There are 112 days until Christmas but only 65 until Election Day.

There was a time when Sept. 1 marked the semi-official beginning of fall election campaigns in presidential and off-year elections.

Well, scratch that one. Now it’s all politics all the time.

Politicians see an advantage in that long-term approach. That’s why others soon followed then-presidential candidate Jimmy Carter’s example when he announced in 1974 that he was running for president in 1976.

But while politicians — the ones higher up on the power scale — perceive non-stop campaigning to be an advantage because of the time differential, ordinary people don’t share that view.

Regular folks — mostly non-political junkies — prefer the peace and quiet of ordinary life. They want to go about their business while elected officials go about the public’s business in a professional and prudent manner.

They say they tire of campaign attack ads, and they probably do. But it’s pretty clear that attack ads work; so the public will continue to get what it says — not in a credible way — that it doesn’t want.

That was the case in the June 28 primary election, when political advertising smears via radio, television and mailers dominated.

That will continue to be the case through Nov. 8, and it’s easy to say why.

Most people — candidates, the news media and voters themselves — hate to hear about substantive issues. They are complicated and boring, not nearly as much fun as traditional horse-race campaign coverage or “my opponent is a scurvy dog” rhetoric.

Indeed, the whole art of political campaigning since the 1950s is to capture voter attention by touching political hot buttons.

Issue — the real business behind the election process — must wait until the election is over.

That, of course, is problematic.

What about Illinois’ long-term financial woes, including its chronically underfunded public pensions? Can the secretary of state’s methods of delivering public services be improved by technological advances? If so, how do we pay for it?

Should the state comptroller’s and treasurer’s offices be merged in the interest of cost savings, greater efficiency while maintaining the necessary oversight of state dollars?

Why is the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services a disaster? Can performance — defined as preventing the deaths of infants and children under DCFS’ watch — be improved? If so, does that require the replacement of the current DCFS chief, who has been repeatedly cited for contempt of court for serious agency failures?

Given the government sprawl in Illinois — more units of government by far than any other state at no small cost — is it possible to re-think our centuries-old approach? Or should everyone just throw up their hands and accept paying more in property taxes than necessary to maintain local services?

The list could go on, but there’s no benefit in putting everyone to sleep.

With a little more than two months to go until Nov. 8, circumstances are certain to liven up. Politics as theater is the order of the day, and the big finale is waiting in the wings.

So, too, are substantive discussions of the important issues of the day. But that will remain behind the curtain, because there’s no real appetite to hear about the complicated business of government at any level.

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