Kamala Harris and Pete Buttigieg remain at the periphery, while lower-polling candidates have largely failed to muster sustained, upward movement in fundraising or polling.
According to interviews with about two dozen Democratic operatives and consultants, there is little reason to expect any of them will.
“It was legitimate to say ‘Top 5’ for a long time, but with the exception of Kamala Harris being at the outer perimeter of the top three … you’d have to have a strange confluence of events for someone outside those four to win,” said Philippe Reines, a longtime Hillary Clinton confidant. “It would require all four failing. Like, you would need all four of them to be in a plane crash or something.”
For every other candidate, Reines said, “It’s too late in the game to keep saying it’s too early.”