Is There Such a Thing as Too Many Presidential Candidates? Absolutely!
If this week’s Democratic debates are teaching us anything, it’s that there’s definitely such a thing as too many presidential candidates.
Have you decided which Democratic candidate is the real frontrunner? Well, since there are so many presidential candidates for that party, you still have another night of debates before you can rationally make such a decision.
There’s definitely such a thing as too many presidential candidates.
How many is too many? There should never be more than 10 in my book. And even 10 is far too many to reach voters.
I’ve listened and read comments across social media. There are candidates who are appearing on stage at the Democratic debates that some voters have never heard of. The debate shouldn’t be the first place voters hear about a candidate. But at the same time, you can’t expect an electorate that is often unwilling to even show up at the polls on Election Day to research that many people.
The Democratic National Committee announced earlier this month that there would be qualifications candidates must meet to appear in the debate at all: they had to have either 65,000 unique contributors or have received at least 1% in three separate polls from news and polling organizations approved by the DNC. Even so, the limit for the total number of candidates who’d reach the stage was set at 20.
Once that number was surpassed, the DNC said it would use a combination of the two to narrow the field. But twenty isn’t a narrow field at all.
How can anyone honestly expect to get a detailed message to the voters when time is having to be divided between so many people?
No one reasonably can expect any such thing.
For night one of the debate, The New York Times claimed there was “no standout moment for any of the 10 candidates,” but added that “no one suffered real damage either.” It claimed Julian Castro, whom it called a “middling performer since January,” won the night. Also, it said there were several candidates who needed big nights but didn’t get them because their “long-winded answers didn’t play well in such a rat-a-tat debate format.”
The rat-a-tat debate format is certainly necessary when there are so many candidates. And granted, it may be appealing to get “straight to the point” answers from our potential leaders. But we should want more detailed answers. We should want to hear more from the people hoping to be the next occupant of the White House.
This isn’t a Democrat-only problem, of course. In 2016, there were far too many Republican candidates.
I’m all for inclusion, I’m happy to see that there’s a lot of diversity among the candidates.
But when there are that many, no one has enough of an opportunity to stand out.
It’s time the parties sat down with all of these people to create a better, stronger, more unified platform and agree on a fewer number of people who can reach the voters — and then get more people behind those people.
That’d give more time to address real issues rather than wasting so much time giving some candidates their first real introduction at all.