First blood, fresh blood, and poor blood: That’s this week’s story from the presidential race.
Start with first blood. This afternoon in California, Representative Eric Swalwell ended his race for the Democratic nomination, shocking news to many Americans who had no idea that he had been operating in the first location. Swalwell will seek reelection to the U.S. House instead. He’s the first candidate to exit the race.
Swalwell’s campaign was quixotic from the start, but unlike Cervantes’s hero, he never really journeyed anywhere. Swalwell was unable to construct much name recognition, even though managing to qualify for the very first Democratic debate in June. His most prominent moment came in the second night of that argument, when he challenged Joe Biden to hand off the torch to a younger generation. Biden laughed Swalwell off; Kamala Harris delivered the punch that Swalwell had been hoping to land on the former vice president; and Swalwell more or less disappeared, ending up using all the second-least amount of speaking time of the night, before only Andrew Yang. He had been at risk of not making the next argument, at the end of July.
This is not necessarily an indictment of Swalwell; it’s just that it is hard to get focus in this discipline. 1 common explanation for why long-shot candidates run would be to increase their own profiles, and perhaps Swalwell failed, but based on some Morning Consult poll, 50 percent of voters had never heard of him, with only his House colleague Seth Moulton faring worse.
It speaks well of Swalwell that he can read the writing on the wall if many of his rivals are still feigning illiteracy. While he could be the very first to leave the race, he’s likely to be joined by others before too long. Require John Hickenlooper, the former governor of Colorado, who recently fired a lot of his staff and is attempting a relaunch. After initially appearing to blame his former aides, he told a reporter in Iowa that the real issue was likely the offender. “Surely the vast bulk of the problem with the effort was not being as good of a messenger as I want to be, but you can’t change or trade in a new offender,” he said. Which could be true of the Hickenlooper effort, but voters can change or exchange in–maybe not that many of them were at his corner in the first location.
Next, the new 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 area multiple times that the field is finally at capacity and will only psychologist, and new candidates keep appearing. (Hello, Joe Sestak! Nice to see you, Steve Bullock!) Steyer is a fascinating case because he announced back in January that he would not run. Yet despite watching a field of neatly coiffed white dudes fail to go anywhere, he’s seemingly tempted to try his hand anyway.
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