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The 2020 U.S. Presidential Race: A Cheat Sheet

20 November, 2019

First blood, blood, and poor blood: That’s this week’s story from the presidential race.
Begin with first blood. This day in California, Representative Eric Swalwell ended his race for the Democratic nomination, shocking news to the many Americans who had no idea that he was running in the first location. Swalwell will seek reelection to the U.S. House instead. He’s the first candidate to exit the crowded race.
Swalwell’s effort was quixotic from the beginning, but unlike Cervantes’s hero, he never really journeyed anywhere. Swalwell was not able to construct much name recognition, despite managing to be eligible for the first Democratic debate in June. His most notable moment came early in the second night of the argument, when he contested Joe Biden to hand off the torch to a younger generation. Biden whined Swalwell off; Kamala Harris delivered the punch that Swalwell was hoping to land on the former vice presidentand Swalwell more or less disappeared, ending up using the second-least amount of speaking time of the night, before just Andrew Yang. He had been in danger of not making the next argument, at the end of July.
This is not necessarily an indictment of Swalwell; it is just that it is hard to get attention in this discipline. One common explanation for why long-shot candidates conduct is to raise their own profiles, and perhaps Swalwell did, but according to some Morning checkup survey, 50 percent of voters had never heard of him, with only his House colleague Seth Moulton fared worse.
It speaks well of Swalwell he is able to read the writing on the wall when a lot of his opponents are still feigning illiteracy. While he could be the very first to leave the race, he is likely to be joined by other people before too long. Take John Hickenlooper, the former governor of Colorado, who recently fired a lot of his staff and is attempting a relaunch. After initially seeming to blame his former aides, he told a reporter in Iowa that the real issue was likely the offender. “Certainly the vast majority of the issue with the campaign was me not being as good of a messenger like I want to be, but you can not switch or commerce in a new candidate,” he said. That may be true of the Hickenlooper effort, but voters can switch or trade in–not that a lot of them were at his corner at the first location.
Next, the fresh blood: Even as Swalwell prepares to exit, another Californian, the financier Tom Steyer, may enter the race, my colleague Edward-Isaac Dovere reports. I’ve written in this space multiple times that the area is finally at capacity and will just shrink, and yet new candidates keep appearing. (Hello, Joe Sestak! Nice to see you, Steve Bullock!) Steyer is a fascinating case because he declared back in January that he would not run. Yet despite seeing a field of coiffed white dudes don’t go anywhere, he is seemingly tempted to try his hand anyway.

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