WASHINGTON - The Democratic Party’s 2020 presidential field continued to grow this week with the formal entry of Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar and Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren.
But a new poll suggests good news for two men who are not yet in the race, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, who ran in 2016, and former Vice President Joe Biden.
The Morning Consult survey found Biden atop the Democratic field with 29 percent support, followed by Sanders at 22 percent and California Senator Kamala Harris in third place at 13 percent. That is good news for Harris, who is among several Democratic newcomers who have launched campaigns in recent days, and she has gained some traction in several recent surveys.
Klobuchar is the latest entrant into the quickly expanding field and she hopes to gain momentum as a moderate, deal-making Democrat who can draw support from working class voters in the Midwest.
“I don’t have a political machine. I don’t come from money. But what I do have is this: I have grit,” Klobuchar said to supporters gathered in a snowstorm Sunday in Minnesota at her official launch.
A day earlier, Warren made her candidacy official before a large crowd gathered in front of a mill building in Lawrence, Massachusetts, a city north of Boston.
Warren emphasized bridging the economic gap in the country between the very wealthy and America’s middle class.
“This is the fight of our lives. The fight to build an America where dreams are possible and an America that works for everyone!”
Another early contender who has been making the rounds in the early caucus state of Iowa is New Jersey Senator Cory Booker. He is emphasizing national unity in his pitch to Democratic voters.
“I am running for president because that garment, that fabric, has been ripped and torn and we must repair it. We must stitch it together, each of us,” Booker told a group of Democrats in Mason City, Iowa.
The Democratic field includes several women and minority candidates and is already shaping up as one of the most varied in history, according to Brookings Institution political scholar Elaine Kamarck.
“A lot of diversity in the field, which reflects what the Democratic Party is today. It is a pretty good field. “You have serious people who are serious about government. I don’t know who will manage to rise above the others. But so far it is a pretty solid field.”
So far, nine Democrats have either officially declared their candidacy or formed a presidential exploratory committee, and several more are expected to join the field in the weeks ahead.
Most of the Democratic contenders hold liberal views on the economy, the environment and social issues. Many, for example, support an approach known as "Medicare for All," which would expand government health care coverage.
Others favor what is known as the "Green New Deal," an environmental program that would emphasize renewable energy sources and drastically move away from fossil fuels.
Analysts say that in a field that could eventually expand to 15 or 20 candidates, the Democratic contenders early on will be looking for ways to set themselves apart from the rest of the field.
“I think the key candidates, the ones who will do well, will have a constituency either in the progressive wing of the party that is really fighting Donald Trump or especially in the African American community,” said John Fortier of the Bipartisan Policy Center in Washington.
The candidate field may be diverse, but grassroots Democratic voters will likely be focused on one key unifying goal, according to University of Virginia expert Larry Sabato.
“When you get right down to it, what is the most important thing to Democrats? If I am to believe what I am hearing, and I do, it is that they want to pick the candidate who has the best chance of beating Donald Trump,” Sabato said via Skype.
For his part, President Trump is eager to bash the Democratic presidential field as too far to the left, as he did at his Monday night border rally in Texas.
“The Democrat Party has never been more outside of the main stream. They are becoming the party of socialism, late-term abortion, open borders and crime,” Trump said to cheers from supporters in El Paso.
More Democrats are expected to join the race in the weeks ahead and that list could include Biden, Sanders, Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown and former Texas congressman Beto O’Rourke.