Are you tired of the presidential campaign? Should you be tired?
To the casual observer, American presidential campaigns are excessively long. In some countries, national campaigns last no more than 30 days. But in America, they begin not with the 60 to 90 day, head-to-head race between the major party candidates after the national conventions, which campaigns for delegates in conventions, primaries and caucuses precede by many months, but they also include several years of serious exploratory efforts by prospective candidates to raise funds and to create campaign organizations.
Advances in technology and transportation along with front-loading of caucuses and primaries have combined to lengthen presidential campaigns. In anticipation of 2008, prospective candidates began to establish exploratory committees and to travel to key states in 2005.
Critics contend that elongated American presidential campaigns waste substantial sums of money on advertising, travel, media coverage and campaign staff. But these same lengthy campaigns also insure that the candidates face five vital tests.
- Test whether candidates have sufficient mental, emotional and physical capabilities and energies to survive the extraordinary rigors of four years in office.
- Test the ability of candidates to unify their parties after divisive primaries and caucuses.
- Test the public’s acceptance of the candidates’ issues and ideas.
- Test the administrative skill of candidates to organize personnel and to develop coherent policies.
- Test the ability of the front-runner to maintain his lead against the challenger.
So, these five tests make the presidential campaign the best test we have to determine if Senator McCain and Senator Obama have what it takes to lead the world’s oldest, largest, most prestigious, and most powerful democracy.
In short, a presidential campaign serves as a simulation of the presidency itself.