The Corner

Elections

Seth Moulton, We Hardly Knew Ye. And That’s Okay, Really.

Congressman Seth Moulton, D., Mass., speaks in Bow, N.H., July 28, 2018. (Brian Snyder/Reuters)

BREAKING NEWS: Congressman Seth Moulton, Democrat of Massachusetts, is ending his campaign for president.

EVEN MORE BREAKING NEWS: Congressman Seth Moulton was running for president.

He’s ending his campaign with a warning to his party, telling the New York Times, “I’ve always said that veering too far left could result in us losing this election, and that Trump will be harder to beat than most people think.”

Moulton didn’t qualify for either of the first two debates, and as a result, many Americans never even knew he was running. He laments that the Democratic party’s presidential race isn’t focusing enough on issues relating to veterans and the military. He’s probably right, but the fact remains that if likely Democratic presidential primary voters wanted more discussion of issues relating to veterans and the military, they would get more discussion of those issues.

Back in May, I wrote, “On paper, a Marine combat veteran of Iraq who challenged Nancy Pelosi and who’s focusing on national security should stand out in this field. Then again, that was more or less the persona and pitch of Wesley Clark in 2004, and he flopped.”

With the departure of John Hickenlooper, Jay Inslee and now Moulton in a little more than a week, permit me to note that a few months earlier, I wrote to the late-announcing candidates, “No one else will say this to you, so I will say it. There’s no need for you to “throw your hat into the ring” or “dip your toe into the water” or form an exploratory committee. Despite the polite nods of your staff and the vaguely positive mumbled responses from your family at the dinner table, there really isn’t a mass of Democrats clamoring for you to enter the race. There are no Democratic primary voters looking at the 17 announced candidates and lamenting, “I just feel like I don’t have enough options . . . Stop believing that you’ll build name ID once you’re running. [John] Delaney’s been running for president since 2017 and he’s still getting less noticed than some people in the Witness Protection Program.”

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