The Democrats: An avalanche of candidates
And then there were…twenty-four? With New York Mayor Bill de Blasio’s entry last week into the presidential race, the Democratic Party now has enough declared candidates to field “two football teams,” with two left over to referee, said Michael Scherer in The Washington Post. This “sprawling” field, the largest in history for either party, presumably reflects the perceived vulnerability of the unpopular President Trump, and perhaps the new party rule that opens the debates to all candidates who can muster just 65,000 donors. But amid this “traffic jam” of would-be presidents, how can the latest arrivals possibly hope to stand out? De Blasio’s candidacy is particularly baffling, said Jonah Goldberg in NationalReview.com. True, this nondescript, knee-jerk liberal has twice been elected mayor of the nation’s largest city, but his own constituents greeted the news of his candidacy with widespread derision; in a recent poll, 76 percent don’t think he should run for president—“and it’s not because they’re desperate to keep him on the job.”
De Blasio’s only real qualification, it seems, is that he’s white, said Jason Johnson in TheRoot.com. The first group of Democrats to declare their candidacies was impressively diverse, but since then we’ve witnessed a “mayonnaise tsunami” of undistinguished white men entering the race. It’s hard not to suspect that these congressmen, mayors, and governors are all running “with the same flawed, unspoken message: That because they are white men, they can win over white voters,” specifically the working-class guys who elected Donald Trump.
Despite what the cynics say, a large field might actually boost the Democrats’ chances, said Gene Lyons in the Chicago Sun-Times. Today, “an American presidential election is a TV show,” and the spectacle of two dozen Democrats fighting for attention and survival will generate lots of drama—just as the GOP primary race did in 2016. The survivor of this “screen test” will have the necessary “star quality” to take on Trump. Good luck with that, said Ben Domenech in TheFederalist.com. The idea of a party using its primary season to hash out its ideas and differences sounds so healthy in the abstract. In reality, the process is always “extremely bloody and aggressive,” and the eventual nominee is sure to suffer damage, while the losers’ supporters will be sore. Democrats, it’s “time to welcome you to Thunderdome.” ■