The Corner

Elections

Kamala Harris Departed the Race. What Is Everybody Else’s Excuse?

Senator Kamala Harris speaks to reporters after the fourth U.S. Democratic presidential candidates 2020 election debate in Ohio, October 15, 2019. (Aaron Josefczyk/Reuters)

With Kamala Harris departing the race . . . should everybody who was polling below her depart as well?

Going back several cycles, I have not been a big fan of presidential candidates who are struggling along at asterisk level, who have clearly failed to catch fire but continue to campaign because they refuse to accept the obvious. I realize other people may prefer seeing those longest-of-longshot candidates continue, like their campaign staffers, the folks who rent rooms at the Holiday Inn in Iowa and New Hampshire, and local television stations that need someone to interview for the early news between the weather and crime reports. But after you’ve heard Jim Gilmore insist he’s going to win the New Hampshire primary after getting twelve votes in the entire Iowa caucus, treating no-hope candidates as if they still have a shot starts to feel like we’re all enabling delusional people and playing along with their denial.

John Delaney? Senator Michael Bennet? Guys, I don’t know how to break it to you, but most people forgot you were running. Julian Castro? Sorry, pal. On paper, you had a shot, but in reality, people just weren’t interested in buying what you were selling. Tom Steyer? It’s your money, but most Democrats would prefer you spent it in other ways, and the longer you hang around, the more they’ll see you as a fool using up valuable resources on a narcissistic Quixotic effort.

Marianne Williamson? You were a hoot, but very few Democrats or independents want to make you the next president.

Tulsi Gabbard? You’re offering something dramatically different from the usual Democratic candidate, but 26 percent of Democrats feel unfavorably about you, among the highest in the field. In the last debate, you said the Democratic party is “a party that has been and continues to be influenced by the foreign policy establishment in Washington, represented by Hillary Clinton and others’ foreign policy, by the military industrial complex, and other greedy corporate interests.” You’re not getting the nomination and you’re not steering the party’s policies in your direction. If neither of those goals are achievable . . . why are you running? But hey, you outlasted Harris.

Andrew Yang is technically below Harris nationally but not by much, and he’s at least a pleasant guy who’s discussing topics that deserve more attention, like the impact of automation on our economy. Amy Klobuchar, Cory Booker, you’re on the bubble. Deval Patrick, you’ve got a lot of ground to make up fast.

This primary is a race among Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren (though she’s sinking fast), and Pete Buttigieg, with Mike Bloomberg spending a bundle and waiting for everyone else to falter.

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