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…