Way back when, I thought I'd be more excited tonight, what with the Iowa caucuses finally kicking off voting that will culminate in November 2016 with a new president of the United States.
Problem is, it feels to me like the campaigning has already gone on forever, plus or minus a few eons.
I just looked at the online New York Times front page. With most of the Iowa voting counted, Ted Cruz appears headed to a narrow victory, as does Hillary Clinton.
Whoopee. That's my lack of enthusiasm talking. And I'm a political junkie.
There's something wrong about an election process that leaves people like me feeling burnt out as soon as the first actual flame has been lit on the primary campaign fire.
When I read that Bernie Sanders (I think it was) raised $20 million last month, I thought, "What a waste of money."
It isn't a waste because Sanders got the cash. It's wasteful because the whole U.S. election process stinks. Campaigns start way too early before the election. Way too much energy, money, and attention goes into the campaigning.
Sure, in the big economic scheme of things $20 million, or $200 million, or even $2 billion isn't a huge amount of money. But I keep thinking of much better ways to spend it.
In other countries an election to decide who gets to run things only takes a few months, or even less maybe. That sounds about right to me. Short and sweet. How many times do we need to hear candidates say the same things, over and over?
With the Super Bowl coming up, a football analogy is in order.
What if the pro football season lasted years, rather than months? What if most of the early games had essentially zero impact on who becomes the final champion? What if most of the sports talk revolved around what might happen during the extremely long season, rather than what actually has happened?
Then pro football would be as boring as the campaigning for president.
People have been obsessing over who is going to win in 2016 since 2014, if not earlier. It's well known that winning in Iowa, and even in New Hampshire, doesn't have a lot of predictive value for becoming president. Because of the drawn-out campaign process, where nothing much happens for a very long time, all pundits have to talk about is how the political game could turn out in the future.
As I write this paragraph, with 94% of the Iowa caucus vote counted, Clinton has an estimated 49.8% of the delegates and Sanders has 49.6%. Yet tomorrow there will be much talk about who won and who lost.
Yawn. Wake me up when something has really begun to be decided. Like after Super Tuesday on March 1.