With the announcement by former Vice President Joe Biden on Thursday morning that he was joining the Democratic race for the White House, there are now twenty major candidates in the Democratic primary - a roster which could still grow in the weeks ahead - as the field is already larger than the 17 candidates Republicans put forward to start the 2016 campaign.
"If the total hits 31, the party can open a Baskin-Robbins and name a flavor for each candidate," joked political expert Larry Sabato of the University of Virginia on Twitter.
"You can’t fit all the Democratic primary candidates in one tweet," mused GOP political strategist Frank Luntz.
20 Dem POTUS candidates, and possibly 1-2 more coming (Sen. Michael Bennet of CO? Gov. Steve Bullock of MT?). A record in US history by 3-5. Many of them couldn't get a headline if they paid for it. Not fair but life isn't. #Joe2020— Larry Sabato (@LarrySabato) April 25, 2019
And then there were 20 (in alphabetical order) pic.twitter.com/yjhJDlDO4A— Wolf Blitzer (@wolfblitzer) April 25, 2019
Like the GOP four years ago, the Democratic Party must grapple with how best to hold debates - in 2016, Republicans at times divided the GOP field into two different sessions on the same night.
Democrats will do it differently, holding two nights of debates in order to deal with the crowded field.
The first debate will take place on June 26 and June 27 in Miami, hosted by NBC News. A second debate will be held in Detroit on July 30-31, run by CNN.
In order to qualify for the debate stage in Miami, the Democratic candidates have two options - either register above one percent in certain polls selected by the Democratic National Committee, or raise money from at least 65,000 different people spread over at least 20 states.
Some candidates, like Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), and former HUD Secretary Julian Castro have been struggling to reach the 65,000 mark.
First, candidates must meet ONE of the TWO criteria -- 1% in three polls OR 65,000 unique donors -- they DON'T have to meet BOTH. https://t.co/w7pKzfqoeD— Wyeth Ruthven (@wyethwire) April 25, 2019
I am already so hype for SNL's Democratic primary debate skits— Matt Ziegman (@mziegman) April 25, 2019
Looking back four years ago at how Republicans handled such an unwieldy field, it's more than likely that some of the Democrats now in the race will be winnowed out before the first votes are cast in the Iowa Caucuses, set for Monday February 3, 2020 - that's just nine months from next Friday.
The New Hampshire Primary follows the next week on Tuesday February 11, 2020.
Get used to it - the next election for President is not really very far away.
© 2019 Cox Media Group.