Presidential Campaigns Must Be Shorter


Kamala Harris, along with other presidential candidates, should reconsider starting their campaigns so far out from 2020. (Courtesy of Flickr)

By Ned Sheehan

These presidential campaigns get longer every time, I swear. In 2012, the campaign kicked off sometime in midsummer. In 2016, most of the candidates had entered by the beginning of May (although, interestingly enough, Donald Trump started his campaign in midsummer, the last to enter).

Now it’s January and close to half a dozen Democrats have entered or are making moves towards doing so. A child who hasn’t even been born yet will be walking and talking on Election Day 2020. However, we must still endure this insufferable nonsense.

If the current field of candidates was the extent of the Democratic bench, then we might as well just toss it to “The Donald.” Rep. John Delaney and Former HUD Secretary Julian Castro are nobodies. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard has little name recognition and has taken positions on gay rights beyond the pale to the Democratic base unless your name is Hillary Clinton. Sen. Cory Booker is an uninspiring orator with enough corporate ties to make Boss Tweed gag. The most impressive of the lot is Kamala Harris, but she has some real weaknesses.

First off, she was California’s Attorney General. That means every rival candidate (almost all of whom didn’t seem to care about police brutality until a couple years ago) can blame her for the actions of any psychotic, Alabama-imported cop, crooked DA and mismanaged prison from Bakersfield to Redding.

The fact is, as far as I can see it, there are four candidates with even the slightest prayer of winning this primary.

The first is Sen. Bernie Sanders, who has name recognition and a rabid core of support.

The second is Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who has most of Sanders’ strengths and few of his weaknesses, but will likely face fire from both the centrists and the outright socialists in the party.

The third is Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, who I think is a dark horse with the right flank of the party.

The fourth, and most horrifying of the lot, is a Hillary Clinton retirement tour.

Its fueled by spite, delusional self-regard, the same kind of insipid advisors who gave us her campaign debacles in 2008 and 2016 and a shrinking but still fanatically loyal base of personal support. Even contemplating such an idea is nightmarish on so many levels.

But what could better capture our nation’s late Soviet state of affairs than those two most doddering, senile old commissars, Clinton and Trump, taking one more tilt at each other for power?

Even though the real campaign hasn’t even started yet, the media profits off of cheap clicks and horse-race coverages, so here we all go. The campaign trail 2020 begins. I just feel beat about it all.

Is this the fate of great civilizations? Must all great republics devolve into sad, spectacle-leaden oligarchies?

I figured our boundless natural resources would give us the edge over the Dutch or Venetians, but here we are. And does my party, the party of William Jennings Bryan and FDR and JFK, the party that built an era of prosperity unprecedented in American History, have nothing better to offer than this mob of mendacious mediocrity (and Elizabeth Warren)?

Anyway, all I can do is implore you to ignore this most boring of reality shows until October. Don’t attend campaign events or click on articles about it.

When the news switches to the election, put something else on. I’m not saying you shouldn’t be politically engaged, but you definitely shouldn’t put all your money on the presidential horse race.

Maybe if we starve out the media circus, we can finally escape the mental smog of these increasingly endless elections. However, I know the world we live in, so I really think Logan Paul’s 2028 campaign is looking formidable.

Good luck to the candidates, and God help the rest of us.


Edward Sheehan, FCRH ’22, is a history major from Needham, Massachusetts.