In Kansas, the hour is nigh.
And Missouri’s chance is coming.
For months — actually it feels like years — we’ve watched the presidential candidates tromp around other states. Is there a diner in Iowa or New Hampshire that hasn’t been the scene of hand shaking and pie tasting by an aspiring nominee?
Finally on Saturday Kansas voters will have the chance to participate in caucuses. And unlike some years, the nominations are not wrapped up. So what happens in school buildings and community centers around the state will be meaningful.
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Obviously the candidates think so. Kansas this week has hosted Bernie Sanders in Lawrence, Ted Cruz in Overland Park, and Marco Rubio in Topeka, Wichita and Overland Park. Donald Trump found the state important enough to cancel a Washington D.C., appearance in favor of a planned rally in Wichita on Saturday.
Will Kansas Republicans give Trump’s controversial candidacy another shove forward? Or will they attempt to block him by supporting Cruz or Rubio or even John Kasich?
Will Kansas Democrats show their support for Sanders outside of the rallies that have drawn big crowds in Kansas City and Lawrence? Or will the younger Sanders fans stay home and yield their ground to Hillary Clinton’s supporters?
Whatever you think of what’s gone on in the campaigns up until now, it’s hard to deny they’ve been interesting. (Perhaps too interesting, if you’re still reeling from the vulgarities on display at Thursday night’s Republican debate.) And voting beats watching any day.
Caucuses are designed to give citizens a voice. Time is set aside for willing participants to speak briefly on behalf of their preferred candidate.
Missouri’s primary is March 15. It is more like an election, with voters reporting to their regular polling place and casting a ballot. Unlike many states, Missouri has an open primary, meaning voters can request a ballot for either party, regardless of how they are registered.
The way this year’s campaign is shaping up, voters’ decisions about who will represent the parties this fall are as significant as the votes they will cast in November. Trump, for instance, as the GOP nominee would signal chaos throughout the year and perhaps beyond.
Better to have your voice heard now than after it’s too late.