Can the primaries start yet?

By Matthew Soderberg | Sports Contributor

With the third Democratic primary debate in the books, I feel like it’s time to take a look at the field. There weren’t necessarily any bad performances, but some of these candidates have been running a poorly rated show since they got on the trail.

The country is still a little over four and a half months from the first crucial deadline of this election season, that is the Iowa Caucus on February 3. Still though, the race has been ramping up and drawing massive coverage from both sides of the news, so why does it seem like it’s getting ready to get even messier?

Billionaire Tom Steyer is set to be added to the next debate in October. Why? What will he bring that Andrew Yang and Howard Schultz haven’t? I understand that by some metric, he qualified for the debate, but at a certain point shouldn’t the Democratic National Committee just lock everyone else out?

I don’t have an issue with Steyer, though. He’s a decent enough candidate. But he shouldn’t be allowed to add to this mud-ridden horserace. It’s like when you’re building a house of cards. It’s a delicate procedure, everything has to be perfectly placed without any disruption. This is a blatant disruption.

The candidates are already arguing like they’re going through a bitter divorce. And for some, this probably feels like it. The Democratic ideology has split, with former VP Joe Biden on one side, and progressive leaders like Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders staunchly on the other.

Biden represents the past, the Democrats clinging onto a time before Trump, simply hoping to return to the normalcy of the Obama administration. Sen. Amy Klobuchar easily falls into this category as well.

Warren and Bernie have been on stage together at each debate, practically refusing to argue with each other as their base grows together. That’s probably their best tactic anyway: build up each other so that when the time comes for one of them to drop out, the leader of the two will simply pick up the other’s votes.

Then there are the candidates straddling the line. Sen. Kamala Harris and Cory Booker are up and comers in the party. Former State Rep. Beto O’Rourke and former Housing Secretary Julián Castro are the candidates linking Texas Dems to the national stage. Finally, the outsiders: Mayor of South Bend, Indiana Pete Buttigieg, along with entrepreneur Andrew Yang.

If I had to guess, there are about five candidates who have legitimate shots at the presidency. That would leave Tom Steyer, Andrew Yang, Mayor Pete, Beto, Castro and Klobuchar on the outside looking in by at least the end of February.

But why wait? I would think they could tell they haven’t gained a collective point in the polls since July. Beto will continue to be held up as long as he is the martyr of gun control, though. And Mayor Pete and Andrew Yang are intriguing enough for the national media to want to keep them on stage.

My main worry as a voter is that the crowd will stay too watered down through the new year — that the attacks on the members of their own party will damage their reputations to an irreparable state, allowing Trump to gain a second term. Because as Cory Booker and Mayor Pete and others have stated throughout the process, any of them will be better a blessing compared to media mogul residing at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. currently.

The Iowa Caucus isn’t until Feb. 3. That still gives plenty of time to iron out the details, but in my opinion, it’s time to start finding out who could actually be the president, rather than just watching a bunch of people bicker about why the others can’t.