Election overload: Time to go the British way?
“Enough already!” It’s the rally cry of voters across the country who’ve been pummeled by a presidential race 18 months in the making. And many are saying it’s time for a change.
“I have never, up until the past few weeks, heard so many people say ‘Why can’t we do it like England…they announce an election and six weeks later they vote,” former Reagan speechwriter, author and noted political columnist Peggy Noonan said on CBS’ Face the Nation.
Obviously, we’re not about to go to that extreme. But should the cycle be shortened? That was the debate Monday on Seattle’s Morning News.
“We’re Americans, we’re not Brits. I like the process because the candidates are battle tested,” says co-host Tom Tangney. “I know there’s a world weariness on the part of the voters, but I think in terms of the candidates, we get better candidates. And also having a longer campaign allows for not just the top dogs to run. Otherwise, we just have to go with the people we already know about.”
That brought us the likes of Herman Cain and Rick Perry, long forgotten former front runners in the early days of the primary campaign. But it also brought a nearly two year onslaught of electioneering and advertising that’s now totaled an estimated $2 billion to get Barack Obama and Mitt Romney to the finish line. Host John Curley argues the more they need, the more they have to sell their souls to the highest bidders.
“So the amount of money that needs to churn through this system to get your message out and the amount of money that is then put on the horse in the race I think has an effect upon the legislation that comes out of that horse that was in that race,” Curley says.
But Tangney argues while the British model might be shorter and less expensive, it’s naive to think money isn’t a major factor in the U.K.
“It comes in shorter and faster. It’s equally as corrupt.”