Thank Goodness for Protracted US Elections

American politics has often been criticized for the length of its presidential campaigns. Today a serious bid for the White House can last up two or so years before the election. In parliamentary nations, on the other hand, a contest usually goes on for less than three months. Furthermore, the amount of money to sustain such lengthy battles in the US, enable a candidate to continue through dozens of primaries and make an all-out final sprint to voting day, involves staggering amounts of money. But, for all of its faults, there is one important upside to these stretched-out affairs – the candidate’s character and flaws eventually come through to the public over the period.

This has been especially evident in the Hillary-Clinton versus Donald Trump showdown. Clinton has been on the political playing field for almost forty years, and so is well-known for her personality, her views, her past controversies and her campaign abilities. However in the case of Donald Trump, a newcomer to American politics, the man’s misogamy, racism, support of violence, narcissism, and mendacity all have became exposed through daily media coverage, debates, the rise of his supporters like White Supremacists and other fringe groups, the reports of his own bankruptcies and failure to pay bills, his own fabricated claims and dishonest attacks on opponents and serial lies.

But Trump, even with these drawbacks, still was able to win the Republican nomination. However, the final three months of the presidential race allowed even more damaging information to be disclosed about him, tawdry stories which his Republican foes had never bothered to dig up about him or to address in the primaries. For it is in these final 12 weeks that the news finally broke about his almost $1 billion write-off in his tax returns and about the release of Access Hollywood tape regarding his admission that he sexually abused women. If the campaign had been a matter of three months, Donald Trump might still have a serious chance to win the election – but it wasn’t. In the modern-day American tradition, it has lasted for at least twenty-four months!

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