With the 2012 campaign season in full swing, the incessant attack ads about the drawn-out election cycle are picking up. I’m left with one revelation: I’m 18 and have never voted, yet I’m already disenchanted with our political process.
I’m already tired of the endless campaigns focused on personal affairs rather than substantial issues.
Shorter election cycles would be a great first step toward making the process better. While an argument can be made that longer election cycles allow voters to familiarize themselves with the candidates, the truth is that the issues are passed over for personal issues and other sensational stories. This extra campaign time merely leads to distractions from the electoral process.
As an added benefit, some of the less “presidential” candidates (ie. candidates like Bachmann, Cain, Santorum … wait, he’s still running, isn’t he?) would not have the chance to grab the spotlight and focus on their personal agendas rather than what is most important to the nation as a whole.
Also, with shorter election cycles, perhaps the primaries would not be staggered as to give certain states like Iowa and New Hampshire far more influence than they would normally have.
Money’s influence is deeply ingrained in our election process. It might be the most frightening element of modern politics. The ability of large corporations and wealthy individuals to throw their weight behind candidates leads to a conflict of interest. Are the candidates running for the people or are they running to pay back and aid those who helped them get where they are?
Money creates an unfair playing field for smaller, third party candidates, whose views often change the political paradigm even if they will never be elected. The increasing influence of money in politics is lessening the influence of the common people and hurting our democracy.
Paul Levy is a freshman majoring in physics.