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Trump Again?: Why An Overcrowded Field Jeopardizes the 2020 Election

This week brought the news that Democratic presidential candidate and California senator Kamala Harris has officially pulled out of the presidential race. Supporters of Harris are quickly flocking to other candidates that they think they could support in the race against our incumbent President Donald Trump. There is certainly no shortage of options, as there are currently a historic fifteen Democratic candidates for President of the United States. Here’s why this is happening, and here’s why it’s a problem.

Many people, especially Democrats, do not and will not support Donald Trump. However, just about every single Democrat who is 35 years old and can talk to a reporter thinks that they personally can beat the incumbent and fix the country. This hatred of Trump is so overwhelming that it’s causing non-Democrats to run under the Democratic party heading, such as Bernie Sanders (famous Independent from Vermont) and Michael Bloomberg (former New York City mayor and former Republican). Everyone thinks that they can beat Donald Trump, but that’s why the over-saturation of the Democratic field is such an issue.

Democrats (or even just those who don’t support Trump) are extremely divided. Not only on what candidate they’ll support in the primaries, but also on what they’ll do if their candidate doesn’t win the nomination. Many people have been using the phrase “blue no matter who,” meaning that they’ll support whatever Democrat wins the presidential nomination. However, other people don’t subscribe to this unwavering and unconditional support of the DNC (Democratic National Committee), and plan on voting third party or not voting at all if their preferred candidate doesn’t win the nomination. This is causing major strife within the Democratic party.

Ultimately, there are too many candidates who are frankly much too optimistic about their probability of winning the Democratic nomination. Looking at this graph from the New York Times, there are many candidates who are polling at less than 1%. Only three candidates are polling at more than 10%, and all three could be polling higher if the other twelve candidates made the smart decision and dropped out. If the field becomes smaller now, it gives Democrats more time to decide which candidate they are willing to support, and more time to read up on the issues that matter to them.

If the Democrats cannot manage to unite on one candidate (or even narrow the field down to a few strong candidates), there is a strong possibility that Donald Trump will win the 2020 election. If you’re voting, keep yourself informed: watch the news and read up on what issues matter to you. In the meantime, make sure to watch the Saturday Night Live spoofs of a Democratic debate and a Democratic town hall to keep yourself laughing through these chaotic times.

Reilly Shingler is a junior at Ithaca College majoring in politics with a minor in education studies. She is the treasurer of Ithaca's chapter of HerCampus and is also on the executive board for Ithaca's chapter of Planned Parenthood: Generation Action, a college level offshoot of Planned Parenthood that focuses on activism and reproductive justice on college campuses. She can usually be found watching TikToks/anything that contains Andy Samberg or Matthew Grey Gubler, playing ukulele, or reposting social justice infographics onto her Instagram story. Capricorn ☀ Aquarius ☾ Pisces ↑
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