Have you ever noticed that news people use the word “race” interchangeably with the word “election?” It’s a metaphor. The idea is that the candidates in the election are like* runners in a race. They start in the same place, wear the same humiliating little shorts, and start running at the same time.

There is a pretty obvious difference between a race and an election. In a race, nothing matters but the people running. One of them will run faster than the other and win the race, even if no one is watching. And if people are watching, the spectators don’t get to decide who wins.

For an election, you need voters. It’s not a contest in the same sense that a race is. Sometimes the candidates start off in very different places, and it doesn’t always matter who runs the fastest or the farthest.

*If you’re thinking about emailing me to tell me this is a simile, you are the worst kind of person. If you’re not sure what a simile is, don’t worry — it’s not important. You can stay.