We have a completely un-American idea on how to get a handle on the length and intensity of political campaigns.
During the past month we’ve witnessed violence at dueling protests in Sierra Vista and a rash of candidate sign vandalism and theft. Republicans and Democrats alike have filed reports with the police and Sheriff about political signs being sliced and stolen, presumably by people opposed to the candidate being promoted.
Last month in Sierra Vista protestors on opposing corners at the intersection of State Routes 90 and 92 confronted each other, with one woman being sprayed in the face with a pepper substance after she stopped her car and traffic and taunted the protestors.
It’s been ugly, especially for a comparably small community where neighbors know each other and everyone shops at the same grocery stores.
Some of the intensity of these acts are driven by the campaigns that have dominated our televisions, our social media feeds, local billboards and every available public space where a political sign can be placed.
Eventually, the frenzy of this advertising will motivate some people to take their enthusiasm for a candidate, a political party, or another cause too far.
America should consider the rules that govern elections in the United Kingdom.
“Across the pond,” there are strict limits on how much money can be spent and how long campaigns can last.
The current contest between Democrat Joe Biden and Republican incumbent President Donald Trump has raised about $2.3 billion in campaign funding, with a few weeks left before Election Day. By the time the votes are tallied and the last of the donations are tabulated, we expect that total will top $2.5 billion.
In the United Kingdom, elections are held when Parliament is called on to form a new government. The date of the election is usually about six weeks from the formal announcement of a new government. Elections are paid for with public money, so campaign contributions from wealthy patrons or political committees don’t have any influence over which candidates get elected.
In 2019, the election of a new Parliament cost taxpayers about $61 million American dollars, or 41.6 million pounds.
Like Texas and many things American, we tend to go over the top on elections. Today we have a system that soaks up too much money, advertises only the negative about every candidate and serves to divide us to a point that we steal campaign signs and fight with each other on street corners.
If we want this ridiculous behavior to stop, we need to stop feeding “the beast.”
Political campaigns and the cost of getting elected are out of control in this country and need to be reigned in.
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