18 Candidates

According to this article here, there are 18 Democratic candidates for president at the moment, but it’s sort of like counting the number of countries in the world, or number of planets in the solar system – a lot depends on how you count.

The list includes Marianne Williamson, who has written a couple of books but her main claim to fame is ‘spiritual advisor to Oprah.’  Oprah, of course, has said she is not running, never had any intention of running, and just because some of her fans are nuts doesn’t mean she is. (Oprah didn’t say that last part, I did)

It includes Andrew Yang, who I haven’t heard much about for a couple of weeks.  I guess nobody thinks UBI, or circumcision, are major issues.

It includes Wayne Messam, who is the mayor of Miramar, Florida, which means he has the same qualifications as Pete Buttigieg, but I’d never heard of him before reading this article.
It does not include Joe Biden, who I reckon has about a 50/50 chance of running, and about a 0 chance of winning, or Mike Gravel, who is trying hard to get enough unique donors to get into the debates, but I doubt he’ll make it.  He was important 40 years ago, but hasn’t held public office since then, and is best remembered for throwing a rock into a lake.

It seems like a comically unwieldy number, but it’s not unprecedented.  It’s early stages, and there’s no one candidate who thinks it’s her turn and is determined to stonewall any opposition, and has control over the party machinery, and the media.  This is what Democratic primaries sometimes look like.
Now, there are some who are worried that this will be a problem.  They point out that having lots of candidates means it will be hard for Bernie to get over 51% on the first ballot, and then the “Democratic” party can retire to a back room with cigars, and the superdelegates will pick whoever they want.  Who, knowing the Democrats, will be somebody who stands for nothing and will lose to Trump.

I’m not so worried.  There are two key facts.  First, pretty much everybody is admitting that he is the front runner at this point, and if even CNN is admitting it, you know he must be the front runner by a lot.  Secondly, Bernie’s electoral history is that the more people get to know him, the more they like him.  In his first succesful bid for office, he became Mayor of Burlington by only 10 votes.  After that, though, he kept getting re-elected to the office and his majorities grew with each election.  Likewise in Congress, and in the Senate.
So, he’s the front runner and he’s attracting more voters all the time.
I don’t think anybody should take anything for granted, but I’d say he’s moving from ‘front runner’ to ‘inevitable.’

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