An “Extra Long” Campaign…”

Okay–I am seriously considering a move to Canada.

A good friend who recently vacationed in Vancouver thoughtfully brought me a copy of the Vancouver Sun. The paper was thick with news and commentary, making me nostalgic for the days when we, too, had a real newspaper, but that wasn’t the reason for the gift.

The reason was the headline–first page, above the fold: “Long campaign officially on.”

Long, in Canada, is eleven weeks. Actually, that is “extra long”–an opinion piece in the same paper was titled “Harper bets extra-long campaign will favor Tories.” A few lines are illuminating:

With the longest federal election campaign in our modern history now grinding into motion, despite the electorate being mostly still in flip-flop and barbecue mode…

Harper’s decision to opt for more than twice the minimum 37-day length for a campaign held hints for what’s ahead….

Saturation media, especially web video, de facto makes this more a popularity contest than any previous election in our history…

Contrast that to the nonstop coverage of an American election that is fourteen months away. Here in the US of A, we are already being “saturated” with reports from the Iowa State Fair and the results of New Hampshire polls; partisans are already training their guns on opponents and digging for scandals. Obscenely rich power brokers are launching SuperPacs and spending unthinkable amounts of money to elect people who will preserve their government subsidies and tax loopholes.

And unless we can crawl into a cave somewhere, we won’t be able to escape any of it.

It is highly unlikely that the additional year of campaigning will make us a more deliberate or informed electorate than Canada’s. It’s more likely to make us crazier.

Canada has universal healthcare, great public transportation and short election campaigns. Sounds like heaven to me…


  1. A lot of us agree with you!!
    I don’t know enough about Canadian history to understand how we became the crazy southern neighbor, but they seem to be more level headed – except for the damn tar sands debacle.

  2. Sheila; I loved Toronto when I vacationed there in the mid-1970’s. A cosmopolitan city with friendly people and clean streets; police visible but I saw nothing for them to pull their guns (did they carry guns?) to resolve the few minor situations quickly before asking “what’s happenin’?” Total strangers shared tables in crowded restaurants and outdoor cafes, foreigners and foreign languages abounded with no suspicious looks or insults – or unholstered weapons. Dreams of the U.S. ever reaching this level of peaceful existence never entered my mind; I never lost sight of what awaited me back here in Indianapolis. Vacations always come to an end.

    My fear about the current presidential election campaign is that the intelligent, thinking Americans who or aware of what is actually going on in this country, will lose their momentum long before November 2016. Exuberance is exhausting and sometimes wears itself out before action is needed. Headlines about questionable behavior and repeated insults of entire groups of people however, always has an audience. The more bizarre the behavior,the bigger the headlines and the more often they are repeated and passed on. Trump’s money, and he and his co-applicants for the presidential nomination, can outlast common sense and returning to civic, civil and humane behavior which is disappearing from our horizon. Perhaps we need to continue and escalate our struggle to end Citizens United – legally – and seriously consider also setting a time limit on election campaigns, not only for the presidency. Member of Congress, when not in session, should be working with and for their constituents rather than always on the campaign trail.

    After switching channels again this morning to escape news of Trump’s public airing of his egomania and the public murders of TV newscasters and more local murders, I had a thought that if the public elects “The Donald” ( and that is strong possibility at this point), I will consider myself living in the United States but question proudly calling myself an American. Congress has been bought on the open market by the 1% (think slave auctions in earlier centuries with the current poor and middle class as the slaves); enabling the likes of Trump leading the parade of clowns to the White House. He is simply a louder, more repulsive replacement for Romney and his money from 2012.

  3. Campaign donations: Tax deductible.

    Campaign expenditures: Tax deductible.

    Every little peon who serves the meals or carries the bags: Tax at highest bracket.

    Follow the money.

  4. I, too, have heard about Canada’s election cycle. Great Britain’s election cycle is also short and financially limited. Messages would have to be short and to the point and wouldn’t go on for months. Sounds wonderful to me!

  5. I’m with you Sheila. Moving to Canada sounds like a great move.

    Here is a thought (dream): If all of the poor, former middle class and current middle class left our country – the 1% would be in quite a mess.

  6. Earl; copying directly from the bottom of a DNC campaign donation form – verbatim, quotatum and punctuatum – “Contributions or gifts to the Democratic National Committee are not deductible as charitable contributions for federal income tax purposes.”

    Exactly when and where are campaign donations tax deductible?

  7. Federal law says nothing about campaign length. It’s a gift here from media. It’s an arms race. One must outspend on media and out BS your competition to win. No matter what they spend.

    Businesses that make stuff make to demand. The entertainment business creates demand. It is advertising for itself.

    So, our Presidential elections are no longer a political process they are a business process. Pure and simple.

    Two years of campaigning are not what the electorate needs but what media needs. Even oligarchs would prefer the arms race to end but media says no.

    Therefore among the biggest benefactors of long election cycles? Roger Ailes, spawn of Lee Atwater and Karl Rove and President of Fox News.

    As Earl says, follow the money.

  8. And as the climate heats up, north is the direction to go. Lots of space, sane people should make émigrés of most of us, now that the term “land of the free” is somewhere between a travesty and a perverse disaster with special privilege for plutocrats.

  9. Most Western democracies have short election cycles.

    Good point about the Sun vs. the Star, though: ever since the decision to have USA Today handle anything that occurs beyond our state line, our paper has become a grotesque version of a small-town weekly, where the most momentous world event is ignored in favor of a multi-part series on Hoosier high-fence hunting.

  10. Wife and I were talking about Mr. Trump this morning, and the thought occurred to me that not ONE vote has been cast for any candidate in either party. Meanwhile, Mr. Trump is “winning”?

  11. Campaign contributions are no longer tax deductible on state taxes either. Formerly, contributions up to – can’t remember – either $100 or $200 were deductible. I wish that were still the case to incent more contributions from average-income folks.

    I also wish we still had federal check-off for publicly financed campaigns and that every federal candidate had to use these funds for campaigns AND in exchange to reasonable spending limits. The Supreme Court doesn’t like spending limits, but campaign finance is out of control. Candidates in both parties detest the constant begging for money and the implications that carries. It’s hard to understand why both parties don’t get together to pass legislation ending this nightmare.

  12. JoAnn, Karl Rove and Dick Armey’s organizations are 501(c)(4)’s–non-profits who ‘educate’ the public. Contributions to them are completely deductible. And until the IRS grows a pair, this will continue.

  13. girl cousin; I responded to Mr. Kennedy’s comment that campaign donations are tax deductible. Tax free non-profit organizations are a different matter with countless bogus rip-offs that need to be stopped, not only regarding political issues. Karl Rove appears to be unstoppable and indestructible; surviving the political world since the Nixon days. The IRS seems to single out the “little guys” to rip off and leaves the “big boys” of the 1% free to rule. Just as J. Edgar seemed to have no president or their administration with “a pair” big enough to stop him. We had to wait till he died.

  14. Earl’s advice, follow the money, usually boils down to businesses one rule, make more money regardless of the cost to others.

  15. Oh wait a minute , the Prime Minster Harper does not believe in climate change and is against the iran agreement. Not so fast not so fast.

  16. Contributions to 501(c)4 non-profits aren’t tax deductible. Only 501(c)3, charitable non-profits, enjoy that benefit. The other designations just don’t pay taxes.

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