Let's press 'pause' on the 2016 campaign, please
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Here's an idea that won't get anywhere.

As soon as this week’s debates are over, let's hit the pause button and suspend all presidential campaign activity for one week — speeches, interviews, ads, blogs, videos, press releases, fundraisers, cable talk shows, tweets and punditry. Let the candidates go home and play with their dogs. Let the reporters talk about war, peace, the economy and crime. Let the campaign consultants get their annual physicals.

This campaign has become much too foul, much too early. Everybody is piling on everybody, and everybody is getting hurt.


Think about it. Most of the ads haven't even started yet and every candidate has already been called a liar dozens of times. The pretense of civility has long evaporated. Serious issues are lost in the screaming. So many candidates have spun themselves into so many torturous explanations that their credibility gauges are already on empty.

Reporters are searching for stories that aren't there and fumbling the big ones that are. There was a time when only the candidates could win or lose debates. Now the media get to play, too. So many media voices have been doing so much of the partisan dirty work that large chunks of voters have grown to hate them all — even the good ones who aren't.

Super-PACs suck up most of the campaign money. These PACs attack, respond, pivot and shape public messaging. But their names aren't on the ballot, so there is no way for voters to hold them accountable. Consider: Most ad dollars are no longer controlled by the candidates, but by separate organizations that act on behalf of the candidates — organizations that legally can't even talk to the candidates. And we wonder why democracy doesn't appear to be working?

Look at this past week’s news coverage, and tell me we don’t need a time-out:

Yes, it's time for a time-out, a pause to reflect and reset. Even if it doesn’t make things better, at least it'll give us a week's respite.

Faucheux is president of Clarus Research Group, a nonpartisan polling firm, and publisher of Lunchtime Politics, a daily newsletter on polls.