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The Carletonian

Explosion When My Pen Hits, Tremendous: The Endless Summer… and Winter… and Spring… and Fall

< grown-a** man, just call it as I see it/ Flow so dumb it’s borderline genius/ All the way from NC to Phoenix” – Phonte, “ExtraHard”

It’s been almost three weeks since I’ve gotten back to Carleton, and I’m starting to remember what the Carleton bubble means to me. Namely, it means reading the headlines on the New York Times and occasionally discussing the latest celebrity gossip with the other staff members in the Carletonian office. At its heart, the Carleton bubble is about remaining woefully ignorant of the current political situation.

The problem these days is that I’m unsure about the extent to which I’ve descended back into the Carleton bubble as opposed to the extent to which I’ve just lost interest in the election at this point.

It would be cliché at this point to point out that the Democratic primary has devolved into a shouting match of who can find the pettier political ammunition to sling at the other side. Likewise, it would be redundant to point out the free pass John McCain is getting to raise money and take easy political shots that piggyback on those of his Democratic rivals. However, I think that it is reasonable to point out that the election has gotten boring.

There was a time when I checked The Hotline about 18 times a day, and I actually doubled the size of my Firefox bookmark toolbar so that I could fit links to DailyKos and Politico in with my Carleton and Facebook bookmarks. Even when I was in Mali, I had to get my daily political fix. Call me a political junkie, although I hate that term.

Somehow, though, when the latest enormous scandal blew up, and everybody was getting all bitter about each other, I realized that I didn’t really care. Why is this? To what factors can I ascribe my sudden political disinterest? What is the root of this bitterness, if you will?

I’m going to blame it on Michigan and Florida. Not on the people of Michigan and Florida, as I know many nice people from both, but rather on the idea of Michigan and Florida. When Michigan and Florida encroached on early primary season, they did what every other state wanted to do to get their first crack at the voting. As a result, they were punished by the DNC, while the foolish states that chose to wait things out, like Pennsylvania and North Carolina (full disclosure: I’m from North Carolina), got the last laugh.

With the early onset of primary season for this election, not only was the holiday season ruined by opportunistic Christmas ads from the candidates, but the election peaked way before it should have. It’s simply impossible to maintain a steady level of interest for so long, it serves as an enormous monetary drain on the candidates, and it means that all the substantive policy discussion is over months before the tedium of the actual electoral process.

In 2012 it would be prudent to do away with the Michigan and Florida mindset and get on the boat with North Carolina by starting the primary cycle a little closer to the general election. Since we can safely assume that Britney Spears will still have the same lock on the public discourse in four years as she does now, it is reasonable to expect that an even more advanced primary cycle would allow the election to safely be ignored for nine of the eleven months preceding it. Coincidentally, this would be enough time for a celebrity baby to be born, an act that might throw the idea of the election getting any attention at all into jeopardy.

So, in order to save the electoral process, the primary season should be moved back. That way, I could still flounder in the Carleton bubble and catch the election over the summer.

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