Remember when Ron Popeil developed the modern infomercial and "amazed" enthusiastic studio audiences with a food dehydrator of a rotisserie oven? Did you ever wonder what happened to the people in those audiences who were so excited about knife sets that could actually slice tomato skins so thin you could see through them or how they could get hair out of a can? Where did they go for such thrills after the taping was done?
Well I think those same people are the ones who turn out for Presidential campaign kickoff rallies. The latest group of "whoopers and hollerers" turned out in Waukesha yesterday for Governor Scott Walker's "formal" announcement that he was running. That was not to be confused with the "unofficial announcements" that came with trips to early caucus and primary states, the formation of a Political Action Committee, the filing of a "real" campaign notice with the Federal Elections Commission and an "accidental tweet" last Friday that he "is in the race". Those exuberant fans were still there on Monday excited beyond belief that it is now "officially official".
And let's not forget that we are still more than 15 MONTHS away from the 2016 election. The new Star Wars movie is still 5 months away and I'm not nearly excited as everyone has been at these kickoff rallies. You have half a summer, fall and the holidays to make it through before anyone even casts a vote (or stands in a corner at the caucuses). Pace yourself on the election hysteria and try to keep things in perspective.
Keep in mind that in 1968, Robert Kennedy didn't get into the race for President until March. That was after the Iowa Caucuses and the New Hampshire Primary. Granted, he has the most romanticized last name in American politics--but it was much easier for his young base of support to keep up that type of enthusiasm until the campaign met its tragic end in California in June. Even the most ardent Hillary Clinton supporter has to be tired of year 12 of that continuous campaign effort.
Of course, you have the political "experts" who say Governor Walker "wasted too much time" getting into the race in July of 2015. They claim he has allowed other less viable candidates to steal some of his momentum gained by going to Iowa and New Hampshire last winter but then not "officially announcing" until now. These long campaigns are not about building up grassroots support or having as much time to "meet the people" as possible. The longer you run the more money you can collect--and the number of campaign finance limit periods that big donors can contribute. (Consider that another legacy of Russ Feingold).
And that also makes the kickoff rally attendees like those informercial audiences of old--that were holding up their money just begging the man on stage to take it.