CNN informs us that four in five Iowans want some of the Democrats presently running for president to drop out of the race before they caucus in February. That’s fair enough; last I heard, there’s somewhere between 170 and 230 Democrats with active campaigns right now, and only half a dozen are polling above 1%.
And it’s reasonable from the standpoint of the average voter. After all, who has the time to get to know even the major candidates? Besides, it’s not as though there aren’t at least two championing every unique position. For my own reference, I’ve been maintaining a 2020 candidate guidebook to help me keep track of the top thirty or so; I’m quite happy to share it with you.
If we consider only a few aspects of each candidate, I figure it’ll soon become evident which should drop out for the good of the voters.
For example: Despite that John Delaney has been stumping in Iowa for two years now, he’s polling consistently at 2%. He won’t leave the race because, well, he’s been stumping for two years; it would look pretty silly. Besides, his campaign has borrowed most of its money, and it’d be bad business to not see it through until at least the debates. So his staying in is good… for Republicans, because he’s aiming at donations, and every dollar he gets is a dollar the rest of the DNC field doesn’t.
Biden, Sanders, Warren, Buttigeig, Harris, and O’Rourke each are likely to win in early states. Candidates who can generate that loyal a following deserve to have their ten minutes of fame at the convention, if only so the most electorally beneficial Vice President can be chosen. For instance, if Beto can win Texas in the general election, that alone might be enough to keep him around. Kamala Harris, on the other hand, is likely only to carry California, and let’s face it: California’s voting Democrat anyway. I honestly believe she needs to drop out; she brings nothing to the table but her ego.
The entire rest of the field is unlikely to perform well early in the primary season. One or two might score well in the debates, but from a purely electoral standpoint none of the others can justify their continued presence. The lone exception is Tim Ryan, who could possibly deliver Ohio as a VP candidate, so he should stick around too.
Tulsi Gabbard should stay in; she’s as close to a maverick as the ideologues at the DNC will permit. As other names fall, hers can only rise. Andrew Yang is there to present ideas, and he has hundreds; let’s let him present. And Ben Gleib, the comedian, can appeal to younger voters and moderates even if Biden and Sanders drop out — which I figure they might well do.
There’s fifteen others; I see no reason for them to run except to gratify their own egoes. And if there’s one thing we learned from the Republican field in 2016 — Cruz, Rubio, and Kasich all staying in until it was too late — it’s that too much ego can detract from a presidential race.