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Connecting the leads on the R & W terminals on the thermostat together will bypass the thermostat. It's the first step in troubleshooting. If that doesn't work then the next step is to go to the furnace and jump the R & W terminals on the furnace thermostat terminal strip.
Yes the furnace should start up. Next move to the furnace shut the power off and jump (connect with a piece of wire)the R & W terminals on the terminal strip where the thermostat leads connect. Be sure the blower compartment panel is securely in place after you jump R & W or the furnace won't run. Turn the power back on. Does the furnace respond?