If you spend a lot of time following college football and not a lot of time following the presidential electoral process, the first thing I have to tell you is: Good for you. You’re lucky. And probably a lot happier than if it were vice versa.
However, maybe you want to follow the election a little more intensely. Maybe you’re in college and want to understand how this Bernie guy is going to help you avoid paying off your student loans, and how come Garth Brooks is so fond of him. I’m here to help.
The first thing to understand is that the primaries are sort of like bowl season. It begins with a trickle with relatively unimportant and (save for one) underpopulated states. Iowa. Then New Hampshire. Off to Nevada. And now South Carolina. These state primaries are sort of like those pre-New Year’s Day bowls. They’re your Pinstripe, Gasparilla, Boca Raton and Military (not to be confused with Armed Forces, and why would you?) Bowls.
Then comes “Super Tuesday!” That’s when 14 states hold their primaries all on the same day. It’s like New Year’s Day and just like New Year’s Day, you’re best equipped to deal with the results if nursing a hangover (or nurturing one) and in flannel pajamas. Do not go outside. Do not stand near Chris Matthews (particularly if you’re a female).
Now, just like our current bowl system, New Year’s Day is not the be all and end all of the bowl season as it once was. And Super Tuesday is not the end of primary season. While the two most populous state in the union (California and Texas) vote on Super Tuesday, you’ve still got Florida and Illinois (March 17), New York and Pennsylvania (April 28), and a host of other states afterward.
And then, just like college football, the primaries end and it all goes dormant for too long a period and just when you think you’ve emotionally moved on, they stage the national championship. And while it always seems as if it’s the same two teams (Bush and Clinton), there’s been some new blood lately.