A History Lesson

by Carol Iannone

My earliest memories of the beginnings of presidential campaigns involve candidates, bundled up like Charlie Brown, trudging through the cold of New Hampshire. I know early announcements have been going on for some time now, but it just struck me how odd it is to see a full-blooded presidential campaign in such warm weather.

That’s what we are having now — not in the summer before the election, which makes sense, of course, but in the summer before that summer — complete with television appearances, reports on the various campaigns, and almost-daily polls of how the various candidates are doing — always to be followed by a statement to the effect that it’s too early to say anything about outcomes. This seems unhealthy, as if the country, or some part of it, had too much time on its hands, with nothing to do except anticipate the next national election. 

Out of curiosity, I looked up some announcement dates from years ago:

John F. Kennedy announced his candidacy on Jan. 2, 1960, the same year as the election.

Richard Nixon announced on Feb. 2, 1968, ditto, and just one month before the New Hampshire primary.

Ronald Reagan announced on Nov. 15, 1979, earlier than before but still closer to the election year and well out of hot weather.