Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Very Long March

Silly season is about to get even longer. New Hampshire, which traditionally holds the first primary in presidential campaigns, is refusing to give up that cherished position. The state is now threatening to hold its primary in December, just about two months from now.

New Hampshire's secretary of state says that it is "up to Nevada" whether his state is forced to move its presidential primary into December, with that vote possibly coming in just less than eight weeks.

The kink in the campaign time table began with Florida moving its primary up (against national party rules), and Nevada responded by threatening to move its primary up to January. This was New Hampshire's response.

Now, I like a good campaign, but even I can't envision eating popcorn for that long. The election is still nearly thirteen months away, and we've already had seven debates, a couple of straw polls, and more jet fuel burned than a baseball team over the course of a season. Why should it take so long to pick a nominee and then a winner? Is it any wonder that the American electorate gets turned off?

And lengthening the season has some serious ramifications. Michele Bachmann's detractors have pointed out that she has missed over 50 House votes because she has been too busy campaigning. I'm not so sure that's a bad thing, but, still, she was elected to represent her state. Congressman Ron Paul has also missed some votes. Both have undoubtedly missed a lot of committee meetings and have given short shrift to their other congressional duties. Texas Governor Rick Perry has been out of his state during some pretty contentious times, and he's only one year into his latest term. These people are getting paid to do their jobs even as they fly around the country to raise money and to get votes for the next job. That's hardly fair to their constituents.

I am not suggesting that we bar current office holders from the seeking higher office, merely that our campaign season has become way too long, especially since there is a period of time before that when potential candidates are scurrying around picking campaign staff, running focus groups, and dialing for dollars before declaring their candidacy. Other countries manage elections in far less time and for far less money.

Besides, I'm frankly getting sick of popcorn.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

The real problem is that presidential campaigning has become a big industry for states like Iowa and New Hampshire, with gazillions of dollars pouring into those areas from out of state. Why would they want a shorter less lucrative campaign season?

Ed in Montana, a state that has one of the last presidential primaries in the known universe.

7:46 AM  
Blogger PurpleGirl said...

I want a Canadian style very short campaign season.

8:17 AM  

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