MECHANICSVILLE, MD - APRIL 25: A woman stands at the voting booth at the White Marsh Elementary School polling station, April 26, 2016 in Mechanicsville, Maryland. Maryland is one of five states that is holding their primary elections today. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images) (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

As the election process shifts from the primary to the general-election phase, the media must resolve to invoke the golden rule when interviewing the candidates and their spokespeople. He who has the gold makes the rules. Media — not the candidates — have the gold. The candidates need exposure from TV, radio, print and digital.

It’s a new ballgame now, and the media must be accountable to their audiences. Media must be prepared to terminate an interview early if a candidate is not answering questions directly or attempts to use the opportunity to blather on with tweets instead of substance.  

Kenneth C. Mahieu, McLean

I am not sure whether I am more angered or saddened by Eliot A. Cohen’s May 5 op-ed, “The case for a third party.”

Mr. Cohen ignored the fact that there is a third party: the Libertarian Party. It is active in all 50 states and has existed since 1971. The candidate in 2012, Gary Johnson, a two-term New Mexico governor, received more than 1.2 million votes for the first time in the party’s history and is expected to do much better this go-round, especially considering his likely opponents.

The party stands for small government. It is fiscally conservative and socially liberal, values shared by a high and seemingly increasing percentage of U.S. citizens, most of whom are, unfortunately, unaware of the party’s existence.

Harry Viener, Burke

Eliot A. Cohen, who served under presidents George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush, called for a third-party candidate to stop Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, even if it would mean Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, “the lesser evil,” would become president. 

Instead of electing Ms. Clinton, carrying out his suggestion might be the best Republican path to the White House. This is so because a strong, moderate Republican might well prevent anyone from obtaining a majority of the electors, in which case the House is charged with “immediately” picking one of the candidates to be the next president.

John R. Maney, Springfield

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has been repeating some false statements over and over again. Here are the last four of his claims that the Post's Fact Checker gave Four Pinocchios. (Jenny Starrs,Michelle Lee/The Washington Post)


In his May 5 op-ed, Charles Lane asserted that Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s supporters have “abdicated” their duty to “hold a candidate accountable for his or her ideas.” But Mr. Lane’s admonishment failed to recognize that present-day GOP primary voters are rejecting President Obama’s ideas of the past seven years. If voters move Mr. Trump to the White House, progressives will be the ones who suffer postpartum blues after Mr. Obama has departed. A Trump presidency would be the birth of a new era.

John K. Lambert, Silver Spring

Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) said she will support Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump but not endorse him [ “Trump’s sacking of the GOP,” op-ed, May 6]. She could have said that she would endorse him but not support him. Or she could have said that she would not endorse or support him but would vote for him. Or support him and vote for him but not endorse him. Or not endorse him, support him, or vote for him but “like” him on Facebook.

Barry Blyveis, Columbia