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US elections: Why there are so many candidates running for president

An unprecedented rise in the number of presidential candidates running for 2020 has raised many queries

US, US democracy, US middle term vote
Illustration: Binay Sinha

Seven Democratic presidential candidates gathered on national television early in the 1988 campaign to debate each other. The field of candidates, derided by Republicans as the “Seven Dwarfs,” pales in comparison to the 24 Democratic candidates who have – at last count – declared their candidacy for president. The seven Democrats on the stage in 1988 represented an unprecedented number of candidates vying in a presidential primary. Now, 17 of the 24 declared Democratic presidential candidates have currently met the standards set by the Democratic National ...