Should we limit the time allowed for campaigning?

numbersjunkie

Saw this post on another thread, and thought it deserved its own discussion. My initial thought was "How much time/money is our nation spending on campaign rhetoric?" If anyone knows, please enlighten us. Then maybe we can figure out a better use for the time and money.....


chisue

How many ills would be ended if we enacted laws limiting campaigning to a few months?

Information is disseminated instantly today. We do not need years for a Pony Express to get 'the word' to far flung voters. We only need enough time for presentations and challenges to rise to the fore and be debated *within a limited timeframe*.

Almost anyone could afford to run for almost any office.

How long is 'long enough', in your opinion? I'm thinking six months.

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dockside_gw

Yes, and while we limit the time for campaigns, we need to limit the amount of money donated to finance them from everyone.

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writersblock (9b/10a)(9b/10a)

Yes, absolutely we should. I would say 4 months rather than 6, since that's about what it used to be before open primaries came in. And less for state and local. In most places in Europe they manage with 6 weeks, maybe as much as 13, but no more.


ETA And of course limit financing, as dockside said.

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MissMyGardens

dockside_gw "Yes, and while we limit the time for campaigns, we need to limit the amount of money donated to finance them from everyone."

Yes, yes, a thousand times yes. 6-9 months before election day is more than enough.

Campaigns never stop anymore and it's ridiculous. It's become a sick game.

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tryingtounderstand

It seems like politicians are always campaigning. When do they have time to focus on the jobs, they were elected to do?

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numbersjunkie

Totally agree about the need for campaign funding reforms as well as time limits. Fortunately that seems to be gaining steam.

I also dislike how there is no requirement that those running for office are not required to put forth any formal platform. I think there should be a requirement to submit a formal position paper (with footnotes to support any "fact" claims) and ideas for how you plan to accomplish what you are proposing. There should be a requirement to address certain issues, perhaps the voters could vote on the issues to be required.

Right now, its all just BS. Bad mouth your opponent or prior administrations. Talk about all the "bad" things you will fix (but never say how). Not only do we spend too much time/money on campaigning, it yields very little useful information. This would require candidates to demonstrate that they are knowledgeable about the issues and the economics of your proposals. It would provide the legislative branch a blueprint for drafting future legislation if elected. Spend your money preparing this position paper and not on grandstanding which is of no value to the nation.

I'm angry that Trump has essentially been campaigning since the day he took office, and there is no doubt that the american taxpayer is footing the bill for it. Not to mention that all the campaigning takes away from the time required to do the hard work of actually being President.

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soupgirl53

Agreed 100% with this and would like to see limitations on amount of time a candidate may campaign for office and how much money a candidate can spend on a campaign, with the federal government providing that amount to each candidate who meets the qualifications for the federal funds.

It would also be good to have dollar limitations on how much individuals and corporations may contribute to candidates instead of what we have right now, the more money you have, the more speech you have.

I'd love to eliminate the PACs and lobbyists too.

I think this would be beneficial to both political parties because what we have right now is candidates running for office over a year in advance of the election. that's absurd and with candidates running for over under so much pressure over an extended amount of time, it's no wonder so many of them have speaking gaffes.

For this, I blame the televlsion networks who begin their election coverage way too early, no doubt for ratings.



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sunflower_petal(5a)

Yes, limit the time and money!

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nopartyghost

Yes. If a candidate can't articulate a plan, a goal, a destination in 6 months, the individual isn't qualified. They should also have to divulge tax returns, financial records for any business they are involved in & have a blind trust for their assets set up, on the day they file or declare their candidacy.

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tony jelly

How do other countries do it, perhaps we could learn from them. The Brits and Canadians do it differently, why in Venezuela some guy stands up in the crowd and declares himself leader and gets immediate backing from Trump and most other Capitalists countries.

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artemis_ma

I'd be in favor, because I really get tired of it... but for the niggling thought of "what, exactly, is campaigning"? Simply by acting in the roles they've already been elected to (in those cases of those who have been elected), that's in some sense a campaign statement.


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soupgirl53

I believe the British have some rules when its comes to running for seats in the Parliament. Perhaps someone familiar with British elections will provide a description of the election rules that apply. I'd be willing to try something new, even if we find it doesn't work and have to revert back to the current system.

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numbersjunkie

artemis,

Trumps rally's definitely qualify as campaigning! I think Town Halls are OK as long as the people control the discussion. But I can see a fine line in some cases!

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artemis_ma

Thanks, soupgirl53, I'd like to know more about that.

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chisue

Thanks for lifting my post. Happy to see such support here!

We've already had the 'limit contributions' fight and lost it. For some ridiculous reason (revolving around the letter of the law rather than the *intent*), the Supreme Court thought it was only fair to allow anyone or any group of people the right to contribute unlimited amounts to campaigns.

Who would NOT like this reform, aside from the people currently BUYING Congress? Everyone who feeds off campaign dollars (advertising, PR firms, makers of campaign literature, etc.) AND...the media, who are desperate to fill 24 hours a day with controversy to be briefly reported, then chewed over endlessly. Why, Hot Topics might suffer from want of 'news' upon which to comment!

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artemis_ma

Chisue: Why, Hot Topics might suffer from want of 'news' upon which to comment!

Um, we should be so lucky.... (dodging...)

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arthurm2015(Micro-Climate, Zone 10b Sydney, Australia)

USA = Political Junkees Heaven. For non political junkees something else.

About 60 years ago I remember standing on a street corner watching and listening a future Prime Minister hold court, he was supporting the local member.

Anyway, I recall reading somewhere that the USA process to elect a President is "very democratic".

We do not get to decide who will be the chief honcho ( The prime minister)

but at least we get a professional politician.

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Fárbauti

No, I don't think we should limit freedom of speech. One is free to tune out anything they do not wish to listen to.

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numbersjunkie

No, I don't think we should limit freedom of speech. One is free to tune out anything they do not wish to listen to.

This is true.

But I don't agree that taxpayers should be paying for it, either in hard dollars (travel, security, etc) or soft dollars (time not spent doing the job they were elected to do). And the Citizens United decision does present a problem. Sometimes it takes public sentiment to drive real change. And I think that many Democratic candidates are on the right track by refusing to accept money from PACS. We can't outlaw it, but we can make it unacceptable.

I think the press has a big role to pay here too. They should just stop covering things that really aren't news. And be more forceful about calling out lies and presenting data to refute the lies.

Maybe we need to legislate better ethics rules for politicians. Like, how about a rule that says you can impeach someone who repeatedly lies or makes misleading statements to the public? There should be consequences for bad behavior.

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arthurm2015(Micro-Climate, Zone 10b Sydney, Australia)

A question. How come one guy (the president) has so much power?

The System here is Westminister modified. The election of the senate coincides with the lower house, but senators serve two terms so that only half of them retire at general election time.

I believe the American System was set up with more staggered elections to ensure stability.

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MissMyGardens

At the very least we have the right to know everyone who makes a contribution to any campaign, PAC, lobbyist, etc. The FEC reports are peanuts compared to the "dark money" that makes its way in behind the scenes. We have a right to know who is spreading ideas, conspiracies or anything else related to our electoral process. We may not be able to control the amounts but we have a right for transparency sake to know from whom huge sums of money are coming.

Money equaling freedom of speech is debatable...questionable. Do those who have more money get more free speech? Are those with less money entitled to less free speech. That concept of money equaling freedom of speech is a perversion of our system.

As far as I'm concerned corporations are NOT people and hopefully some future Supreme Court will act on that after it makes its way through the courts again. Unions actually represent live breathing, speaking people whose money can be pooled for their interests...but only if they opt in to that arrangement. Corporations don't represent the interests of their employees but are answerable to their shareholders. A question on the annual proxy might be included that supports or declines to support political/issue political campaign funding.

Is there something unconstitutional about complete transparency of all political and issue ads? Is there some good reason to have the heaviest hitters hide behind various sections of the IRC just to keep their contributions and influence secret?

Not a question of listening to it or tuning it out...question of opacity in who's controlling "the airwaves" and every other form of public advocacy involving politicians and elections.

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gyr_falcon(Sunset 23)

I have mixed feeling about the limits. The United States is much larger, both in size and population, than some of the comparison countries. It would be much easier if the candidates are running in a country the size of Texas, for example. Zig-zagging the U.S. is an exhaustive process just taking into account the travel time required.

Another consideration is it takes time for stuff to come out when candidates moves from the state-level consideration vs. the deeper scrutiny called for when trying to move to higher national office. News media cannot begin to dig deep enough through the potential number of candidates in all parties, in a 6-9 month period. There is a greater potential for missed misdeeds under those limitations. Or for false stories to have too much of an impact at crucial times right before the vote.

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floral_uk z.8/9 SW UK

Soupgirl53. Once a UK general election has been called parliament is dissolved and the candidates have 38 days to campaign before polling day. No campaigning is allowed on Polling Day itself. We elect our MPs, not a Prime Minister. The leader of winning party becomes PM. Thus it is impossible for someone who is not an elected MP to become PM. So, as In Australia, someone with no experience of government or politics cannot become the leader of the government.

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tony jelly

The alternative is the cult of personality, leaving us wide open to the situation we have now.

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soupgirl53

Floral, thanks for your post. I wish we could have shorter campaigns like you do!










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tryingtounderstand

“Campaigns never stop anymore and it's ridiculous. It's become a sick game.” Usa campaigns and elections are entertaining to watch and often described as akin to a sport. So a ‘game’ in a sense.

Canada, as with the USA, has a large territory to cover, longest campaign was 78 days,


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gyr_falcon(Sunset 23)

Canada, as with the USA, has a large territory to cover,

Notice I also said population, tryingtounderstand. Plus, the majority of Canada's population is concentrated into only a small portion of the overall territory. To compare campaigning in Canada to the US, it would be as if the US politician would need to visit only 4-5 states.

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numbersjunkie

Am I missing something? Why does a candidate need to physically visit every state in the country? This is the digital age. How many people actually go to see all of the candidates in person during the campaigns? How useful is the information that can be obtained in those events?

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numbersjunkie

To expand on my comment about this being the digital age, I just wish the content available was more than just sound bites and headlines, often with a clear bias. For all of the technology we have, it offers very little in terms of useful substance.


That's why I would like to see each candidate summit a position/white paper to kick off their campaign. The media should then develop a coverage strategy to disseminate that information and explore in more depth. This would be a very educational process if done properly without bias. The without bias part is problematic for sure, but we can dream. Maybe each candidate could update and expand their positions website during the campaign in response to media reports and voter feedback.


This is really similar to what the performance plan/review process is in the workplace.

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roxsol

Canada, as with the USA, has a large territory to cover,

90 percent of Canadians, live within 160 km. of the USA border. I’m not one of them.

The logistics of campaigning in USA compared to Canada are very different.

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gyr_falcon(Sunset 23)

They don't visit every state. What you are missing is the absurdity of outsized importance of Iowa (6 electoral votes), and other places that would seem, on paper, to be less important than they inexplicably have become, vs CA (55 EV) for example. CA, with many electoral votes barely gets a visit; Iowa gets swamped multiple times by every potential candidate, and the people there expect that level of attention. The whole system is Picasso-level skewed.

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dockside_gw

but at least we get a professional politician.

Huh? Did you forget about who is presently occupying the WH?

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gyr_falcon(Sunset 23)

dockside, I believe the professional politician comment was referring to Australia.

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Ziemia(6a)

A practical aspect is the set of laws regarding campaign financing. There could be limits to the "when" of campaign events that can be funded.

If a politician wants to have more appearances than would be allowed (if shorter seasons were to be legislated) then they could simply do the "speaking fees" route.

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chisue

LOCAL is entirely missing in Presidential elections. That's where you get this "zig-zagging across the country". Even that is not necessary when candidates can 'speak' to us on electronic media.

LOCAL is largely missing in local elections as well. I think part of that is that it takes too much money for an candidate you or I might actually *know* to run for any municipal, state, federal office. We're often voting for 'least worst' as best we can discover it -- or voting only party lines.

Gosh, wouldn't you love to stop hearing the same half-truths and attacks for YEARS? "Talk net," candidates. Lay out what you stand for. Do it in MONTHS, not years of responding to polling.


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