America is near the end of the longest democratic succession struggle in world history: 23 months ago the first candidate threw his hat in the ring. By comparison, Bill Clinton was considered an early entry when he announced in October 1991, just 13 months before the 1992 election.
Not only did this race get going earlier, it got going harder as well. Democrats had their first primary debate 22 months ago and their second a month later.
This will be America’s most costly presidential race. Barack Obama will spend north of $700m and John McCain more than $450m. Add the other candidates and third-party groups and the total expenditure will break $2.4 billion.
This may seem a lot but Americans annually spend $8 billion on haircare products, $64 billion on soft drinks and $577 billion on convenience store purchases, so $2.4 billion isn’t too much to pick the leader of the free world.