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Saturday, November 17, 2018

Columns

Focus Friday: The never-ending election cycle


Did the 2016 campaign trail start three years ago? It certainly feels like it sometimes.

It already feels like the Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz and John Kasich feud with Trump happened in the 2012 elections. Even Sen. Bernie Sanders seems to have faded, and we are finally left with two of the most polarizing candidates in election history.

Singer Sheryl Crow has started a petition calling for shorter presidential election cycles. The 2016 election will have lasted 600 days by Nov. 8, in what Crow dubbed an “extremely damaging” campaign.

Do you think there should be shorter election cycles? Why? Do you think shorter election cycles would benefit the nominees or harm their campaigns?

Opinion columnist Praneeth Kambhampati

The 2016 national election campaign lasted 596 days. The second-largest campaign season for a country was 147 days in Mexico. Like everything that is “‘Murican,” our campaign cycles blow all other campaign cycles out of the water. Unfortunately, this is nothing to boast.

The biggest flaw in this system is the financial drain that running a competitive campaign would have on an Independent or third-party candidate.

Millions of dollars are poured into maintaining a campaign that lasts nearly 600 days. Unless an individual has the backing of rich donors, running an effective campaign would be nearly impossible.

Long campaign periods and the resulting campaign funds create room for interest groups to sponsor candidates and sway their opinion. For example, the NRA poured millions into Donald Trump’s campaign, which will likely influence his stance on gun legislation.

So, unfortunately, campaign cycles being “huuugeee” is tragic for American democracy.

Senior staff columnist Jorden Smith

The truth that no one wants to admit about long election cycles is that we need them — desperately. There is a lot to get to know about each candidate, especially since the president now has a large amount of responsibility.

Unlike U.K., a country that has election time restrictions, the people running are speaking to a whole nation and not a segment.

The actual election season isn’t really that long; the presidential election season started in July after the conventions. Along with that, the presidential election and the primary season are wholly different entities. One is for the American people and one is for a collection of people who hold similar views. There were 17 candidates in the Republican field last year.

It takes time to decide.

Assistant opinion editor Thom Dwyer

The U.S. is the only place where election cycles are so excruciatingly long. We really need to take after other countries and cut down on the time that our election cycle takes to produce a president.

Shorter election cycles are beneficial in several ways.

First, the shorter a campaign is, the cheaper it typically is. That means donations made to candidates could potentially go a lot farther and be less influential to a nominee’s success.

Second, it wouldn’t be a media spectacle to shove in every American’s face on a daily basis about the smallest and most irrelevant pieces of information. I cannot speak for everyone, but I certainly am tired of constantly seeing Clinton and Trump on TV everywhere I go.

“Focus Friday” contributors can be reached at [email protected]

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