Too many horses in this race?

Is it just me or is it getting difficult to keep track of who's in the mix this Presidential campaign?

Just on the Republican side: Rubio, Walker, Perry, Fiorina, Santorum, Bush, Graham, Christie, Jindal, Huckabee, Bush, Cruz, Pataki, Kasich, Carson, Paul. So many Republicans that Fox News will have to cut some of them off the stage for the first campaign debate on August 6th in Cleveland.

On the Democratic side: Clinton, Sanders, O'Malley, Chafee. And that's just so far.

Why are all these people running for President?

And why are some of them even bothering, given the fact they're such long shots?

The reasons are all over the place, but remember this: long shots win sometimes. Barack Obama wasn't the favorite back in 2008; political types thought Hillary Clinton had the inside track. But that's not how it worked out. So one reason even apparent long shots run is because they believe they can win.

Another reason candidates run is to move their parties on the issues. Senator Rand Paul wants the GOP to move away from a hawkish foreign policy; Lindsey Graham wants American boots on the ground in the Middle East. Running for president gives them a chance to push party platforms in different directions, forcing the eventual nominee to run on the positions they support.

A White House bid for an also-ran is also a chance to audition for Vice President. Let's say Martin O'Malley doesn't have a chance against Clinton. But if he campaigns well he could be seen as a strong running mate.

And who's to say Hillary is a shoe-in, anyway? A couple stumbles in early primary and caucus states, an unexpectedly strong showing by one of her rivals, and the storyline of the campaign can change quickly. The political winds are fickle.

So it isn't all vanity, and not all of these candidates are delusional.

Speaking of which, almost forgot to mention: Donald Trump.

Some 15 Republicans so far, with a few more likely to enter the field.

And even though Hillary Clinton appears to be a prohibitive favorite so far, there are three other Democrats facing her.

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