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If there’s been any theme of the 2020 presidential election thus far, it’s that keeping track of the massive number of Democratic presidential candidates has often felt impossible. For most of 2019, Democratic presidential candidates have entered the primary field at a borderline alarming clip. However, in recent months, the opposite trend has overtaken the primary field: A large number of Democratic presidential candidates have suspended their campaigns.
As some Democratic presidential candidates have entirely backed out of the race, others have gained momentum in surprising ways. Some polls have even newly suggested that a small number of Democratic candidates could beat current president Donald J. Trump, who will run again in 2020 (and is facing challenges from within his own party). Here are three updates on this year’s Democratic presidential candidates.
1. Five Democrats dropped out in August
At the start of August, 25 Democratic presidential candidates were vying for the top spot. By the end of August, that number had dwindled down to 20. This drop amounts to a 20 percent reduction in the number of Democratic presidential candidates running in 2020. Among the candidates who dropped out were Mike Gravel, a former Alaskan senator; John Hickenlooper, a former Colorado governor; Jay Inslee, Washington’s current governor; and Seth Moulton, a current Massachusetts representative.
Additionally, current New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand dropped out. At the beginning of the Trump era, few political pundits would have guessed that Gillibrand’s campaign wouldn’t last until 2020 – the well-liked senator was long seen as a leading candidate for 2020. However, as early as May of this year, prominent voices noticed that her campaign wasn’t picking up its expected momentum. Gillibrand nevertheless remains popular in New York, where she won re-election to the Senate in a landslide in 2018.
2. One Democrat has dropped out so far in September
New York mayor Bill DeBlasio made some interesting headlines when he first announced his Democratic presidential campaign in May. Just over four months later, DeBlasio suspended his campaign, but his campaign’s short lifetime surprised nobody who paid attention. At one point during his campaign, a poll among nearly 400 Democratic voters across all of New York state turned up only one voter who supported DeBlasio.
3. Trump has commented on Democratic dropouts
In typical Donald Trump fashion, the current president tweeted about many of the Democratic presidential candidates’ campaign suspensions after they were announced. Although Trump did not tweet about Mike Gravel or Jay Inslee, he was quick to comment about John Hickenlooper, Seth Moulton, Kirsten Gillibrand, and Bill DeBlasio dropping out. He described Hickenlooper’s campaign as “horrible,” mockingly implied that he had never heard of Moulton, and joked that he was “afraid of” Gillibrand.
However, Trump’s tweet in the wake of DeBlasio’s campaign suspension drew by far the largest number of headlines. Since DeBlasio and Trump often battled each other during DeBlasio’s campaign, Trump minced no words upon DeBlasio’s campaign suspension. Trump, in a sarcasm-laden tweet, said that DeBlasio’s campaign had “room for growth” and that its suspension was “shocking.” Trump has long been a resident of New York, the city of which DeBlasio is mayor, though only about 20 percent of the city’s population voted for Trump in 2016.
Which candidates are you most excited about? Sound off in the comments!