or even GD, then it might be possible to discuss whether Trump is, in fact, right or wrong or delusional. For purposes of the FQ thread, the only FQ-ish things to be said are that the 22nd Amendment does not give the wanna-be candidate the final say as to whether he is eligible, but it also does not require any consistency in the wanna-be candidate’s claims.
If it makes you feel better, feel free to interpret my statement as including an implied “or lack thereof”. The point is, it was still off-topic.
Some level of thread drift is permitted, yes, so long as the original question isn’t neglected, and so long as the drift remains in line with the standards of the forum. The original question was not neglected, so that part’s OK, but political discussion of Trump is out of bounds for FQ.