It’s official: Tim Ryan has quit the 2020 race for the White House. It’s shocking news – not that he has dropped out, of course, but that he was running in the first place and might have actually thought he could win.
Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH) campaigned as a more moderate alternative to the big-name progressives like Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Bernie Sanders (I-VT). That might have worked out better for him had he not had to compete with a former vice president for that same group of “working-class voters.” However, the moderate path is not in vogue these days with the Democratic Party, and there is only so much room for a “sensible Democrat” in the limelight.
To make matters worse, Rep. Ryan didn’t exactly stand out at either of the first two debates. And, since he failed to really shine in a debate – or, for that matter, in his campaign in general – he just didn’t pull the 2% in four qualifying polls or the 130,000 unique donors required to qualify for the third or fourth debates. Sitting those out plunged him deeper into obscurity, and many simply forgot him.
Rep. Ryan explained his decision by saying he would rather focus on campaigning to keep his House seat in Ohio. At least he is electable there. It should have been abundantly clear he wouldn’t be going toe-to-toe with Trump in 2020 – never mind actually taking the Oval Office from him – when he started missing debates. Ryan now joins a growing list of Democratic Party hopefuls to finally give in and head home – and the list will only get longer as we approach the primary election.
And Then There Were 18
There are still 18 Democrats vying for the chance to do electoral battle with President Trump – and most people have never heard of many of them. So who will be the next to be winnowed from the field?
Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO) is a businessman and lawyer and has been Colorado’s senior US senator since 2009. He is considered a moderate Democrat and is best known for his membership in the Gang of Eight, a bipartisan group that pushed comprehensive immigration reform back in 2013. He has called increased infrastructure spending and supports modernizing the economy by focusing on fields like artificial intelligence. But just like Rep. Ryan, Sen. Bennet failed to qualify for the third and fourth debates and is quickly fading into obscurity.
Having only participated in the second debate, Steve Bullock seems an impossibility. He is and was anti-Trump in a state that overwhelmingly chose Trump in 2016. He came out in favor of an assault weapons ban in a state that prizes hunting more than some on the other side of the Mason-Dixon line. And all this while serving as governor of the state. Yes, Montana has a Democrat for a governor. Will Steve Bullock be the DNC’s next champion? Almost certainly not – but with his record, don’t be surprised if he is one of the last to go, even if few will notice it anyway.
Former Representative and businessman John Delaney doesn’t have much name recognition – and that’s a problem he is well aware of. Despite campaigning fiercely since 2017, Delaney’s campaign just never took off. He admitted himself that “not enough people knew who I was or still know who I am.” And it seems that’s catching up to him, as he did not qualify for either the third or fourth debate. He has billed himself as a bipartisan problem solver, but has endorsed liberal causes, like universal health care.
Wayne Messam is the mayor of Miramar, FL. He has taken progressive stances on immigration, guns, and the environment, and has pushed for canceling all student loan debt. He has not qualified for any of the debates, and it’s unlikely that most people outside his area of Florida know who he is. It is tempting to say he’s the most likely to leave next. But in truth, he is one of the worst performing candidates to date, yet he hangs on. Only Sestak rivals him for missed debates and general obscurity, and unlike Messam, Sestak didn’t enter the race until after the first debate.
John Sestak – a former Navy admiral – was the highest-ranking military officer elected to Congress in 2006. His signature issues are climate change and restoring America’s place in the world. But like Messam, fewer people know who he is than do Delaney. He also has not attended a single debate, though he didn’t enter the race until after the first. Whether he calls it quits or not, Sestak seems unlikely to be remembered by many after the Democratic primary.
Billionaire Tom Steyer is far better recognized than many in the current field of candidates, but name recognition alone is unlikely to be enough for him. He is well known as being an activist for impeachment, gun control, renewable energy, and fighting climate change. He joined the race after the first debates and did not qualify for the next two, but he did manage to drum up the support – both in the polls and donors – to make the last debate. And it looks like he’ll be at the fifth debate as well, showing that as the field narrows, things are looking up for Steyer. The buy-in for this event is 165,000 unique donors with 600 being in 20 different states. Candidates must also reach 3% in four qualifying polls. As of September 23, Steyer had managed the donor requirements and eight qualifying polls. His rise is far from meteoric though, and it’s unlikely he’ll steal the spotlight from Biden, Warren, Sanders, though Buttigieg, Harris, and Booker might be reasonable targets.
Self-help author and new age lecturer Marianne Williamson hopes to be the spiritual leader of the nation some day soon. Williamson called for a moral and spiritual awakening in the country and champions slavery reparations and the rights of gay men with AIDS. She also promised that, should she win the White House, she would take President Andrew Jackson’s portrait down. While she did entertain Americans early on, she has failed to keep up with the increasing difficulty of the debate qualifications. She missed the last two debates, and she is currently at 140,000 donors (25,000 short) and has hit 3% in exactly zero qualifying polls.
The Fifth Debate
The fifth debate takes place on November 20, and there are nine candidates already qualified with a few more getting close. Even without looking at the numbers, we can just about assume Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, and Elizabeth Warren would make it – and they did. One of these three seems almost certainly to be the Democratic opponent of President Trump, but that could all change.
Joining our top three in the fifth debate will be, so far, Kamala Harris, Pete Buttigieg, Tom Steyer, Andrew Yang, Cory Booker, and Amy Klobuchar. Beto O’Rourke’s star may be falling. He has the necessary donors but has so far only achieved 3% two of the required four qualifying polls. Julian Castro and Hillary Clinton’s favorite Russian agent, Tulsi Gabbard, have also met the donor requirements but no the polls. Will these three make it in time, gaining yet another chance in the spotlight to steal the thunder of a Biden, Warren, or Sanders, and how many more candidates will drop between then and now? We’ll see next month.