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Sharp Left Ahead: Poor election process leads to fatigued politicians

This week, I was going to write about the primaries in Michigan and Arizona. But then I figured, if I’ve stopped caring about this primary season, then you know the season has gone far too long.

I remember hearing pundits and talk-show hosts discussing potential Republican candidates a year ago. That’s only halfway through Obama’s first term.

Heck, Sarah Palin packed a bus and started touring the nation and doing reality TV practically the day after McCain lost the ’08 election.

The same goes for Romney, but the difference is Romney just didn’t know what else to do with his beautiful face that screams “president of America” and vast amounts of money besides spend it all on a three-year presidential campaign.

Our election season has grown dreadfully and painfully long. There have been 26 televised debates since May 2011, and by the time we get into the general election, who knows how many more could rack up.

All of this campaigning only corrupts the system further with more and more money from donors and lobbyists of big corporations looking to influence our political discussion. It gets to a point where it’s not about the policy but, instead, all about insulting the other candidates.

I don’t particularly like Ron Paul’s policy, but I like that he is just out there with it, not trying to conform to the pressures of his party. Even some of my favorite congressmen, such as Barnie Frank and Ohio’s Dennis Kucinich, don’t seem very truthful with their statements.

It’s simply all about money in politics. Even if a politician wanted to, it seems impossible to get away from money’s grip over Congress.

And super PACs certainly don’t help that fight in the least. Who’s the wise guy that said, “I have an idea, we’ll put more money into politics and make sure no one can trace the origins of this money or how much money candidates are receiving”?

I think Republicans and Democrats alike can agree that the vast amount of money in politics is the greatest problem in our political system. Without a solution to this problem, little else can be done to help our other issues.

Super PACs could actually prove to be a good starting point to this debate. I think almost everyone can agree that super PACs have not been a positive thing for this election season, and maybe that discontent will start a debate about not only super PACs but also election reform across the board.

We could implement a system similar to other democracies around the world where they have a fixed time for the election season, usually eight to 12 weeks (half for the primary and half for the general election). Three months sounds much better than the years-long process we have here.

A fixed election time would also allow politicians actually to govern (the thing they were elected to do) instead of running a 24/7 re-election campaign.

The argument made is that politicians need this much money in campaign spending because it’s so long and expensive to travel to every state and to be in campaign mode for more than a year, so why not cut it down to just 12 weeks?

The only problem is convincing congressmen to give up all the money that they benefit from so greatly and convincing interest groups that love spending this money for political influence.

If we got serious about tackling election reform, our entire political values and focus could change for the better.

But even if we could begin the debate, it would likely end with watered-down legislation that only moderately helps the situation, if at all — kind of like the Obama presidency.

William Hoffman is a freshman studying journalism and political science and a columnist for The Post. Send him your solutions to the political problem at

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