Some two dozen people are running for president in 2020 as Democrats.
The crowded field includes:
Former President Barack Obama’s vice president, Joe Biden.
Eight senators, Kamala Harris, California; Cory Booker, New Jersey; Elizabeth Warren, Massachusetts; Amy Klobuchar, Minnesota; Bernie Sanders, Vermont; Kirsten Gillibrand, New York; Mike Gravel, Alaska; and Michael Bennet, Colorodo.
Three governors, Jay Inslee, Washington; John Hickenlooper, Colorado; and Steve Bullock, Montana.
Six current or former members of Congress: John Delany, Maryland; Tulsi Gabbard, Hawaii; Beto O’Rourke, Texas; Tim Ryan, Ohio; Eric Swalwell, California; and Seth Moulton, Massachusetts.
Four current or former mayors: Julian Castro, San Antonio; Wayne Messam, Miramar, Fla.; Pete Buttigieg, South Bend, Ind.; and Bill de Blasio, New York.
A New Age author, Marianne Williamson.
An entrepreneur, Andrew Yang.
There also is no lack of ideas. Yang would give government money to people who lose their jobs to robots. Messam would cancel all student debt. Gillibrand would give paid parental leave to all. Booker would give every newborn a savings bond.
Here’s our problem. How will the Democrats “narrow” the field? They will do so by counting poll responses and donations.
In order to qualify for the first series of debates, a candidate must register 1 percent in the polls and have 65,000 donors. By August, in order to make the debate stage, a candidate must have 2 percent in the polls and 130,000 donors.
Now, if there is one thing that the 2016 election should have taught us — it is that the polls can be wrong. There also is something not quite right with treating a poll response the same way as a vote.
It is hard to see the harm in letting everyone in. Stretch any debate into a second night. Political “reforms” over the past half-century have made it easier for unknowns to get elected.
Here would be the biggest reform of all — an electorate willing to watch candidates over several nights and become informed on the issues.