Why "No Chance" Candidates Can Actually Make a Big Difference.
The presidential candidate that no one talked about in 2016 was Lawrence Lessig. While it may just seem like the antics of a wonkish professor it ended up having an incredible impact on the policy discussion since the 2016 election cycle, in case you forgot, his primary goal was to get the money out of politics.
While it may seem obvious now that the issue of money in politics has rocketed to the forefront of the political dialogue, it wasn't so obvious just a few years ago. It is easy to forget that, while momentum was growing, not many people in the mainstream we're talking about money in politics before the 2016 election cycle. Lessig's campaign forced the Democratic candidates to address this issue head-on to help them dismiss his campaign. While this did clear his campaign out of the way quickly, it also gave that issue a chance to be tested by top-level candidates.
In this case, the candidate that ran with the issue was Senator Bernie Sanders who brought the issue of money in politics from the sidelines of his campaign to the headlines. As Sanders' campaign gained momentum, he carried the issue of money in politics with him until eventually it outpaced the Sanders campaign and grew a life of its own in the mainstream.
Looking forward into 2020, I think we need to take a minute to look at the "no chance" candidates to get a glimpse into some of the policies that might gain popularity in the coming decade. Most notably in this camp is probably Andrew Yang, who is campaigning actively on the idea of a Universal Basic income, which has a cult following of its own. Perhaps that will be the next big idea to enter the public thought, only time will tell.