So you're running for president, eh?
2016 Presidential Election years away yet coverage prevails
The American news media has an unequivocal passion for presidential elections. The 2016 presidential election is roughly 600 days away, but it has been a topic of discussion for months. One-term senator Republican Ted Cruz is the first politician to officially announce his presidential candidacy. Candidates running for any office aim to do whatever they can in order to show their intent to take the office and path to the White House seriously. Announcing early may be one of the best ways to do that. While it is unlikely that Cruz expects to win the election, campaigning allows him to become a household name in politics, paving the way for future action. Cruz’s declaration, however, has lengthened the official campaign season, which presents a number of issues for the candidates and the American public.
Access to money is the primary issue. There are federally-mandated limits on how much money individuals and corporations can contribute to a given candidate during a given election cycle. But the longer the campaign season, the more money candidates will need to tour the nation, make speeches and distribute election materials. Even if there is a longer campaign season, it will still constitute a single election cycle, leaving the amount of money that individuals and corporations can contribute capped. If a traditional campaign typically lasts a year, adding additional months on top of that will undoubtedly force candidates to find alternative methods for making money. There are a number of loopholes that already exist within the system of political contributions. A longer campaign season will exacerbate these loopholes to the point of financial corruption.
Lengthening of the campaign season proves that there is an inherent concern with what is coming next in politics as opposed to what is happening now. Paying attention to how politicians aim to handle issues will detract from the current state of those issues — potentially worsening them by the time the election takes place. Candidates may campaign on platforms that include decreasing the defense budget, debating with nations that possess nuclear weapons or reallocating social security funds. While the future of politics takes the limelight, the present matters will be open to degradation. Similarly, focusing on the presidential election will also lead candidates that currently hold office to abandon their present responsibilities.
Another issue would be the importance of the election to the American public. Hearing about the presidential election and candidates every day for months on end will detract from its novelty. When the unique but traditional concept of casting a ballot on Election Day is discussed for years in terms of candidacy, no one is going to care as much as they should when the moment finally rolls around. A lengthened season will force candidates to use their campaign time constructively, which could counteract the constant discussion of the election. With more months to operate, they would be able to host more rallies, attend more debates and address more issues. In that instance, the general public would know more about the issues and what each politician thinks, making votes later casted more informed.
Speculation about former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s potential candidacy has proliferated since her unsuccessful bid for the office in 2008. The Super Political Action Committee, “Ready for Hillary,” has been organizing since January of 2013. Their purpose is to garner support for Clinton on a grassroots level by informing potential constituents of her policies and political intentions. But what happens if Clinton chooses not to run? What other Democrats will emerge? On the opposite side of the isle, pundits have alleged that Republican politicians already have a plan for 2032. Cruz’s announcement coupled with conjecture about New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush’s bid for the presidency are evidence of that. It may be months until the next presidential candidate announces their intentions. Yet, Cruz's announcement shows that the 2016 presidential election will consistently appear in the 24-hour news cycle until Election Day.