WASHINGTON—In an effort to address the frustration, fatigue, and utter despair felt by voters, the Federal Election Commission issued a directive Friday that mandates a break of one full year between each presidential term as a respite for the weary American people.
After enduring a presidential campaign cycle that can exceed two years, as well as ceaseless media coverage of whichever politician is currently occupying the nation’s highest post, citizens become so tired and depressed that, according to FEC officials, a president-free period of 12 months must be built into the calendar so the electorate has sufficient time to recover.
“The complaint we receive most frequently from voters is that they feel completely drained going through presidency after presidency without any kind of break,” said FEC chair Ann M. Ravel, explaining that the ideal for many citizens would be a year’s reprieve from all presidential press conferences, any photograph taken inside or outside the White House, or ever hearing the word “president” spoken aloud. “These off years will allow Americans to rest and regain their bearings before having to endure another four-year cycle of the same old photo ops, talking points, and stalemates with Congress.”
“I would love, absolutely love, to stop hearing a candidate’s sound bite on loop in the media, then hearing the other side overreacting and denouncing the sound bite, then seeing all the thinkpieces that come out about the overreaction, then having to go through the same shit all over again the next day.”
“That’s something that, we believe, everyone who has cast a presidential ballot has earned,” Ravel added.
Because it is too late to spare citizens from the campaign already in progress, government sources confirmed that the first year-long hiatus will take place in the year 2020. At that time, the FEC will ensure the Oval Office remains completely empty and will put a stop to all fundraising, polling, public speeches, reporting, opinion pieces, punditry, direct-mail solicitations, and television ads relating to any president or presidential candidate for 365 consecutive days.
Across the country, beleaguered and despondent Americans voiced their support for the FEC’s decision, saying they have spent their whole lives staring at an unending parade of faces of actual or would-be commanders-in-chief, with nowhere to turn to escape their slogans and carefully manicured personas. Many expressed hope that a year of recuperation will allow them not only to mentally recover somewhat, but also to steel themselves for the four years of State of the Union addresses, executive orders, and general presidential news coverage that will follow.
“Seeing all these TV and newspaper reports about whatever the current president just did or might do, hearing months and months of speculation about whether some guy’s gonna run or not—it will be the most amazing thing in the world to have a break from all that,” Columbus, OH resident Caroline Helling said. “I would love, absolutely love, to stop hearing a candidate’s sound bite on loop in the media, then hearing the other side overreacting and denouncing the sound bite, then seeing all the thinkpieces that come out about the overreaction, then having to go through the same shit all over again the next day.”
“It’ll be great to just power through the next few years and make it to this time off,” she continued. “As far as I can see, the only downside is that it’s going to be really hard to go back to having a president after we get a year away from it.”
Kent McNamara, a 52-year-old registered voter from Seattle, told reporters that when the Founding Fathers set forth the powers of the executive branch in Article Two of the Constitution, they never intended for the American presidency to become “this fucking exhausting for everybody.”
“You know, even when I like the president, I still need a break from all the bullshit that surrounds him,” McNamara said. “The automatic backlash to everything the president says, the manufactured scandals, the opposition’s refusal to let him accomplish anything worthwhile because they don’t want his party getting credit for it—it’s pretty much just as annoying having a president I like as it is having one I hate.”
“Jeez, maybe one year isn’t enough,” he added.
The FEC confirmed that if the presidential program works well, it plans to reduce the number of days each Congress is in session to five per year, eventually phasing it out altogether.