The presidential campaign season is already way too long and it is only the beginning of the summer of 2007.
Debates have come and gone and more are scheduled in the fall. The candidates are busy running around the numerous early primary and caucus states often just missing each other as they take off from yet another airport to another campaign destination.
Looking at our political system from another planet or from abroad people would have to think we are a bit strange on how we go about electing our future president.
The primaries and caucus system is out of control. Originally set up as a way to circumvent the old party leaders and give the ordinary citizen and party faithful a vote on who will lead us it has really degenerated into a complicated, haphazard and confusing system.
Just as the American voter prepares for the 2008 presidential contest next January the contest will be entering the final innings. And, by February we will most likely know the two major party candidates for president -- the earliest they have been chosen in our history.
So, the primary and caucus system which was originally intended to involve all citizens is now the property of the party activists and the single issue voter.
We have lost the opportunity to allow everyone to view the candidates from January through June--mistakes, fumbles and all. By having everyone voting so early we most likely will end up with another flawed candidate which could turn into another flawed presidency.
Why do we need to know our Democratic and Republican nominees in the middle of next winter? We will certainly be tired of both of them by early April 2008.
And, then the second phase of the presidential campaign will begin in earnest. New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg will likely announce as an Independent Party candidate with lots of money to spend on his campaign from his personal wealth.
Then, other potential candidates such as Al Gore will see that the public is not particularly satisfied with the two candidates who have emerged victorious in the primaries and they might enter the race.
So, just because the primaries and caucuses are over so soon before your average voter has even tuned into the presidential selection process the campaign will pick up again in April of next year as the new players enter the contest.
If the parties tried to find the worst system possible for choosing a president they would be hard pressed to top this ridiculous condensed and compressed schedule of primaries and caucuses that will take place in the first two months of 2008.
While most sane people are watching baseball and taking vacations this summer, the candidates will be crisscrossing the country looking for votes. This is a crazy and way too lengthy system that is completely flawed and gives us flawed candidates. The American voter deserves better.
On that note, I am taking a break from the American presidential race and going to Bologna, Italy for several weeks to teach a graduate course on United States foreign policy towards Europe.
If our political system seems incomprehensible to foreigners I am certain the Italian system where governments last an average of 9 months in power and fall on a regular basis will seem strange to me.
Hopefully, other voters will relax a bit this summer and tune in again in the fall for the too long presidential campaign. Ask yourself what is so important that our parties have to choose our presidential nominees before the snow melts. The nominating system needs to be fixed as it is totally out of control. It is not a good way to choose our next presidential nominees in these chaotic days with wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the war on terror.
Finally, while we are going about changing our primary and caucus system my vote is for beginning with the first primary in Hawaii. Just a suggestion. Ciao.