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The common reason why the 2016 Democratic Primary had so few candidates seems to be because no one wanted to go up against Hillary. But I’m not totally sold on this. Polling I’ve seen shows she really only had name recognition and that is it.

Enthusiasm for her seemed constantly low. Is there another reason to explain the low number of Democratic candidates for the 2016 presidential election compared with say 2020 or 2008?

  • Comments deleted. Please don't answer the question with comments. If you would like to answer, please write a proper answer which adheres to out quality standards. – Philipp Apr 10 at 9:21
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Prior to actually running, Hillary went around to all the potential candidates and asked them not to run. She arranged with the party funders and other influencers to get their support and endorsement. This kept potentially stronger candidates like Elizabeth Warren and Joe Biden out of the race.

Remember that Bernie Sanders originally ran less to win than to convince the Democrats to make changes to their platform. It was only over time and viewing the substantial support available that he took the possibility of winning more seriously.

It's also worth noting that prior to running, her support was much stronger. As recently as 2013, she had a general approval rating (among all voters) of around 65%. As recently as 2015, she had an approval rating among Democrats of 86%. It wasn't until Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump started seriously criticizing her that her approval rating fell to the low levels (less than 50% and 77% respectively). She also may have been hurt among independents and moderate Republicans by rejecting the Bill Clinton legacy of moderation in favor of a more Sanders-like platform. Of course, she also faced Donald Trump who was himself rather unpopular.

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    Could you send a source on her asking people not to run? And why would they listen? With how slimy politics is it seems odd anyone would honor that request. – spmoose Apr 10 at 3:19
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    Note the next line, "She arranged with the party funders and other influencers to get their support and endorsement." So other candidates would go to the same people and ask if they would be supported in a run and get told no. – Brythan Apr 10 at 3:25
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    The first paragraph really needs a citation. Without one it might give the impression that the answer is just parroting anti-Hillary campaign propaganda. – Philipp Apr 10 at 9:23
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    @Philipp Err...what "anti-Hillary...propaganda"? I'm saying that she did the hard work of lining up supporters well in advance. While I am anti-Hillary, that's actually one of the things that she did correctly. If anything, it is pro-Hillary propaganda. – Brythan Apr 10 at 10:29

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