Britain will be holding a national election for Parliament in a month — just six weeks after it was called. In France, voters will choose between the two remaining candidates for president this weekend, less than six months after Emmanuel Macron (the leading candidate) announced he was running.
And in America? Presidential elections take a lot longer. Donald Trump announced for president 16 months before his election, and there wasn't a dull moment anywhere in between (or since). Trump was not an early entry to the field, either. Marco Rubio and Hillary Clinton had both announced two months earlier, and Ted Cruz a few weeks before them. Eight years earlier, Barack Obama had announced in February 2007, weeks after Clinton had done the same.
It wasn't always this way. Ronald Reagan announced his candidacy on November 13, 1979, less than a year before he defeated President Jimmy Carter. Richard Nixon announced for president in February 1968, only nine months ahead of that year's general election.
If you're tired of the long slog of the presidential election, you're not alone. The Center for Public Integrity has released a new poll in which 65 percent of Americans say "American presidential campaigns should come in a limited time frame." Election burnout appears to be a fairly bipartisan phenomenon, as the differences on this question between Democrats (71 percent), Republicans (63 percent) and independents (66 percent) are not very significant.
It's not clear how you'd encourage candidates to keep it shorter. The months'-long primary calendar certainly really drags things out, but it at least has the virtue of encouraging candidates to compete widely and visit states that won't get much attention during the general election season. That's something a one-day, 50-state primary in June probably couldn't accomplish. Still, there might be a happy medium in there somewhere.
Only 7 percent of respondents said they'd like to go to six-week snap elections, but the main body said they'd prefer to see campaigns begin no sooner than three months (13 percent), six months (27 percent) or a year (32 percent) before election day. A surprisingly small 13 percent like the idea of the current two- or four-year presidential election timeframe.