Why does the presidential campaign season last so long?

www.shutterstock.comAn overwhelming majority of people in the United States of America have likely grown tired of the 2016 presidential election campaign. I’ve had dozens of conversations with people about politics in the past year, but most of them have been about the length of the campaign season, not about the candidates, issues or importance of the election itself.

Let’s reform the campaign seasons into a much smaller window and make our elected officials spend a greater percentage of their time in office doing their jobs instead of campaigning. All of that time wasted yammering about our problems would be better spent fixing them instead.

It doesn’t matter which candidate you support -Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, Jill Stein, Gary Johnson or any other of the other 1,800-plus “candidates” for the White House – the whole election period has been going on for more than two years and we’ve learned almost nothing positive in the process.

Who can refute this from Business Insider?

Does anyone outside of political pundits, advertisers, polling services, and others profiting from the spectacle really believe that these long mind-numbing campaigns result in a more informed voter?

How did we get here? Why is the campaign season in the United States so long? A possible explanation from The Liberty Project:

Under the reformed, more democratic primary system we have today, everyday voters can have a say in their party’s nominee. But our modern primary system also draws out the election season. To gain an edge over the competition, candidates end up declaring their presidential campaigns earlier and earlier. For a candidate to have the best chance of winning, they typically need ample time to set up a staff, gain ample fundraising and purchase air-time well before the first primary.

How do other countries handle their election campaign periods? The ACE Project explains:

Many countries have campaign periods with clearly defined lengths; others vary depending on when the election is called, when parliament is dissolved, and other factors. The United States is unusual in having no defined campaign period.

In this case, our freedom hurts us in the United States. Too much freedom to campaign forever, which only tends to make money for people who run campaigns and media outlets who depend on the extra advertising dollars and broadcast content during election seasons. Unbelievably, there seems to be an infinite number of contributors out there who must get some benefit from perpetually funding the candidate’s endless stay on the campaign trail.

However, setting limits may not be the solution, according to the ACE Project:

A clearly defined campaign period is logical, perhaps, but can still be rather problematic. For example, voters may be just as much influenced by what they learn about candidates, parties, and platforms from the media at an earlier period, and not just what they learn during the official campaign period. For this reason (among others) media monitoring teams often start their work well in advance of the official campaign period.

More from The Liberty Project:

Another reason the campaign ends up dragging on is because there are simply no laws limiting its length. In other countries, the campaign season is often limited to two or three months. The United Kingdom typically has a campaign period of one month. Canada just survived its longest campaign season of about 11 weeks. In many parliamentary democracies, candidates cannot begin campaigning until the parliament has been dissolved. This creates a natural time limit for the campaign.

No laws to limit the length of the presidential campaign? Referendum, please. No matter who wins, we’ll all be better off when the election season ends and our minds can stop being corrupted by hours of television garbage and fodder for print and social media to backlash about.

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