Campaigning versus the Beach
Gilbert N. Kahn is a professor of Political Science at Kean University.
The Memorial Day holiday weekend always heralds the official beginning of summer. By next summer the presidential campaign will be in full swing, but one senses already the boys and girls of summer are in gear. Especially among the Republicans there is so much action as more and more prospects drop their hats into the ring. In light of the Supreme Court’s decisions governing campaign finance laws, running for office can now focus on fewer, more generous donors. Once a clear foundation of financial support is achieved or personal expendable resources committed, anyone can decide to run.
Consider the fact that with almost 18 months left before Election Day 2016, the Republicans already have six announced candidates—Senators Cruz, Rubio, Paul, Governor Huckabee, Dr. Carson, and Ms. Fiorina– and seven–Governors Jindal, Christie, Walker, Bush, and Perry and Senators Graham, and Santorum–ready to jump in as well. All of this is without the looming candidacy of Donald Trump as well. For any reporter snooping around looking for political dirt this field is a virtual field day.
Among the Democrats it is all about Hillary. While Bernie Sanders may have announced and Mayor O’Malley and Senators Webb and Chaffee may be considering a run, many observers believe that they are really auditioning to be Clinton’s running mate. The fact is that the entire Clinton campaign is already so boring that the media is mining any and all side and even old stories involving Hillary’s personal e-mail account, the family’s misuse or abuse of their foundation, and her flubbing the entire Benghazi fiasco. Without in any way minimizing any of these issues, in the total picture of the 2016 election campaign the media and the public are screaming for equal time for investigating of Hillary versus the plethora of dirt presented by the large, growing array of Republican aspirants.
As a further footnote to all this craziness beginning so early, one needs to remember that Britain just conducted an election from beginning to end in two months and Israel did it in three months. In addition, both of them cost a tiny fraction of what the 2016 presidential sweepstakes are costing; and both of those countries have plenty of people able to throw around similar quantities of money should their electoral system have permitted it.
Finally, this elongated campaign season presents the possibility—definitely among Republicans—for others to still enter the campaign circus. There is time in the debates to increase recognition and to establish a ground game for a late arrival with resources to quickly gain traction. All of this suggests that getting to the beach early this year may be a good idea given what is yet to come.