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

20 November, 2019

First blood, fresh blood, and bad blood: That’s this week’s narrative in the presidential race.
Start with blood. This afternoon in California, Representative Eric Swalwell finished his race for the Democratic nomination, shocking news to the many Americans who had no idea he was operating in the first location. Swalwell will seek reelection to the U.S. House instead. He is the primary candidate to exit the race.
Swalwell’s effort was quixotic from the beginning, but unlike Cervantes’s hero, he never really journeyed anywhere. Swalwell was unable to build 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 the debate, when he contested Joe Biden to hand off the torch to a younger generation. Biden laughed Swalwell off; Kamala Harris delivered the punch that Swalwell was hoping to land on the former vice presidentand Swalwell much more or less vanished, ending up using all the second-least amount of talking time of the night, before just Andrew Yang. He was at risk of not making the second debate, in the end of July.
This isn’t necessarily an indictment of Swalwell; it is just that it’s difficult to get attention in this discipline. One common explanation for why long-shot candidates run would be to raise their profiles, and possibly Swalwell did, but according to a Morning Consult poll, 50 percent of respondents had never heard of himwith just his House colleague Seth Moulton faring worse.
It speaks well of Swalwell he can read the writing on the wall when a lot of his opponents are still feigning illiteracy. While he may be the very first to leave the race, he is very likely to be joined by other people before too long. Require John Hickenlooper, the former governor of Colorado, who recently fired much of his staff and is attempting a relaunch. After initially seeming to attribute his former aides, he told a reporter in Iowa that the real issue was probably the offender. “Surely the huge bulk of the problem with the effort was not being as great of a messenger like I need to be, however you can not change or commerce in a new candidate,” he said. Which may be true of this Hickenlooper campaign, but voters can switch or exchange in–maybe not that many of them were at his corner at the first place.
Then, the new blood: Even as Swalwell prepares to depart, another Californian, the financier Tom Steyer, will enter the race, my colleague Edward-Isaac Dovere reports. I have written in this area multiple times that the field is finally at capacity and will only shrink, and yet new candidates keep emerging. (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 watching a field of coiffed white dudes don’t go anywhere, he’s seemingly tempted to try his hand anyway.

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