Stop the perpetual campaigning

City elections are over, the votes are counted, and all that is left is for the county to count provisional ballots and certify the results. Very quickly, city government will roll along like usual. It would be nice to take a break before the next political campaign season begins. Unfortunately, it’s too late for that. Politicians are already out campaigning for the August primary.

In particular, the Republican primary campaign for state insurance commissioner seems to be in full swing. At a legislative coffee to start March, candidate Clark Shultz garnered state Rep. John Barker’s endorsement for the primary. And a week ago, Ken Selzer made rounds at least in Marion, stumping for votes and visiting the newspaper.

Candidates for governor have been campaigning for even longer, and presidential races are scarcely settled before the next campaign begins. Representatives have it the worst, being up for election every two years. Federal representatives campaign practically perpetually.

It’s exhausting, and I’m not even the one campaigning. I don’t know how career politicians do it.

The constant campaigning — combined with a mindset among some at the state and federal levels that winning is more important than governing — leads to entirely too many deadlocks where politicians put looking good for their “base” ahead of the public good.

Then there is the constant fundraising to go along with the constant campaigning. Any non-local campaign can get expensive quickly. A candidate’s campaign treasury is often a good measure of their chance to win. Thus, people who are happy to limit their political activities to voting get bombarded with fundraising pitches.

All of this feels like a problem, but no attractive solutions come to mind. Some countries limit campaigning to a certain amount of time before an election, but that seems un-American, and the Supreme Court has already decided that money is the same thing as speech.

So until a better solution can be found, my recommendation is to tune out what you can, and be careful whose mailing and phone lists you end up on.

— ADAM STEWART

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