The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Here’s how much of your life has been wasted with this presidential election.

An employee holds up masks depicting Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump at Hollywood Toys & Costumes in Los Angeles, California U.S., October 26, 2016. (REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni)

You're not wrong to think that this election cycle has lasted an insufferably long time.

It officially began on March 23, 2015, at 10:38 a.m., almost precisely. That was the moment that Ted Cruz became the first major-party candidate to officially declare his candidacy on stage at Liberty University. Donald Trump wasn't yet a candidate — wasn't yet seriously expected to be one. Hillary Clinton hadn't made it official. There were plans underway and lots of rumors, and candidates had been making stops for months in early primary states, but until Cruz said those words, the race technically hadn't really begun.

This will be the 589th day since then. We've gone through 589 of the election's 596 days, 98.8 percent of this thing. We've made progress.

But there's a grimmer percentage, more personal to you: Here's how much of your life this election has wasted.

Relative to past election cycles, the 2016 campaign got a somewhat late start. In each cycle from 1996 to 2008, the first major-party candidate to declare did so earlier in the year prior than did Cruz, which stretches things out a bit. That wasn't the case in 2012, though. Newt Gingrich was the first in the pool, tweeting an announcement on May 11. As a result, the 2016 campaign will end up being 10 percent longer than the one four years ago.

It's also the case that this will be one of the four longest presidential election years in the past century. Only in 1932, 1960 and 1988 has Election Day also fallen on Nov. 8, the latest date possible. In 2012, the election was two days shorter within the election year itself, a brevity that I think we'd all welcome at this point.

But it's also longer than past elections for three other reasons.

First, in 1932, we didn't have to wait until polls closed in Alaska and Hawaii before the election was finally over: They weren't yet states.

Second, daylight saving time ends this coming Sunday, as 538's Harry Enten noted on Twitter. This is the "fall back” time change, meaning that we'll wake up on Sunday morning and find that the week has gotten an hour longer. This is usually the case, but it's not necessarily so: If the current first-Sunday-in-November rule had applied in 2004, when the election was on Nov. 2, the fallback hour would have come after the election.

Third, there was an extra second added to 2015. At the end of June last year, clocks added a largely unnoticed "leap second,” meant to accommodate for the fact that the Earth's rotation is slowing.

Meaning that in an almost literal sense, the universe itself is conspiring to make this election as long as possible.