By this time tomorrow, the only people left in Iowa will be Iowans.
But between now and then, hundreds of journalists – and nearly as many Republican presidential candidates – will work non-stop as the actual Iowans caucus to commit the first delegates in the 2016 presidential campaign.
The caucusing – that may or may not be a word – begins at 8 p.m. Here are a few things to consider:
1) Why we started hearing about Iowa last fall:
3) Did you miss having Donald Trump in last week's Fox News Republican debate? Mr. Trump's fellow candidates probably didn't, and it appears that Fox News didn't either; the Trumpless debate scored the network's second-highest ratings in its history.
4) If you did miss seeing Mr. Trump in the final debate before tonight's caucuses, Stephen Colbert will be able to give you a hand:
5) We've heard over and over that Ted Cruz perhaps wouldn't win a popularity contest among, uh, pretty much anyone; curiously, a last-minute campaign mailing from Mr. Cruz isn't doing much to endear himself to the voters, either. Applying gentle social pressure to turn out the vote isn't a new tactic, but suggesting that there are state-sponsored voter ratings is; it also may be fraudulent.
6) Mr. Trump and Mr. Cruz are neck and neck in the state's late polls. Mr. Cruz fits the profile that Iowa's Republican caucus-goers seem to like, as people like Rick Santorum – the winner in 2012 – or Mike Huckabee – the winner in 2008. Note: Iowa's track record of identifying the eventual Republican nominee is not so hot.
7) Many of Mr. Trump's supporters have professed to not being politically engaged before this campaign, and it's not known whether telling a polling firm that you support Mr. Trump will translate to voting for him. If turnout is heavier than normal – about 20 percent of the state's registered GOP voters have turned out in recent presidential years – that could be a sign, in Iowa and elsewhere, it does.
8) The Democrats' outsider, Bernie Sanders, is banking on the same thing: a bigger than usual turnout would mean an upset win for the senator for Vermont. Note: Iowa's track record of identifying the eventual Democratic nominee is pretty good.
9) Why does the opposite work for Hillary Clinton? Established voters equals votes for the establishment, the theory goes, and that would be good news for Ms. Clinton. And make no mistake about who the establishment is backing – insiders predict that the superior organization of Ms. Clinton's campaign will translate into an easy win tonight.
10) A final tip: make yourself a couple of Maid Rite loose-meat sandwiches for dinner – a copycat recipe of the Iowa staple is here – and watch those results roll in.