Please sir, I don’t want some more

Alan Duff

What do all politicians in the United States have in common with Halloween and Christmas? An overwhelming amount of advertising and marketing pointed at their consumers months before such activity is necessary.
We’ve all encountered an overdose of a holiday season. Months before Halloween, Valentine’s Day or Christmas, the shelves become stocked and commercials of every sort seek to remind us about the upcoming holiday, just in case we might forget. Millions of dollars are spent on commercials during holiday seasons to remind the American public to buy and buy until we are sick of it.
The same is now true for our politicians and their campaigning. From senators and governors to presidential candidates, the theme that saturation of information is better remains a constant.
Every election cycle begins sooner now as politicians try to one-up one another and Americans are exposed to campaign seasons for an unnecessarily long time. Christmas carols are pleasant at first, but after being exposed to caroling for four weeks straight a person begins to block them out. Enough is enough!
Just after our Nov. 2 elections, I found myself exhausted and looking forward to a little R&R after all the political campaigns we have been barraged with since Obama announced he was hitting the voting initiative trail in April. Instead of a lapse of political campaign news, I see that CNN has announced the “2012 Senate battle already under way.”
Unfortunately for all Americans, signs point to even longer, more expensive campaigns in the future. According to The Washington Post, the 2010 mid-term election campaigns for senators and governors cost a total of $4 billion. This is more than the cost of any other mid-term election in history.
Whether or not the campaigns are successful, they succeed in flooding the airwaves, our televisions and even YouTube and Twitter with their slogans and slander months before Election Day. I would rather have our politicians working in their offices than spending months of their time on the campaign trail.
A form of regulation would be great. Just as we took Common Law from the British, let’s use their campaign regulation acts as well. The United Kingdom Electoral Commission has a series of acts in place that designate specific times for political campaigning. Each political party is also allocated a set, equal amount of time during the election cycle on broadcast channels. This ensures that there is no politician trying to one-up another because they are all given equal time.
While the United States has several regulations in place that control spending, I believe more regulation on the timing of campaigns would help both politicians and voters. If the Federal Election Commission found a proper and equal amount of time to allocate to each political party, we wouldn’t be bombarded by campaign advertisements months before election days. Americans wouldn’t be numb to all the campaign promises or surrounded by a blur of name recognition that can make some prospective voters apathetic and cause them to refuse to vote.
It would be nice if politicians and advertisers in the U.S. would only spend a few weeks before each election promoting themselves and their candidates. Hopefully a new form of regulation will be put into place before every day of every year is another day on the campaign trail.

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