If you thought wrapping up midterm elections earlier this month would give you some respite from national politics, think again. Election 2024 is already making headlines, and Boston.com readers are sick of the horse race.
Former president Donald Trump announced his bid for the presidency on Nov. 15, 721 days before the actual election day. His announcement follows a trend of longer campaign cycles in the U.S. — a stark difference from home how elections are run in Europe and elsewhere in North America, where it’s not uncommon for elections to have time limits by legislation.
We asked Boston.com readers if they were fed up with the endless campaigning from politicians, and the answer was a resounding yes. Of the 339 readers who responded to our survey, 97% said they’re tired of the long election cycles and 92% said the country should consider laws to limit the length of campaigns.
“It burns those interested out because we have actual jobs and responsibilities,” Damien from Taunton said. “It will burn out anyone who needs to focus on anything else because frankly, politics is not fun for us with the endless badgering for money and votes. Even when your politics are winning there just needs to be a break. Isn’t that what vacations are for?”
This concern about political burnout among the electorate isn’t unfounded, particularly when it comes to the amount of election news voters are consuming. Two-thirds of Americans say they’re overwhelmed by the news and this is especially true of Republican-leaning Americas, according to Pew Research Center.
For these reasons, many readers say they support caps and other restrictions on electioneering.
“Current political campaigns are carried out much too long. There should be a time limit established for each election, maybe 90 to 120 days for candidates to campaign for office. This should force candidates to get their message out in an efficient manner, maybe encouraging more meaningful debates and [resulting] in less wasteful campaign spending,” M Koziol from Cranston, R.I. shared. “Shorter campaign periods should allow for current officeholders to spend more time doing the job they were originally elected to do instead of campaigning half their term for re-election.”
Below you will find a sampling of responses from readers sharing their thoughts on the length of political campaigns in this country and why they do or don’t, support passing laws to do something about it.
Responses have been lightly edited for length and clarity.
Are you tired of really long election seasons?
‘It is preventing actual legislation and governing from happening’
“The constant campaigning keeps our elected officials from doing what they were sent there for — working for us. At least that is what is supposed to be happening. It also feels like money grabbing after a while. We need a break.” — Jocie, Westport
“This never-ending campaign cycle is out of control. They are never doing the people’s work because they are always running for re-election. Other countries have strict laws about the amount of time (and money) that can be put into elections and we should have the same. Beyond that, we should also develop truth in advertising laws for the election cycle so people aren’t hit up with insane innuendo and accusations that are beyond any realm of truth.” — Chris C., Methuen
“We are in a constant campaign cycle and it is preventing actual legislation and governing from happening. Parties can’t work with each other to get stuff done because they have to constantly please their base and even being seen shaking an opposition hand is the death knell. We [hadn’t] even finished counting all of the votes in the 2022 midterm, the 2023/4 congress hasn’t even been sat, and we are already running for the next election. It is ridiculous. Follow the Canadian and UK models where campaign season is legislatively limited.” — Ashley S., Kenmore Square
‘It is a waste of insane amounts of money’
“The length is out of control but what is even more out of control is the amount of money that candidates spend on these campaigns. That is a MAJOR ISSUE. This money could be used to better the country instead billions are wasted away on 2+ year campaigns.” — Brad, Medford
“Not only is it exhausting for voters but when exactly do our elected politicians find the time to do the job they were elected for when they spend the majority of time campaigning? Not to mention it is a waste of insane amounts of money. Simply put, the whole process is ridiculous.” — RHS, West Roxbury
“The vast majority of other countries have caps on the length of time candidates are allowed to campaign. The fact that the U.S. has no limits allows for more influence from super PACs/lobbyists and makes races less about the issues and more about who can out-spend the other and who has donors with the deepest pockets. Presidential candidates also get Secret Service protection and having longer campaigns means more of a drain on taxpayer money.
“The constant campaigning makes it impossible for the government to get anything done because elected officials feel the need to constantly grandstand and mudsling for soundbites instead of doing any of the work we elected them to do. We’re all burnt out from the fighting and the constant election noise. The U.S. should absolutely pass laws limiting the length of a campaign.” — Gina, Jamaica Plain
“We need to take a page out of Europe’s book. There should be a very brief window for campaigning. The time (and money!!) that gets spent on political campaigns has phased out the ability for a normal person to run for office. Until we can get money out of politics, we are doomed to this near-constant barrage of a heightened political atmosphere. We all need breaks and politicians should be spending time doing their jobs, not campaigning for re-election a year or two out from the end of their term.” — Mike, Sterling
‘Laws limiting campaign length would be Orwellian’
“Free speech. Let ‘em speak.” — Bob, Milton
“There should not be laws determining the length of campaigns as that would be limiting political speech. However, more than two years is ridiculous. By the time voting starts, people are so fatigued from being bombarded by campaign ads.” — Linda G., Charlestown
“The social media algorithms and party-line cable stations push echo-chamber narratives to keep users glued to their content. This drives revenue for media companies. It’s not that political campaigns are any longer than they used to be. There’s just more social engineering involved today to grab your eyes and clicks. Understanding we’re being marketed to adds perspective to tune it out when it gets consuming.” — Dan P, Westborough
“Laws limiting campaign length would be Orwellian. Perhaps try one six-year term for President and you can come back later for another six-year term, but not two in a row. Same for Congress.” — JK, Middleton
Boston.com occasionally interacts with readers by conducting informal polls and surveys. These results should be read as an unscientific gauge of readers’ opinion.