Christmas Elections Gets Earlier and Earlier

From The Atlantic:

Christmas, it seems, starts earlier and earlier every year, and so do quadrennial presidential elections. “When my father first ran for president in ’92,” Chelsea Clinton said Saturday at an event in Arizona, “campaigns were only 13 months, instead of three and a half years, as they seem to be now.”

The father in question has voiced similar complaints. “I think it’s a big mistake; this constant four-year, peripatetic campaign is not good for America. We need to deal with the business we have before us,” Bill Clinton told CNN in December.

Of course, neither Clinton is a particularly reliable narrator here, because it’s the third member of the Clinton clan who is responsible for much of the ink that has been spilled about an election still more than two and a half years away.

Yet according to a National Journal analysis of media coverage, the Clintons are not wrong. The 2016 presidential race has received more attention earlier than any other in recent memory, quickening a tendency that began some 30 years ago.

“It’s a trend that goes back to at least the 1980s and 1990s when candidates began, especially in open races, formally announcing their presidential campaigns about a year and a half before the elections,” says Allan Lichtman, a political historian at American University. “But we have seen some acceleration.”…

Add it all up from the month before the preceding presidential election through March of the midterm year (the same point we’re at now), and the 2016 presidential race made it on the air almost twice as frequently as the 2008 race, and nearly eight times as often as the 2000 race. (To be fair, cable news was still relatively young in 2000.)

About Scot McKnight

Scot McKnight is a recognized authority on the New Testament, early Christianity, and the historical Jesus. McKnight, author of more than forty books, is the Professor of New Testament at Northern Seminary in Lombard, IL.


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