July through December 2015: Candidate announcements and denials (followed by announcements,) along with 24/7 news speculation and commentary, usually prefaced with “We really don’t know anything yet.” In the fourth quarter we may see some intra-party debates begin.
January through June 2016: The primaries and the primary debates.
As of this writing the first two contests have been decided – New Hampshire and Iowa. The 3rd and 4th are just a few days away – Nevada and South Carolina. The Democratic Line up is down to 2 contenders – Sanders and Clinton.
These first four primary contests have always been considered to make or break a candidate’s future.
On the GOP side the field has narrowed from 16 last August to 6.
In just a few weeks it will be “Super-Tuesday” when 15 states hold their contests on the same day.
July 2016: Both parties will hold their conventions where they will crown their official candidate for the general election. In recent history, this coronation is symbolic only, since the actual selection occurs in the primary season.
While it hasn’t happened since 1976, as of now it is not out of the realm of possibility that on the GOP side there will be an “open” convention. This occurs when, after all the primaries, no single candidate has enough delegates to qualify as the nominee.
If it does happen, it will be much different than when Gerry Ford beat out Reagan for the nomination 40 years ago. Digital media, 24/7 news, and social media will bring a much different experience.
THE MAIN EVENT!
August through November 7, 2016:This is the knock-down drag-out portion of the election cycle. Once a party officially crowns their nominee, it frees his/her campaign up to spend money that has been raised by the party.
Prior to that the candidate can only spend money raised by the campaign committee on its own. Starting in August the advertising will increase at a steady rate until we reach that inevitable moment in the last week or so when the ads are coming with such blinding speed that they are all just a big blur to the public.
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