October 14, 2019

Canada Does Elections Better

“Tired of the presidential election? Ready to scream if you hear another word from Marianne Williamson? So beaten down that the sight of 10 candidates on another debate stage might send you to counseling?

Just another reason to flee across the northern border for refuge in Canada. Here, the campaign just started. And it’s almost over.

Former Representative John Delaney, Democrat of Maryland, began his campaign more than 1,190 days before the American presidential election. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada began his re-election campaign on Wednesday — and it lasts only 41 days.

I’ve covered American elections for decades, and, to paraphrase what Samuel Johnson said of “Paradise Lost”: No one ever wished they were longer. Canadian elections are a brisker, more modest affair. No corporate or union contributions. No Saskatchewan caucuses. No New Brunswick primary. Just one election — this year, on Oct. 21 — and they’re done with it.

American presidential campaigns once were confined to the year in which the election occurred. Though there were efforts to draft Dwight D. Eisenhower for president in 1952, he didn’t start his campaign until June of that year. John F. Kennedy began his 1960 campaign on Jan. 2, 1960. Barry Goldwater started his 1964 campaign on Jan. 3, 1964.”

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