As the presidential primary campaign season ran it course, followed by the RNC and DNC conventions, I have come to a conclusion that almost everyone I've talked to agrees with, be they Democrats, Republicans, or Independents. I think you will to.
Our problem is that it takes too damn long to elect a president.
More than one candidate has talked about the eighteen months they spent running for office, between the first official actions they took seeking the office and election day in November.
Eighteen months. Eighteen. Months.
At best that's the bare minimum amount of time needed to run a successful campaign. Some start laying plans to run three days after presidential elections are over. There's no reason it should take that long. None. There are a number of reasons the long election process is working against us, making it difficult to find good candidates who would make a great president.
First, most of the people who would make a great candidate, and hopefully a great president, don't want to spend that kind of time running for office because they're too busy doing the job they were hired or elected to do. They don't want to take time away from a job they like (or even love) to put themselves under a microscope for a year and half or longer where everything they or their family say, do, or don't do will be covered by the media and analyzed to death. Every problem they had in their lives, even as children, will be used as a weapon to show the American people just how unfit they are to hold the highest office in the land. Who in their right mind would want to do that?
Next, running for office, particularly for the Office of President of the United States takes money, even in small retail politics states like my home state of New Hampshire. Unless they are already wealthy with a bank account with hundreds of millions of dollars, they will have to sell themselves to everybody, including the special interests who will expect something in return for the money they've given even if it is against the best interests of the nation and its people. It also means they have to spend time glad-handing with people that, under other circumstances, they wouldn't turn their back on.
This has to be one of the worst ways to elect our president.
It didn't take so much time, effort, and money to elect presidents in the past. This was all before there were such things as radio, television, airplanes, and the Internet. The whole thing was done in a few months, beginning to end. With all of the modern conveniences and means of communicating with large numbers of people quickly and inexpensively, it should take at most three to four months to do all of this. However, changing this would be difficult. We have to consider the huge amounts of money extended campaigns can generate, how much graft and influence peddling that takes place during extended campaigns, and the level of cronyism and rent-seeking that extended campaigns allow to take place.
That everyone I talked to agreed with me and would like to see the election process change was not surprising to me. I know a lot of those folks are already heartily sick of the campaigns and we still have a little over three months until the November elections.
There has to be a better way.