Many people think that the Republican Party, and its field of 17 candidates, is the biggest political circus heading into 2016.  However, while not nearly as populated, the current Democrat field is full of some interesting characters and story lines as well.  The Democratic primary, in many ways, is shaping up to be just as brutal as the Republican primary.

The conventional wisdom has been that the 2016 Democratic Primary will be a coronation for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.  Unfortunately for Hillary Clinton, the same thing was said to be true in 2008.  As for her 2016 run, her favorability has plummeted from a peak of 66% to around 43%.  Additionally, even though her campaign has barely started, 46% have an unfavorable view of her as well.  To add more worry to the Clinton camp, a surging Bernie Sanders has given the “inevitable” Clinton’s campaign staffers a bit of a scare.

However, Hillary may have a bigger problem: inspectors general for both the intelligence community and State Department have asked the Justice Department to open an investigation into the potential mishandling of classified information on Hillary’s private email server.  Four e-mails out of a randomly selected forty from the total 30,000 emails given to investigators were found to have contained classified information.

As for Bernie Sanders, the self-declared socialist senator from Vermont has been taking his message to willing left-wing audiences.   He gives  speeches in buildings with signs that say “​All foreign-made vehicles park in designated area in rear of building.”  The discovery that he wrote sexual fantasy essays in the 1970’s has become a quintessential “imagine if a Republican said and or wrote that” moment.  Sanders also supports rising the minimum wage to $15 per hour, but only pays his interns $12 per hour.  When Congress held a prayer vigil for the victims of the Charleston shooting, Sanders held a loud rally about pensions within shouting distance of the vigil.

Another Democratic candidate, the previously-mentioned Martin O’Malley, is also not in great shape.  The former rain taxing governor of Maryland and Mayor of Baltimore, Martin O’Malley was shouted down at the recent Netroots Nation conference, and was forced to apologize for committing the crime of saying “All Lives Matter.”  O’Malley, the former governor of one of bluest states in the country, was so unpopular that Maryland elected a Republican last November.

Lincoln Chafee may be polling at under 1%, but that has not stopped the former governor and senator from Rhode Island from making his own gaffes.  Chafee, who spent the first part of his career (for some reason) as a Republican, later became an Independent and eventually a Democrat.  Chafee’s campaign got off to a rocky start when his campaign staff lost the password for the campaign’s Facebook page.  Additionally, he has been campaigning on policy ideas such as the adoption of the metric system (yes, you read that correctly), and is also well known for advocating the use of the phrase “Holiday tree” over the term “Christmas tree,”  because the word “Christmas” is just too exclusive of other religions.  How can a man who is that politically correct effectively confront ISIS or other radical Islamic threats?

Jim Webb is running as the anti-left wing candidate.  Webb gets most of his left-wing credentials for his vocal opposition to the Iraq War.  Outside of politics, Webb graduated from the Naval Academy and received the Navy Cross in Vietnam.  Despite campaigning as the moderate in the Democratic field, however, the former Virginia Senator voted for Obamacare.  He has since expressed that he has regrets about the law and the process used to pass it.  Webb also voted for the massive stimulus in 2009, and has voted 85% of the time with Harry Reid.

So, to recap, here is what the Democrat’s field looks like thus far:

  • A former Secretary of State whose private e-mail is being investigated by the FBI, and whose poll numbers go down every time she speaks.
  • A candidate who writes bizarre, disturbing, and disgusting essays about sexual rape fantasies, has no self-awareness, and who’s hair always looks like he just got out of bed.
  • Another candidate who folded easier than a cheap lawn chair after saying “All Lives Matter.”
  • A fourth who won’t call a Christmas tree a Christmas tree, and whose campaign news headlines have been dominated not by a jobs plan, foreign policy, or tax plans, but by the metric system.
  • A Vietnam veteran who was Ronald Reagan’s Secretary of the Navy, says Democrats were to blame and content to let North Vietnam conquer Saigon, and who has openly expressed contempt for Vietnam War protesters and other anti-Vietnam opinion holders.

To add insult to injury, the field itself is ironic: the party whose members decry the GOP as defending “old white men” has, so far, five candidates, four of which are men with an average age of over 64.  Hillary is 67.

The 2016 Democratic field may be small by comparison, but it’s already becoming a circus.  There will be plenty of opportunities for Republicans to gather great material on the eventual Democratic nominee and gain the upper hand heading into 2016.