Opinion

Opinion: Why Sheryl Crow and 60,000 others are calling for shorter and saner campaigns

Hillary Clinton’s official campaign launch speech, in New York in 2015
Hillary Clinton arrives at a rally billed as the official launch of her presidential campaign, held on New York’s Roosevelt Island on June 13, 2015.
(Andrew Gombert / EPA)

To the editor: Nearly 60,000 people have signed my petition to shorten the election cycle. I am clearly not alone in wanting to have this conversation. The Times’ Doyle McManus opposes the idea for two reasons: first, because the long election cycle gives us more time to learn about the candidates, and second, we shouldn’t look to other systems because they’re different from the U.S. (“You’re probably tired of the presidential race, but long campaigns are a good thing,” Opinion, Nov. 2)

Did this 600-plus day election cycle really teach us more about our candidates? The information that has had the most impact has either been public for months (the Hillary Clinton emails) or come to light recently (the Donald Trump tape). Nothing has been revealed that could not have been considered over six months rather than two years. Late information is and has always been a campaign strategy. What we know now was most likely always going to be released when it was — in the 11th hour of this endless campaign. 

Canada and Great Britain both have shorter cycles, and yes, they’re both parliamentary systems. But really? That means we shouldn’t have the conversation about what we can learn and apply in our own system? I don’t believe the differences should mean we throw up our hands and give up on finding a better way. 

The long election cycle is great for media, lobbyists and political consultants, but not for our country. We can and must do better.

Sheryl Crow, Los Angeles

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To the editor: What ticks people off more about the campaign than its length is the insane amount of money spent to elect one president in a country full of tattered schools, roads and bridges. What angers people is the volume of muck that fills these campaigns, with relatively little discussion of real issues.

If the candidates actually care about not making us mad, they might try to make their years-long outings into campaigns that matter. 

Mary Stanik, Phoenix

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To the editor: I couldn’t disagree more with McManus. 

He says the length of our campaign gives us more information on both Clinton and Trump. In fact, the more the American people find out about them, the more they seem to hate them both and regret this ridiculous system for giving them such awful choices. 

McManus also says the length of our campaigns is determined by our constitutional system, in particular the separation of powers between the legislative and executive branches. Frank-ly, the parliamentary system used in most of Europe — in which the legislative and executive are automat-ically held by the same par-

ty, and (in some countries) nationwide proportional representation allows people to back alternative par-ties without wasting their vote — is looking better and better by comparison.

Mark Gabrish Conlan, San Diego

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To the editor: Somehow the pride I’ve felt being a citizen of this great country is suffering the strain of what is without a doubt among the worst presidential elections. Although it appears my preferred candidate will prevail, I cannot feel satisfaction. 

Our leaders in Congress proclaim they will never confirm a Supreme Court justice if their preferred candidate is not elected. This is playground bullying, not politics. 

The noise you hear is our forefathers writhing in their graves.

Kenneth Hahn, Cathedral City

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