Labor Day: The Official Start Of The Campaign Season

moyers and coOnce upon a time, in a faraway land called America, Labor Day marked the start of the traditional start of campaign season. Selected by their respective parties’ summer nominating conventions, the presidential candidates would then barnstorm the country for three months — a reasonable time for the electorate to evaluate their personalities and platforms. And then it would be over, until about four years later.

It seems hard to imagine today. Hillary Clinton has been a declared candidate since March 2015. Donald Trump has been a declared candidate since June 2015, which actually made him one of the later entrants into the Republican field. And, of course, many candidates start running long before they make their intentions official.

In almost all other advanced democracies, the official campaign season is short — a few weeks, at most two months. Not here. Here we spend endless news cycles obsessing over every last thing our candidates say. And good luck trying to escape the advertisements. American politics, it is often remarked, has become a permanent campaign.

This has five harmful consequences for American democracy.

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