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Campaign season is fully upon us

Anyone who thinks that the campaign seasons have gotten longer and longer during the past several election cycles has certainly had his or her suspicions confirmed this year.

On Tuesday, for example, President Donald Trump officially said that he would be seeking re-election in 2020. The announcement came in the way we have come to expect — during a flashy rally held inside an arena in Orlando, Fla., with thousands of supporters on hand.

Democrats, meanwhile, will begin their march toward Milwaukee Wednesday night when they conduct the first of what is scheduled to be 12 debates between now and the national convention, which is scheduled for July 13-16, 2020.

To say there’s a crowded field looking for the chance to take on Trump would be a little bit of an understatement.

And, of two dozen candidates who have announced their intentions, 20 of them met the qualifications set by the Democratic National Committee to participate. It’s so many, in fact, that the first round of debates will be spread over two nights in Miami, with the second session happening Thursday.

It’s anybody’s guess what topics will stand out, but health care seems to be highest on the minds of voters. According to a poll conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation and released by The Associated Press on Tuesday, nearly nine out of 10 Democrats or Democratic-leaning independents said it is very important for candidates to discuss health issues, while 28 percent said candidates should focus on lowering the amount people pay for health care.

It’s tough to predict how the debates will go, but it’s likely that the performances of a couple of the candidates will make them stand out from the crowd; the presentations by others will leave voters looking for more information as the weeks progress; and, quite frankly, the performances of yet others will reveal that the only thing they can bring to the table is that they are not Trump.

And, while there has been plenty of discussion about the political leanings of the commentators who have been chosen by NBC to wrangle the two days of discussion, the debates will offer Americans the chance to get to learn a little more about where each candidate stands and will, likely, be a chance to meet and hear from some of them for the first time.

What we can say with confidence, though, is no matter what is said and how the debates on Wednesday and Thursday play out, they are just the first step in a process that will be long and drawn out as we move closer to Election Day 2020, which will fall on Nov. 3.

Those who are informed make the best voters, and with that in mind, we hope everyone will take any chance that’s offered to learn more about candidates and issues, meeting them, reading about them and following the debates.

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