LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:
We are moving into the election season - feels like we're moving faster and faster. Candidates are already in the early states, notably, the newly-announced Hillary Clinton. She headed right to Iowa for some close encounters with voters. Republicans - reportedly a score or so - are in New Hampshire this weekend taking turns shaking hands with voters. I've spent a fair amount of time over the years covering presidential campaigns and there's an order of march for this parade. First, the early states - politicians are thick on the ground. Then, the rest of the primaries and caucuses - some more important than others - followed by the conventions. And then, the real deal - the race to win the general election. Along the way, the professional politicians and the people who watch them - including me - are creating categories. Red states and blue states, states always loyal to their parties. A new term, purple states. We used to call them swing states for places that might go either way. And then, the category that will really do the deciding, the so-called battleground states. Now, if you live in a battleground state, you will have a ringside seat. If you want to see your candidate, you can. If you want to meet him or her? Not impossible. If you've always wondered why pollsters never ask you what you think, that's about to change. But here's my advice for residents of battleground states - think about leaving home. First, apply for an absentee ballot - we must all do our civic duty. But if you stay, you will be called on the phone every night by recorded candidates, lots of times, usually during dinner. Your favorite TV shows will be drenched in political ads. The doorbell will keep ringing as nicely-dressed young people try to find out how you're voting. If you go out for coffee, polls will be right there with you. Now, here's something to think about - the sharing economy. Tourists looking for a place to stay can now find an apartment on the Internet. Why not rent your home to a political tourist? Or maybe a political operative? You can keep up with the political news without being pursued by politicians. You can make a little money to offset the expense of your escape. Think about it. Beach or battleground? Beach or battleground?
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