Constant campaigning

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American politics carries an interesting peculiarity regarding campaigns, one that exists nowhere else in the democratic world. Well over a year away from the upcoming election, we constantly hear about where our preferred candidate is and what he or she is doing, as if it’s breaking news. How did this come to be? Why in America do you find ridiculously outlandish campaigns and campaign spending?

The constant campaigning exists among all levels and branches of our government, stemming from a few factors. Loose campaign finance laws pressure politicians to spend enormous amounts of their time seeking money to increase their chances of reelection. Without money, it becomes much more difficult to run a campaign, and, therefore, there is less of a chance of winning an election.

This is extremely problematic, especially when the candidate running for office is also the incumbent. He or she is forced to spend time in office fundraising rather than governing, which is the job he or she was elected to do. In the 2016 Presidential election, the incumbency problem won’t be relevant, but it’s still frustrating that the election covers so much news so far away from the voting date.

Other countries don’t have this problem. In Canada, campaigns are not limited in how long they can last, but they are limited heavily in how much money can be spent. This leads to a campaign season that usually lasts a brisk two months.

In England, it is illegal to run an individual campaign ad on a national station, and there is no local television broadcasting. An election can be called just a month in advance, which is plenty of time for voters to make an informed decision.

There are two main ways to fix the constant campaign problem in America: Limit the amount of money or limit the total money that is allowed to be spent on campaigns. Democracy will be thankful.

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