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Opinion: Our presidential elections last far too long
White House 2019
The White House on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C., is pictured May 24, 2019. - photo by Associated Press

When October started, a dismal thought hit me: We have another year of presidential campaigning. That’s useless and annoying.

Another 12 months of campaigning is useless because we are well past the 1940s when Harry Truman made “whistle stop” speeches cross-country, standing on the back of a train while a curious crowd gathered to see and hear the candidate “in person.” They wanted to know if he really looked like pictures they had seen in Time and Life magazines.

By contrast, every candidate today has become as familiar as our neighbors. Through televised interviews and speeches, we even know their mannerisms — and so do the late-night comedians.

So why not a six-week campaign? Does it take us longer than that to make up our minds? What more would we need to know that hasn’t been spoken or debated after a month and a half?

Another way extended campaigns are useless: They consume the time, energy and potential service of the candidates. Don’t they have anything else to do professionally?  I hope so, or they aren’t qualified to become mayor of Podunk.

Consider the president as a candidate. Regardless of who the incumbent president is, why should he or she be allowed to campaign repeatedly? Why not be like other CEOs, guiding the organization to accomplish what was promised during the campaign?

As for an up to 24-month campaign deserving the description “annoying,” I know many good citizens who no longer turn on the news. Like me, they don’t want to hear the relentless bickering, accusations, excuses, pie-in-the-sky promises, falsehoods and character assassination.

Yes, another full year of this time-wasting, name-calling rhetoric should stop. As the lead character on the once-popular TV program "Dragnet” said, “Just give me the facts, ma’am, just the facts.” Then you and I will decide quickly and wisely.

Bill Lampton


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