Why the Democrats' expanding 2020 field makes an upset more likely

State of the Union.
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Things might chaotic get for the Democrats in 2020, FiveThirtyEight's Nate Silver showed. As more and more candidates enter the running, he argues, the more challenging it will be for establishment Democrats to break through the fold. Silver anticipates the number of "major candidates" landing somewhere between 17 and 24 before all is said and done (though only nine have officially entered the ring at this point), which would constitute the largest primary field in history.

When looking at data back to 1972, Silver considered two things — how many candidates campaigned in each primary and whether or not the party elites were able to push their preferred candidate to the forefront. The table below shows that, historically, the larger the pool, the more likely it has been for a dark horse to secure the nomination, with President Trump's 2016 victory as the most striking example.

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