Drawn-out campaigns shut out potential candidates, costs billions

Sarah Simon, Associate Views Editor

This is an opinion article and does not necessarily reflect the views of The Tulane Hullabaloo.

In March, 596 days before the 2016 presidential election, Ted Cruz announced his candidacy. This is almost two years before November 2016’s election day and over a year before primaries, occurring this coming February and March. The length of the election season in the United States makes no sense, as politicians must funnel money into sustaining themselves while the campaign field becomes a battleground reminiscent of reality television.

More than half a year prior to the primaries, the debate season begins. During August’s Republican debate, the proctor, Megyn Kelly, read the crowdsourced question “I want to know if any of [the candidates] have received word from God on what they should do and take care of first.” In a secular state, having presidential candidates discuss religion seems fairly uncouth, as well as unfocused from the supposed goal of fostering discussion about important issues for Americans. If politicians did not have so many months to garner support and attention, they likely would not be wasting their time talking about their personal relationships with God.

This issue remains consistent in Democratic debates as well. Paralleling recent media attention, the proctor, Anderson Cooper, pried Hillary Clinton about her email scandal, the reveal that during her time as Secretary of State, Clinton used her private email for job-related duties. Bernie Sanders was quick to shut Cooper down, claiming that the American people have had enough hearing about these emails, and instead would like the focus to be on the real issues. He’s completely correct. The debates need to be focused on real issues. These debates must focus on making candidate’s platforms accessible, not on magnifying scandals or revealing candidate’s religious beliefs.

In addition to wasting time, politicians also waste extravagant amounts of money. The 2012 presidential race cost $2 billion. This almost necessitates allowing super PAC’s to fund campaigns. Candidates must compete in a game of fundraising, and super PAC’s supply immense amounts of money and support. While they are controversial, it is easy to see why politicians accept their support.

As our campaign season extends off into the distance, other countries whiz by us. Canada just ran their longest election season ever, spanning 11 weeks. England’s seasons last about a month. Our two-year campaigns are among the longest worldwide, and the way they run is embarrassing. The U.S. must reform our campaign process, as each time, more time and money is wasted.

Sarah is a freshman at Newcomb-Tulane College. She can be reached at [email protected].