American campaign cycles show flaws in system


Republican presidential candidates from left, Chris Christie, Marco Rubio, Ben Carson, Scott Walker, Donald Trump, Jeb Bush, Mike Huckabee, Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, and John Kasich take the stage for the first Republican presidential debate at the Quicken Loans Arena Thursday, Aug. 6, 2015, in Cleveland. Republicans are steeling themselves for a long period of deep uncertainty following a raucous first debate of the 2016 campaign for president, with no signs this past week’s Fox News face-off will winnow their wide-open field of White House hopefuls anytime soon. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

Abby Kempf

Sen. Ted Cruz (R – Texas) announced on March 23 that he would run for the presidency of the United States of America. So began the long-winded, money-guzzling and largely publicized joke of a race for the highest and most sacred position in the American government.
There are so many things wrong with our government and the way it operates, but nothing could be as blatantly backwards as our campaigns. Yet, the worst part of this whole spectacle is that despite the publicity these crooked campaigns get, Americans do not express their disdain and disgust at this mockery of our nation or demand for fair, reasonable campaigns.
Let’s begin with the amount of days spent bickering and throwing money every which way. When November 2016 rolls around, 696 days will have been spent parading around in candidate plastered buses and delivering hollow promises to hungry voters. This is the longest campaign cycle of any nation that democratically elects its “supreme” leader.
To put that into perspective, the nation with the second longest campaign cycle, Germany, had a record of 114 days spent on their longest campaign. We spend nearly five and a half times that number of days fixating on polls and overlooking actual policies as our closest competitor.
Some people argue that a longer campaign cycle allows the population to get an in-depth look at each candidate before voting, but this simply isn’t true. When you go on a first date, you are going to look a lot different than when you spend a lazy day with your husband. The same is true for these politicians who put on their makeup and gel back their stiff locks when they put themselves on display during campaign season. They don’t show the American public who they really are, but rather who they think we want to see.
Not only are we deceived with fake platforms and written-by-someone-else speeches, but we are blindsided by the so-called ‘Super PACs’ who contribute copious amounts of money to candidates’ campaigns because of ulterior motives.
A Super PAC is a type of political action committee that can raise unlimited sums of money from corporations and businesses under the guise that these corporations will not directly converse with candidates. Of course we know that this is not true; a business that fracks oil isn’t supporting Jeb Bush because they love his political ideology, but because they want to have leverage on him when he gets into office so that they can keep him from imposing any unsatisfactory rules on the oil fracking business.
The money spent on one candidate’s campaign alone is staggering. Let’s examine Hillary Clinton’s campaigning funds. Since she began her political career in 1999, she has raised $376,309,659. $300 million could buy 20,000 in-state, undergraduate University of Florida students all four years of college. $300 million could buy 23,622 people health insurance for a year. $300 million could buy all the books the Los Angeles Library system needs for 38 years.
There are so many more examples, but the point is obvious that spending $300 million on simply getting elected is a sad waste. There are so many ways that our nation is hurting for money and funding a candidate’s campaign is not high up on that list.
Besides wasting money, these drawn out campaigns pull focus from what really matters. Many of today’s politicians may have good intentions, but to get chosen to represent their people they have to first concentrate on getting elected.
They have to take off a year or two of their time and devote all hours of the day to being a candidate. Even those who are holding an office have to push their work off so they are free enough to hit the road, dropping off flyers displaying their cheese smiles in every good ol’ American city. And while the public has their eyes on potential candidates and are debating who is going to run and who isn’t, we miss the more important issues, like the loop-holed bills, wasteful filibusters, and all the other shady business done in Washington.
The point of paying attention to politics is to see what our representatives are doing and to make sure they are living up to the standards they promised. The point is to get our opinions out there and hopefully make positive changes whenever we can by writing our senators and our representatives. The point is not to encourage a complete waste of money and time by playing into campaigns.
Right now is not the time to be watching the news-programs’ analysis of a candidate’s speech or to be listening to the polls. Right now is the time to be watching what’s really going on in Washington and playing an active role in voting on issues that matter now.
There is no need to make a final decision on a candidate now. Inform yourself when the time comes, but as for right now inform yourself about the issues that will be affecting you and the whole of America today.
Photo used with permission from The Associated Press