I’m watching the blossoms on the trees outside my window. They will soon turn into young leaves, which will mature, turn color, and fall to the ground. Much later the process will repeat itself. Only then will we reach Election Day 2020, some eighteen months from now.

Welcome to the silly season of presidential politics, when the election is so far off that much of what happens has little or no bearing on what will happen when things get real. Predictions are useless at this stage, but with presidential candidates now declaring their intentions a full two years out, it is possible to offer a few thoughts on the dynamics that might shape what happens in the coming months (and, technically, years). In this spirit, and in no particular order, I offer ten early observations on the Democratic presidential race.

Democrats have a very long time to figure this out, and unforeseen events are bound to shape the way the primary season unfolds, occurring as it is against the backdrop of impeachment hearings by another name. When the trees start to bloom again one year from now, much of what is presently uncertain will have come into focus.