Home » After Watching Hundreds of Campaign Ads, I Agree That Our Election System Needs Reform, but Not Our Voting System

After Watching Hundreds of Campaign Ads, I Agree That Our Election System Needs Reform, but Not Our Voting System

Courtesy of Elvert Barnes (Flickr CC0)

Months, and months, and months of television ads. Billions of dollars are spent with the intent of obtaining public service jobs, which are not that different from the position of a janitor in a federal building. Never-ending lies demeaning good and patriotic Americans in efforts to elect the least qualified candidates in history. This is what composes America’s “campaign season.”

I despise these ads and consider them an attack on my intelligence more demeaning than “The Housewives of ‘whatever,’” “The Bachelor,” “The Bachelorette,” and other “reality” shows.

America is the only democratic nation with a campaign season that never ends and costs more than some nations’ annual budgets. In 2020, the cost of our presidential election was estimated at $5,163,276,829. In that same year, congressional elections cost approximately $5,674,950,826. The campaign season lasted nearly 24 months.

  • In France, campaigning prior to the first round of voting can last no longer than two weeks.
  • In Canada, the minimum length for a campaign is 36 days, but the longest ever was 74 days in 1926.
  • In Australia, the campaign must be at least 33 days, and the longest ever was 11 weeks in 1910.
  • In the UK, campaigning tends to last between five to six weeks.
Courtesy of yorkd (Flickr CC0)

The question becomes, “Why is ours so lengthy and so costly?”

The answers to both are simple, revelations of how corrupt and incompetent our election system is, and how unfit most of the candidates offered to the voting public have become.

They last a long time because one entire party’s tactics are based on fear and personal attacks. They cannot run on the issues, so they spend months attempting to “dig up dirt on their opponents,” and it doesn’t matter if there is an iota of proof in their allegations. If campaigns were forced to be about the issues, one month would be long enough to convince voters which candidates deserve their valuable votes.

The cost is related first to the length, and second to the fact that most uninformed American voters cast their ballots based on what they see and hear on television. It’s called “the boob tube” for a reason.

The truth is that anytime you see multiple ads on television, someone is trying to convince you that their product is worth your effort, your money, or your priceless vote. How many “Medicare Part ‘C’” commercials have you seen? A little research reveals one fact, “Medicare Advantage” is not run by Medicare, it is operated by our largest insurance companies. Always follow the money.

In the case of politics, I have never paid any attention to negative ads. They are always paid for by desperate men and women who are incapable of running on their records. They usually spend the most money because they are supported by billionaires.

I would like to see many laws passed to repair what is deeply wrong in American politics. The problem is that only congress can pass those laws, and it is the biggest “good old boys club” in the world. They will never change anything beneficial to themselves. This is the ultimate form of corruption and proof that they no longer serve the people, they serve themselves and plutocrats.

Change is desperately needed, but change is unlikely to come. America has become a business, not a country.

By James Turnage, Novelist


The Conversation: Americans are already exhausted with the 2020 election, and it’s just getting started. Other countries have laws limiting the length of campaigns.

Business Insider: The scale of US election spending explained in five graphs

Top and Featured Image Courtesy of Elvert Barnes‘ Flickr Page – Creative Commons License

Inset Image Courtesy of yorkd’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License

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