Running and running earlier and earlier

Fifty-one years ago this week, Senator Eugene McCarthy announced that he was running for president.  A couple of months later, he almost upset President Johnson in New Hampshire.

We are 22 months away from the next election, and there are people already talking about running, from Senator Warren of Massachusetts to former HUD secretary Julián Castro.  There are probably more planning to jump in.

How will all of this end up?  I don't know.  I think 2020 will be about President Trump rather than his Democrat opponent.

Nevertheless, they are off and running.  It's all about money, as we see in this article:

In modern politics, forming the committee, which facilitates early fund-raising, is seen as an all-but-official announcement that a person is running for the presidency.  Julián Castro, the former federal housing secretary and San Antonio mayor, also formed one this month.  Several other candidates are expected to join the race in the coming weeks. ...

And President Trump, never one to shy away from political combat, has also gotten an early jump on the 2020 race, naming a campaign manager last February and flouting precedent by raising money for his re-election during the midterm campaign.

With the election more than 670 days away, this can all feel a little ridiculous.  But that does not make it unusual.  A glance at recent history suggests that the candidates are roughly on schedule.

It was not always this way.  In 1960, John F. Kennedy did not announce his candidacy until 11 months before Election Day.  As recently as the 1992 election, Bill Clinton did not formally enter the presidential contest until just over a year before the general election.  But since then, campaigns have grown longer, bloating into nearly two-year affairs.

Are we any better off because these people are focusing on campaigns rather than governing?  I don't think so.  Don't expect to hear anything serious from all of these Democrats running for president.

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