Saturday, May 26, 2018
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Too soon for 2016

Most Americans have no desire to hear now from political types about prospective candidates for the 2016 presidential election. That goes for Democrats, Republicans, or anyone else.

There is already speculation about who should or might make a run for the White House next time. There are considerable disadvantages, besides the obvious boredom, for Americans to spend time this early on such idle discussion.

The last presidential campaign — long, expensive, and tiresome — just ended in November. Whether or not some Americans liked the result, the President was re-elected by a clear margin. Failing some catastrophe, he will remain in office for 46 more months.

Given the breadth and complexity of its problems, the United States cannot afford the luxury of focusing on the next election when so many challenges must be addressed now.

Looking beyond President Obama so early in his second term could reduce him to lame-duck status. That would not be useful to the country.

There are plenty of limits already to Mr. Obama’s ability to act — a divided and obstructionist Congress, special-interest lobbyists eager to make campaign contributions — without hamstringing him further by pretending the end of his service is around the corner. It isn’t.

Speculation about 2016 is fruitless, however profitable it may be for media and political consultants, because a lot can happen from now until it will be truly appropriate to consider the next round of presidential prospects.

Who in 1964 would have anticipated the tumultuous events that became the backdrop to the 1968 election? Who, in the two months after George W. Bush’s 2001 inauguration, could have foreseen Sept. 11 and the changes it would bring to the nation and the world?

Hard as it is to put off the handicapping and despite all the money in politics, Americans deserve to be spared a four-year presidential campaign. Voter turnout is low enough already.

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