But yeah, it is happening. Jon Bernstein, I thought, summed it up quite well this morning. But his focus was on the jockeying among candidates and the press coverage of the slow-moving, behind-the-scenes process that will take place before the 2016 primaries get underway. That's the candidate/press/party networks side.1 There is also a parties
That, too, should be mentioned. And that, too, has been going on for a while now. History will show that Mitt Romney -- or the surrogates acting on his part at the convention at which Romney was the nominee -- had one large impact on the presidential election process: They rewrote the rules under which Republican Party candidates get nominated to be the Grand Old Party's standard bearer in the general election. That Republicans did that so far in advance was a function of, well, the rules. The 2008 Rules of the Republican Party called for the rules for the next cycle -- 2016 -- to be set at the 2012 convention in Tampa.
...and they were.
- The RNC also provided an out for themselves on changing the rules again before 2016. The bar is pretty high though. It will take a three-fourths vote of the full RNC to change anything. That makes RNC meetings between now and, say, early 2015 fairly interesting
- Plus, the Democrats, too, have to set their rules. That process will begin in the spring of next year and continue into 2014.
1 Jon rightly points out in the comments section below that he was also referring to party networks in his post. Indeed he was. That is a point of differentiation that I did not make clearly enough (networks vs. rules -- and the obvious endogenous relationship between the two) above.