Will The Democrats Repeat The 2016 GOP Primary In 2020?

Noticed there is a 2020 democratic primary thread just below this one…but I wanted to focus on a specific question:

In 2016 the GOP primaries had so many candidates they couldn’t all be placed on the same stage (remember those laughable “Kiddie Table” Debates?). There’s plenty of evidence to show that the large field gave Trump the path he needed because all of the other candidates split the vote, leaving Trump on top. Could the same thing happen to the democrats in 2020? I hear there may be a similar number of candidates for 2020 to what the GOP had in 2016…so two questions:

  1. Will there be that many candidates? and
  2. Will so many candidates pave the way for a Bernie Sanders-type to slip through and grab the nomination?

To the second point, no. I’ve repeatedly pointed out in these forums that all Democratic primaries and caucuses allocate delegates proportionally. There are no winner take all or winner take most states such as the Republicans have. That allowed Trump to stockpile delegates while winning with a small plurality.

I think there will be a large field of candidates for the first couple of debates that should occur in late summer of next year, but it’ll thin out quicker. The Democrats aren’t going to have any Ben Carsons who was more interested in selling books and boosting his value on the speaking circuit than running for president.

And he was never heard from again…

I went through the primary votes for the 2016 Republican contest, once. In my estimation, looking at how things resulted based on who was missing from a vote, who had a local advantage, etc. and so who the votes moved away from or to, there were two voting buckets:

  1. Business
  2. Latino / Traditional Republican

Trump and Kasich split group 1, with Trump the clear preference. Cruz and Rubio split the second about evenly.

Group 1, added together, always did slightly better than group 2. And, as noted, Trump was the most popular in group 1 by a large margin.

My initial estimate was the same as the OP, that the divided field let Trump win. But once I actually went through the numbers I think that, unfortunately, he was the leader at all times.

On the other hand, my analysis that he won the Presidency on the basis that people simply voted a straight line, because both candidates sucked, and that allowed Trump to win with the exact same map as the House - i.e. the partisan layout of the map - does seem to be true.

IMHO it was more like Trump was his own group, and that initially at least the business voters were divided between Kasich, Christie, and Jeb in the early parts of the race, allowing Trump to go through. In a world where Christie and Jeb don’t run we might have a president Kasich.

There is one exception: if the field is so crowded that only one candidate gets at least 15% in a district/statewide, then that candidate wins all of the corresponding delegates.

2020 Democratic Party Delegate Selection Process rule 14b:
“States shall allocate district-level delegates and alternates in proportion to the percentage of the primary or caucus vote won in that district by each preference, except that preferences falling below a fifteen percent (15%) threshold shall not be awarded any delegates. Subject to section F. of this rule, no state shall have a threshold above or below fifteen percent (15%). States which use a caucus/convention system, shall specify in their Delegate Selection Plans the caucus level at which such percentages shall be determined.”
(“Section F” says that if no candidate gets at least 15%, the threshhold is half of what the winner got.)