How presidential campaigns got so long

Until 1972, writes Larry Sabato in the Wall Street Journal, the first presidential primary came in March of election year, and candidates did not declare their candidacy until at least January of election year. Then long campaigns began, starting with Jimmy Carter in the 1976 cycle, and also the primary states began to vie with each other for which would be first. The result was that the campaigns began earlier and earlier, and went on longer and longer. In 2008 the Iowa primary came on January 3, the earliest ever. This year the GOP had put a more rational system in place in which the primaries would not start until February 6, but Florida selfishly threw that arrangement into chaos, and now the primaries could well start in December of 2011. Sabato says there is no way to fix the mess of the endless campaign short of legislation.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at October 11, 2011 10:33 AM | Send

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