As Primaries End, Candidates Look Forward

Between the ongoing fight between presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and underdog candidate Bernie Sanders, confusing Democratic delegate math, and all-but-confirmed Republican nominee Donald Trump's latest foible, it's easy to get sidetracked and forget that only one primary remains. As we prepare for intensified mud-slinging and drama heralded an end to this year's stranger-than-fiction primary season, it's important to know the logistics of what happens after the primaries are over.

The June 14 Democratic Primary in Washington, D.C. is the nation's final primary. The next big events, the conventions that determine each party's candidates based on delegate votes from the primaries, take place over a month later — the Republican National Convention is July 18 to 21 in Cleveland, OH and the Democratic National Convention is July 25 to 28. July 31 marks 100 days to the general election on Nov. 8, a final three-month push that will see intense campaigning in the "battleground" regions of Florida, the upper Southeast (North Carolina and Florida), the "Rust Belt" (Pennsylvania and Ohio) and Arizona.

Between July 31 and Nov. 8, things will really heat up: aside from the Green Party National Convention held in Houston, TX from Aug. 4-7, the candidates will begin duking it out on the airwaves rather than at the polls: the first presidential debate will be held Sept. 26 at Wright State University in Ohio, a key swing state. The first three weeks of October will also feature important debates: a Vice Presidential debate Oct. 4 at Longwood University in Virginia, a second presidential debate on Oct. 9 at Washington University in St. Louis, MO and a third and final debate on Oct. 19 in Las Vegas.

Logistically, this election can and should be honest and straightforward, with two presumptive nominees on clear sides of the party line. But for those of us with general election anxiety disorder (and pundits without it as well), the fear that this election will be far from tidy looms over election coverage, caused in no small part by Sen. Sanders' pledge to schlepp forward to what might become a "messy" convention. The fears abound: the Sanders-Clinton divide may prevent the Democratic electorate from rallying around Clinton as the nominee and, of course, the overarching fear that The Donald could become president.

Hoping to assuage fears for America's soul, Clinton's campaign is already on the offensive against Trump. As the nation and the candidates gear up for an election year sure to be full of surprises, our best bet is to sit back, grab some popcorn, and remind ourselves that impeachment exists.