Whom will the Democrats pick to face Donald Trump in 2020? Polls this early don’t matter much: They just tell you who is well-known. Early money doesn’t ensure anything either, although the 2016 Republican race showed how quickly candidates without a huge fundraising base can go broke and drop out months before the voting starts. Endorsements hardly matter at all when there are still this many candidates, and they matter a lot less now that the Democrats have stripped most of the power from elected superdelegates. Instead, the ability to pull ahead in five lanes will decide who leads the field: race and gender; age and familiarity; anger; ideology; and the Midwest question.
Who’s In, Who’s Out
It’s early yet. Nobody in March 2015 expected Donald Trump to crash a similarly overpopulated Republican field. But the crowd on the fence is dwindling quickly, as pressure mounts to be in or out. At this writing, there are 13 “major” candidates in the race, and I count six others who are at least semi-seriously mulling a run, which could leave the Democrats with a field as large as or larger than the ridiculous 17-candidate Republican field in 2016.