Wait! How Many Candidates are Running for President?

Take a Deep Breath, Democrats. Time to Settle In

Hark! Who Is That Yonder?

Michael Bloomberg and Duvall Patrick find the current Democratic field lacking. But fortunately, they are willing to come to the rescue. I think not, but thanks for the offer. Oh, and former Attorney General Eric Holder is also resurrecting his potential campaign. At least this last one is more rumor than fact – for now. So, no further discussion here of Holder today.

Let me say at the outset that there is a lot to like about both of these other gentlemen.

In spite of a mixed record as mayor (Stop and Frisk, for example will be problem baggage), Bloomberg had a pretty good record as mayor. He clearly knows how to run large, complex organizations. The funds he has given for sensible gun policies have been substantial and well placed, to good effect. As a politician, he was a pretty good Democrat – uh, Republican, – uh, Independent. OK, a Bloombergian.

Duvall Patrick was on my short list a long time ago. Even with the challenge of running another black man for president (Can you believe we still have to say that?), he has much to offer. He is articulate, thoughtful, and has a fine record. I have admired him for a long time. I like him a lot and had hoped he would be an early candidate.

Seeing Some Problems is not the Same as Seeing an Opening

But it makes no sense for either of them to enter now. We are not short of candidates, and good ones at that. Bloomberg is likely to have little more success than Steyer, even with name recognition. Somehow, I just don’t see adding an almost 80-year-old white billionaire to the roster is a winning formula. Not with this party, not now.

He can ask Steyer how having the resources is working out for him. He can ask Rudolph Giuliani how a “Super Tuesday or Bust” strategy worked for him. Besides, his campaign would reek a bit. It might have the aroma of billionaires’ desperation over what a Warren presidency might cost them. They could be down to their last few billion – a risk that voters by a wide margin think is way overdue.

Duvall lacks the organization and resources to get into the fray. Most of the talent needed for such a run is already spoken for, even with more candidates likely to drop out shortly. He is a serious man but is showing up too late with not enough to break out of the pack.

Take a Deep Breath

People are concerned that no one seems to stand out enough now, that none of them may be able to beat Trump. A fair concern to have, but one I would take with a grain of salt for a couple of reasons.

First, when you have a pack this big, everyone looks smaller. It is inevitable, even with great skills and credentials. Thin the herd dramatically and this will begin to clear itself up. Get down to a candidate and it likely will be hard to remember people thought this was a problem. Second, likely Democratic voters are telling us a couple of very interesting things in repeated nationwide polls. They basically like the field of candidates. Something approaching 65% of them think it’s a good roster to choose from. That is rather remarkable this far out.

A significant number have indicated they would be at least be comfortable supporting alternatives to their favored candidate. Only a few of the top tier candidates have low second choice ratings. Basically, only the Bernie-ites have large numbers that say their way or the highway.

So, my humble advice is to settle down. Let’s cut most of the remaining field as soon as possible. By the first of the year, get in position to settle on a candidate. If someone wants to ride in at the last minute and save us all, they can challenge the likely candidate. They can even do that at the convention, as risky as that can be for party unity. One could make a case that “Candidate X is lacking, I can do better.” It’s a bit more specious to say, “There are 24 losers running, only I can save you.”

Didn’t another candidate recently say, “Only I can fix this.”

No thanks.

      Bill Clontz

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