The FOMO Primary

The race for the Democratic presidential nomination is up to 23 candidates.

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio and his wife Chirlane McCray arrive at "Good Morning America" in New York, Thursday, May 16, 2019. De Blasio announced Thursday that he will seek the Democratic nomination for president, adding his name to an already long list of candidates itching for a chance to take on Donald Trump.
AP Photo/Richard Drew
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Kyle Trygstad
May 16, 2019, 10:39 a.m.

If there was any thought that FOMO was merely a millennial foible, the 2020 Democratic presidential primary field will dispel that notion.

There are a pair of millennials in the race by Pew’s definition (Pete Buttigieg and Tulsi Gabbard). Seven more range from their late 30s to mid-40s, and the rest of the 23 contenders are 50 and older, including the latest one, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio—who is among the candidates seemingly running more out of a fear of missing out than any realistic hope of winning.

While several of the 20 contenders not named Joe Biden who boast elected office experience—seven senators, three governors, six House members, and four mayors—have attractive profiles and reasonable paths to the nomination, for most of them the rugby scrum to face President Trump is self-defeating.

The specter of a popular former vice president entering the race was apparently no deterrent. Nor was the fact that such a wide field is in fact solidifying Biden’s front-runner status—reminiscent of the 2016 Republican primary.

Whatever their reason for running, it’s clear no one wanted to miss the party.

-- Kyle Trygstad


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