The Democratic Party is prepared to accommodate up to 40 presidential hopefuls, and is planning two upcoming presidential debates in June to include quite a crowd. But why do so many virtually unknown hopefuls — who may garner 1% of the vote — jump in the race?

“Underdog candidates keep piling into this race at such a clip that they’re beginning to dominate it,” writes David Catanese, senior political writer for U.S. News and World Report, citing such candidates as Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, Govs. Jay Inslee of Washington and John Hickenlooper of Colorado, plus South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg.

“The rationale? The field is wide open, there’s no candidate imposing enough to scare anyone off and the media environment constantly rewards a fresh storyline. If he or she can do it, why not me?” says Mr. Catanese.

There’s buzz involved. And opportunity.

“Running for president is also akin to enduring the highest-profile, longest-running job interview possible. Inslee might not become president, but he could very well make an optimal chief of the Environmental Protection Agency in a Democratic administration. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii, another 1 percenter, could morph into a compelling cable news commentator, as so many other losing politicians have done. Buttigieg could be listed as a vice presidential prospect. And if the ultimate Democratic nominee loses, he’d be at the top of the list for another shot in 2024, when he’d be over the age of 40. A consolation prize: Wide enough name recognition and ample respect to become a top gubernatorial or U.S. Senate recruit back home in Indiana. Already he’s made himself part of the Democratic Party’s future, even if next year he isn’t elected president,” Mr. Catanese said.

“Barring scandal, one emerges from the process better-known and more marketable than they did going in. But some of this is explained by pure ego. The celebritized and romantic nature of our politics is regularly telling people anyone can rise from nearly anywhere and become president. The 2020 field is proving some people actually believe it,” he said.


A new poll suggest that Americans have not forgotten about Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server while she was secretary of state.

A new Economist/YouGov survey finds that three fourths of the public — 74% — still deem this practice a “serious” matter. The wide-ranging poll is current, conducted March 25-26. Find more numbers in the Poll du Jour at column’s end.


Full of third party zeal, the Libertarian Party is planning its 2020 convention. Of particular interest is the theme of the event, to be staged in Austin, Texas, next May. Party members suggested 63 different theme ideas, including “Don’t mess with anyone” and “Taxation is theft” — and have been voting on their favorites for weeks.

It’s boiled down to the Final Four.

In the lead is “TANSTAAFL,” an acronym which stands for “There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch” — which means you can’t get something for nothing. In second place is “Ancapistan,” symbolizing a kind of mythical locale which adheres to the Libertarian belief system of Anarcho-Capitalism. In third place is the more self-explanatory “Building Bridges, not Walls,” and finally, “Keep the Libertarian Party weird” in a close fourth place.

The thrifty Libertarians also charged each member $5 to vote — and now say they have raised $17,156, which will go toward convention expenses.


“Trump is turning NATO into a viable military force,” writes Adam Kredo, national security writer for The Washington Free Beacon, citing remarks made by Vice President Mike Pence to a gathering of NATO members this week.

“We released a National Security Strategy advancing peace through American strength,” We initiated the modernization of our nuclear arsenal. And in January of this year, President Trump unveiled our nation’s new strategy for missile defense,” Mr. Pence said.

“Together with our NATO partners, we created the Very High Readiness Joint Task Force to prepare combat-ready battle groups to be able to move into the Baltics and Poland within days. We began the four 30s initiative — which, by 2020, aims to ready 30 mechanized battalions, 30 air squadrons, and 30 warships for deployment within 30 days,” the vice president said.

“The good news is, at President Trump’s urging, our NATO allies have promised more than $100 billion in additional defense spending, more of our NATO allies are meeting the two percent commitment, and the majority of NATO members now have plans in place to meet their financial obligations by 2024,” Mr. Pence said


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• 74% of Americans say Hillary Clinton’s use of a personal email to conduct government business while secretary of state is a “serious” problem; 81% of Republicans, 70% on independents and 73% of Democrats agree.

• 59% say the practice was “illegal”; 68% of Republicans, 61% on independents and 49% of Democrats agree.

• 28% overall are unsure if the email was illegal or not; 22% of Republicans, 28% on independents and 34% of Democrats agree.

• 15% overall say her use of personal email is not serious; 10% of Republicans, 14% on independents and 20% of Democrats agree.

• 12% overall say her use of a personal email was “legal”; 9% of Republicans, 11% on independents and 17% of Democrats agree.

Source: An Economist/YouGov poll of 1,500 U.S. adults conducted March 24-26.

Kindly follow Jennifer Harper on Twitter @HarperBulletin

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