By one measure, the U.S. presidential campaign will be 19-plus months, 597 days old, on Election Day in November 2020. That’s 14,328 hours! In this time frame, a New York Times article stated we could have instead hosted approximately 4 Mexican elections, 7 Canadian elections, 14 British elections, 14 Australian elections or 41 French elections.
The downsides are pretty clear. Nearly 65 percent of Americans say they are exhausted by the glut of election coverage. I hit the mute button when the evening news talks about the latest polls, who said what about whom, the next debate, etc. Who cares this early? Also, who is doing the jobs of the congressional candidates we elected while they run all over the country for a year and a half?
And, the length of the campaign is one reason billions of dollars are poured into U.S. presidential contests, dollars that could be used to lower the national debt, repair our failing infrastructures, etc.
Additionally, our combination of a relatively short presidential term and an unusually long election process means at least a quarter of each presidential term is devoted to politics instead of policy in government. Again, too much time away from the job.
The cure? How about a 90-day presidential campaign time frame? Plenty of time for three debates, town hall meetings and media ads. Plus, it would pretty much eliminate the downsides mentioned above.
Bill Christiansen, Destin