First votes about to be cast, finally

Published 11:35 pm Thursday, January 14, 2016

Don’t look now, but in two weeks voters in Iowa will go to their caucuses to make their presidential preferences known. That’s right, on Feb. 1 the first votes will finally be cast in this monumental election year.

Then, eight days later, New Hampshire will hold the first-in-the-nation primaries, which will be followed by an avalanche of caucuses and primaries, including the March 1 “SEC primaries” in a number of southern and border states, including Alabama.

Including us in a regional primary was a good move since for once we won’t be ignored in the process by which the nation selects its Republican and Democratic nominees for president. In recent election cycles, Alabama had a stand-alone primary, which made it convenient for candidates to ignore us in pursuit of support in states with more consequential influence in the process.

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But no more, and you can expect to see both the many Republican and three Democratic candidates include Alabama on their schedules. In fact, with frequent visits from Republicans like Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Democrats Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders already, the process is well under way.

The voting in Iowa is already shaping up as intriguing, especially on the Republican side, where the polls show that Cruz has a slight edge over Donald Trump, leading one to wonder if Trump loses this first showdown, will he label himself a “loser” — the term of derision he throws around so freely at the hapless band of opponents he has attracted.

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