We’re now several days away from the 2014 midterm election, but let’s all be honest, the political focus has been on 2016 all along, right?

There’s no denying that 2016 handicapping began the moment President Obama secured his second term in 2012. Since then it’s been a constant stream of will Hillary Clinton run? Who would dare take her on? Joe Biden? Will Jeb Bush’s family let him run? What about Chris Christie’s temperament? And Thursday, the first 2016 presidential debate for Republican primary candidates was announced for Sept. 16, 2015.

But it got real Friday, when the Des Moines Register launched its Iowa caucuses site, which will follow every would-be candidate visit, every state fair handshake and every corndog consumed. The newspaper will also have an “interactive candidate tracker” app of campaign stops around the state.

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The Iowa caucuses, tentatively scheduled for Feb. 1, 2016, often set the pace for the primary season, and can propel a candidate (see: Barack Obama) or at least momentarily breathe some life into one (see: Rick Santorum).

There’s already been many candidate visits in Iowa, and they will pick up in the coming months. Much like Christmas decorations in October, there is a severe risk of presidential election fatigue by the time the Iowa caucuses are here (in about 15 months).

A year ago, when we were already sizing up 2016 contenders, satire site the Onion summed it up this way:

A groundbreaking psychiatric study released Monday indicates that hearing the words “2016 frontrunners” is currently the leading cause of chronic depression in the United States
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