It’s a Long Way to November—Too Long
Gilbert N. Kahn is a professor of Political Science at Kean University.
Campaign 2012 has come so far, but it still has so far to go. Hard as it may be to believe now that the Republican nominating slugfest is over, there are still four months before Mitt Romney accepts the nomination in Tampa. Then it is more than two more months until Election Day. The thought alone is exhausting.
The amount of copy that will pour out of journalists and bloggers machines over this period is totally insane. Talking heads will fill the airwaves with more dribble than usual because on most days there truly will not be any political news. They and the American public will dissect and parse every word uttered and every action taken by Obama and Romney and their surrogates until everyone will be so bored they will have to vote to end this ridiculously elongated campaign “season”.
To say that the system needs reform is stating the obvious. There is a preposterous, potential $2 billion price tag already being attached to this year’s campaign, suggesting that the campaigns and the superPACS will be able to keep the creative geniuses in advertising employed; the television ads plentiful to fill the stations’ coffers; and most of the public learning to make maximum use of their TIVO machines.
Obama will spend the time governing, controlling the news cycle, and fund-raising. Romney will make news by attacking the President’s governing, attempting to invade his command of the news, and fund-raising. (Romney also will need to select his running mate, but how many days or weeks can that story keep the American people curious.) All of this effort will be done between now and the end of the conventions by which time most political scientists agree almost 90% of the American people will have decided for whom to vote.
The American people should hope that there are lots of funny bloopers to emerge from one or the other campaigns and that the late –night talk show hosts have some good material to keep the public focused on the election. The only other hope is that the NBA and the NHL playoffs are long enough and exciting enough that they will drag along until the baseball season really gets going in the summer. Otherwise, there may be many Americans considering going on a long fishing trip.