Why Democratic Party Leaders Are Calling for 2020 Candidates to Sign a Non-Aggression Pact

February 27, 2019, 4:31 PM UTC

Leaders of the Democratic Party want to avoid the disinformation campaigns that characterized the 2016 presidential election in 2020 as much as possible—so they’re taking it into their own hands.

According to a report from Politico, Democratic Party chairs in New Hampshire, Iowa, South Carolina, and Nevada—all early primary states—are hoping they can convince all of the 2020 candidates to “avoid waging social media disinformation warfare against each other.”

The chairs reportedly sent a letter this week to Democratic Party chairs in states across the country proposing the creation of a non-aggression pact. Per Politico’s report, part of the letter explicitly calls on the states to “work towards developing a collaborative approach to battling disinformation, illicit campaign tactics, bots, trollfarms, fake accounts, altered text, audio, and video, any and all inauthentic speech in our Presidential Primary process.”

The goal is to formalize a set of rules—that all the candidates agree to—to avoid using the aforementioned tactics that were used against Democrats in 2016.

Of course, such an agreement does not eclipse the possibility that other entities will target the candidates. In fact, Politico reported as recently as last week that such a disinformation campaign is already underway. However, an agreement among the Democratic candidates will make it much easier to determine who is behind such attacks.

Simon Rosenberg, who was responsible for running the campaign to counter disinformation at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee during the 2018 midterms, explained to Politico precisely that. “If we know the campaigns aren’t doing it, it’s going to be much easier to find it and make it go away,” he said.

He went on to call on Democrats to “make a clear stand, understanding that if we don’t set clear norms and rules soon, we could see a proliferation of this illicit tactics that could do permanent and lasting harm to our democracy and other democracies throughout the world.”