WUOMFM

Why is our election process so dang long?

Nov 8, 2016

 

Election Day marks the finish line of a grueling, fractious and long campaign.

It started with Ted Cruz announcing his candidacy in March 2015.

Twenty months later, many Americans are expressing their exhaustion with the process.

Many people are looking wistfully to other countries like Canada, the United Kingdom, Ireland and France, which elect their leaders in a few weeks and then move on.

Michigan State University associate professor of political science Matt Grossmann sat down with us today to talk about how the process for electing our president became so protracted.

According to Grossmann, the reason we have such long elections comes down to giving voters a say throughout more of the process.

In 1968, the Democratic Party heads nominated Hubert Humphrey to run for the presidency, “in a scene of protest outside and inside the convention hall,” he said.

“It led people to ask whether we could have a broader primary process where the voters could be brought in rather than the party bosses.”

He told us there are ups and downs to having such a long election season.

“The gain is, people do learn a lot of information,” Grossmann said.“They normally wouldn’t pay that much attention to politics, but campaigns put it right in front of them … so they learn more about the differences between the political parties, the issues that confront the country, even potential policy solutions.”

“The downside is we get annoyed with it and frustrated with it, and we tend to learn things we don’t like about the candidates more than things we do like about them.”

Listen to our conversation above for more.

(Subscribe to the Stateside podcast on iTunes, Google Play, or with this RSS link)