Hang on, folks, the circus has only begun

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The uniquely American playoff system of caucuses and primaries that define presidential politics generally opens with a bang, and on that front, Iowa’s caucus Tuesday did not disappoint.

Many of us enjoyed a momentary hush of the Donald Trump carnival – as if his microphone lost power for a few seconds – before he roared off to New Hampshire, where voters will cast primary ballots next week.

And we scratched our heads as we seem to do every four years, trying once again to understand the peculiarities of the Democratic caucus. No vote totals, just percentages? And the victory margin for Hillary Clinton was 3.77 delegates? What happened to the 0.23 percent of the poor guy who apparently was cut in two?

At least the six coin tosses that Clinton won were relatively easy to understand – weird, but understandable.

And so the races go, onward and upward with new story lines. Clinton is a long way from her stake as the nominee of destiny she seemed to be just a few weeks ago. The bigger story on the Republican side might not be Ted Cruz’s comfortable win but how close Marco Rubio came to topping Trump.

The big buses will roll into North Carolina in the weeks before the March 15 primary. Take the kids for a firsthand look at the craziness, then go to the polls and put your own stamp on it.

It’s going to be a long year, folks, and we’re just getting started.