America's election practices need discipline, restructuring

It is officially 2016—the year we elect the new President of the United States. Before we reach November, however, the presidential election pomp will kick into full gear and campaigns will—somehow—be more dramatic and obnoxious than they’ve been so far. As we’ve previously witnessed during party debates, speeches and even “Saturday Night Live” sketches, this current presidential election has been an embarrassing rollercoaster for the U.S. Our election process showed major flaws in July 2015 when a 15-year-old candidate under the name Deez Nuts was able to file an intent-to-run form with the Federal Election Committee and actually polled at 8–9 percent in three different states.

As Donald Trump gains more support in the polls with his controversial and offensive comments, the chance of Trump earning the Republican candidacy looks less like a passing joke and more like an actual possibly.

If America’s presidential election cannot be taken seriously, how can we expect to be taken seriously as a country? Our election revolves around sensational journalism and candidates one-upping each other for the next viral hashtag. When our election season goes on for basically two years, there’s a lot of room for frivolity.

Canada, on the other hand, recently endured one of their longest campaign seasons ever—and it only lasted 11 weeks. A typical Canadian election lasts about 50 days. The first truly meaningful day of our election comes on Monday Feb. 1 with the Iowa Caucuses—more than 280 days before Election Day.

While Americans may think 50 days isn’t enough to get to know a candidate, perhaps America can create a happy medium. By now, most Americans probably know who they want to elect as each party’s candidate and probably for the presidential position itself—even though we still have to endure another 10 months of caucuses, primaries and insufferable debates.

Perhaps in the future, we could change our policy to limit campaign seasons to, for example, no longer than six months before Election Day. Major media outlets who gain a lot of advertising and marketing revenue from election coverage may vehemently refuse a change, but it would make the rest of our lives much more pleasant.