There is nothing longer in America than a presidential election campaign. And that is not a good thing.

A long vacation is enjoyable. Long summers are a treat. Reuniting with long-lost friends is special. But long campaigns are becoming indescribably painful. Just think of an Excedrin headache that lasts all year for more than 240 million eligible voters. It could be like the supply-chain shortages of the pandemic, with people clearing out store shelves and grabbing for the last bottle of headache medicine.

Still not convinced how miserable the long campaign will be? Think of getting a shot and then the nurse leaves the room with the needle stuck in your arm, and all you can watch on the TV in the exam room is a nonstop loop of campaign ads.

It’s not like those ads say anything useful. Facts take a back seat to emotional pleas, often misleading, crafted to push the hot buttons and avoid honest discussion of real issues.

It’s easier to wrap your fork around slippery long spaghetti than it is to wrap your head around the constant political accusations, gamesmanship and misleading social media posts of a long campaign. At least the spaghetti, as messy as it is, doesn’t make you ill. And you can wash the sauce out of your shirt; politics don’t clean up that easy.

The 2024 presidential race started so long ago that it’s now into its second baseball season and will be into another football season before voters go to the polls. If you’re a sports fan, you know that is a long time. And if you don’t like sports, you probably wish that campaigns and the football season were shorter.

Maybe that’s the answer to long campaigns: Treat them like sports.

Major League Baseball team owners realized the games were dragging on far too long. You could clean your garage, wash the windows, weed the biggest lawn in town and tutor your kid in medieval literature and the baseball game still wouldn’t be over.

Baseball was losing fans who were losing patience, which meant the teams were losing revenue. So the owners last year instituted new rules to speed up games, including a clock on pitchers and batters to move quicker. It worked; the games are shorter. Now fans are able to stay awake to see who won.

Just think how much shorter presidential campaigns would be if candidates, for example, could not change their position on issues after the first day? Or if they were limited to three appeals per campaign of allegedly unfair news media coverage? Or limited in how many relief players they could substitute in at campaign events, which allows them to play every position on the field at the same time, dragging out the game?

Maybe some rules to cut down on time-wasting denials? Such as setting up a system for candidates to ask for an instant replay review when they — or their opponent — claim they were misquoted, misunderstood or mistaken. Just like football, if a candidate wins a replay, they are not charged a timeout. But if they lose on review, they would need to stop all campaigning for 24 hours.

The courts might not let stand an actual time limit on political campaigns, not wanting to infringe on anyone’s rights to free speech. But a campaign pitch clock would be a lot like a pitcher’s clock in a baseball game, and no one has said that is unconstitutional.