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Is it just me?

Or is everyone starting to tune out of the upcoming election? Yes, I’ll almost certainly watch the first debate, and if it is worthwhile, I might even watch the rest of them too. And I will definitely vote. I always do.

Not only is this the most costly presidential election in our history (total spending will be greater than a billion dollars, and that doesn’t count all the time and money spent by other people, like the media, bloggers like me, and even normal people), but it is also the most comprehensively covered, discussed, argued, and lied about election in history. It’s too much.

There has got to be a better way.

I like how in many parliamentary systems there is no fixed election date. From the time when the government decides there is going to be an election to when the election actually happens is typically just two or three months. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if our campaign season were that short?

UPDATE: A federal appeals court has overturned a lower court ruling that could have forced the secret money groups to disclose their donors. This is more bad news for our elections. About the only thing I’m sure of about campaign finance reform is that the names of people who pay for political activities must be disclosed. Otherwise, there is no way to tell if your elections are being bought by foreign governments, multinational corporations, or even by terrorist organizations.



  1. jonah wrote:

    The silver lining is that “the job creating” 1% have been coughing up campaign money that I’m sure has partially stimulated certain sections of the economy despite the many headwinds (Europe, Republicans, China). It’s a mini-stimulus in a way. I’d be interested to know how much money has been spent for state and national elections and whether anyone has tried to correlate the effect campaign spending has on the economy.

    Tuesday, September 18, 2012 at 5:49 am | Permalink
  2. oregonbird wrote:

    We all know who we’re voting for in the presidential race. We all know Mitt is imploding. So that won’t hold anyone’s attention, unless the media makes it a circus, which it no doubt will.

    What we need is as liberal a Congress as possible. A Congress willing to put a stop to the wars, to the constant bombing, to the mercenaries and the payoffs. We need to know about the Senate races and the House races — and the media won’t help.

    Won’t You Please Feed The Need?

    Tuesday, September 18, 2012 at 6:06 am | Permalink
  3. ebdoug wrote:

    Jonah, you echoed my thoughts. No one listens, it is a great stimulus. Have to say I have a hard line conservative here visiting. He wanted to know “is it true” about things in “Dreams of my Father” It won’t change his vote, he lives in a red state anyway. But he is going to take the book home and read it or parts.

    Tuesday, September 18, 2012 at 6:24 am | Permalink
  4. David Freeman wrote:

    I strongly agree that “There has got to be a better way.”

    However, I do have reservations about short campaign seasons. For a short while Romney was believed to be a moderate. It’s taken a long, so far, and remarkably incompetent Romney campaign to make a tiny dent in this perception.

    If we’re going to have cheaper, shorter campaigns then they darn well better be clearer and deeper as well.

    Tuesday, September 18, 2012 at 6:32 am | Permalink
  5. PatriotSGT wrote:

    Jonah – interesting question on the state levels. In my state they are attempting to sway both elected officials and the public. We have a referendum question about expanding new gambling along with pending legislation to expand existing casinos. A local radio talk show reported lobbyists were spending 1 million per day to influence legislators and close to that in a daily barrage of adds to sway voters. It’s really actually funny as one add will come on for and a few minutes later one against. It seems like both sides are evenly matched with no shortage of money.
    One of the talk show hosts said the lobbyists are idiots for spending 1 mill day because our legislature can be bought for much less. I thought that was hilarious.

    Tuesday, September 18, 2012 at 7:24 am | Permalink
  6. Michael wrote:

    I’m not entirely convinced that the problem is solely the structure of elections here. I think the train wreck that has been this election season is the symptom, not the cause. I believe the cause is the commercialization and corporate takeover of the news media. Could you imagine Edward R. Murrow putting up with the kinds of questions and answers from the Republican debates?

    By making everything into a circus, the media companies squeeze the electoral process for every dime they can get.

    Tuesday, September 18, 2012 at 7:32 am | Permalink
  7. Arthanyel wrote:

    If we were Romans, this would be the Colosseum. Politics has become our favorite blood sport. Maybe it always was our favorite sport, but at some point it switched from real racing to being a demolition derby.

    To quote a famous non-partisan AI, “The only way to win is not to play.”

    Tuesday, September 18, 2012 at 11:21 am | Permalink
  8. il-08 wrote:

    Its not the length of the conversation, it is the inanity of it all. So little gets said for such a loud and long talk. In the debates, the moderators questions are merely the place where the candidate start their prepared remarks. No one in the media seems to notice that their questions were unanswered, or interested in finding the truth, they are all just too thrilled with themselves for asking the questions. If you want to actually know something about the candidates or their policies, you have to dig so deeply into it that the majority of people are asleep by the time they are only skin deep. And then, god forbid, you find yourself on the track of the truth, the other side will throw such obstacles and half-truths in your way in hopes you may either give up or get lost. Oh how I am longing for something that is actually fair and balanced.

    Tuesday, September 18, 2012 at 1:06 pm | Permalink
  9. Don in Waco wrote:

    Its all a horrible waste of money and its a damned shame the advertising all gets spent in battleground states. It would be much more efficient for the campaigns to send voters a check for their vote (trickle up) after which they could cast their secret ballot and collect from both sides. But then again, that’s the kind of ideas you have when you’re the 47%. Where’s my voting entitlement check?

    Tuesday, September 18, 2012 at 1:39 pm | Permalink
  10. Sammy wrote:

    For me it’s not “tuning out” as much as “burning out”. I come to my favorite political sites/blogs only about once a week now and then quickly catch up with scanning.

    Tuesday, September 18, 2012 at 5:10 pm | Permalink
  11. ZIP-ZERO-NADA wrote:

    I’ve voiced this opinion on PI before: the fundamental flaw in our current electoral process is the two party system. In any other “market” there are multiple choices. Cars, airlines, food, education, health care — you name it, the average consumer has more than 2 choices. Today’s political process is polarizing – Liberal or Conservative. Red or Blue. Good versus Evil. It feels like a civil war is brewing because you are either For or Against. Where is the “Logical, Rational, Free Thinking, Innovative, Uncorruptable Party”?

    Wednesday, September 19, 2012 at 7:34 am | Permalink
  12. David Freeman wrote:

    Zip asks, “Where is the ‘Logical, Rational, Free Thinking, Innovative, Uncorruptable Party?'”

    That would be “The Party of the first part”:

    “Groucho Marx: So the party of the first part shall be known in this contract as the party of the first part.

    Chico Marx: Well it sounds a little better this time.

    Groucho Marx: Well, it grows on you. Would you like to hear it once more?

    Chico Marx: Just the first part.”

    video at

    Wednesday, September 19, 2012 at 8:15 am | Permalink
  13. Iron Knee wrote:

    Wasn’t Marx a commie? 🙂

    Wednesday, September 19, 2012 at 9:07 am | Permalink