As the crowded democratic primary race for
the 2020 election rages on, voters appear to be coalescing around a narrowing field
of realistic choices. The tier 1 choices at the moment appear to
be Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and Pete Buttigieg. These four candidates are the top four in
the national polls, each with more than 10% support, according to the rcp averages, and
each has their own advantages. Joe Biden has probably the best name recognition
in the field, and is polling in first nation-wide. Bernie Sanders has raised the most money from
supporters, and has the greatest number of donors. Elizabeth Warren is the only candidate to
have, although briefly, surpassed Biden in the national polls, leads in her home state
of Massachusetts, and remains in second in Nevada, South Carolina, and California. Pete Buttigieg is currently surging nation-wide,
and leads in both Iowa and New Hampshire. It would difficult for any candidate not already
in the top four to break through at this stage of the game, but that doesn’t mean that everyone
else in the race should pack their bags. Andrew Yang, for instance, has shown remarkable
progress for a political outsider, and the longer he fights on, the more seriously mainstream
democrats are to take his central issues: data rights, automation, and universal basic
income. While there are good reasons to cast a cynical
eye on Bloomberg’s run, his financial power is formidable to say the least. Deval Patrick, too, just joined the race—and
while I doubt his experience at Mitt Romney’s vulture capitalist firm, Bain Capital, will
do much to earn him a place in the hearts of democratic voters—it may be a tad too
early to totally dismiss him out of hand. With a number of candidates recently dropping
out, Wayne Messam, Joe Sestak, Steve Bullock, and Kamala Harris, it seems reasonable to
ask… Who should be next? Tom Steyer has managed to make it onto the
debate stage twice, now, passing the polling and fundraising thresholds set by the DNC. For most, his appearances have been somewhat
overwhelming. But if he’s doing so bad in the debates, you
may ask, how has he managed to do well enough in the polls, and in fundraising, to make
it onto the debate stage at all? Well, unlike most of the candidates, Steyer’s
campaign is astoundingly self-funded. While most candidates release ads, in part,
to fill their campaign’s coffers, Steyer is losing astronomical amounts of money with
every ad buy. According to CNN, by October 10th, he had
spent over 30 million dollars on ads across televison and social media. As a result, he raised a paultry 2 million
dollars from less than 160,000 unique donors. Meaning, for every dollar he spends in ads,
he takes in less than 7 cents. Not exactly a promising return on investment. A businessman should know better. But, of course, Steyer’s goal is not to get
his message out there so that the people will help fund his campaign. His goal is to directly earn support from
uncommitted or uninformed voters through ads purchased from his own pocket book. His wager is, essentially, that he can buy
his way into the White House. This graph from 538 shows the ad spending
of different campaigns. Steyer’s ads are represented in green. As you can see, while Steyer remains a relatively
minor candidate in polling and fundraising, he is outspending his primary rivals many
times over. At the current count, Steyer has already spent
a whopping 46 million dollars. That’s a massive figure, but no suprise, given
Steyer is a billionaire, and in 2016 was the second-biggest Democratic donor in the presidential
race. Now, if we extend the graph just slightly,
to today, we see the big problem for Steyer. There’s another Billionaire in the race, one
with even more money than Steyer, who actually topped the charts as the number one biggest
Democratic donor in the 2016 race. Michael Bloomberg, in the last week of November,
and in December so far, is putting his resources at work, outspending even Steyer, many times
over. He’s already spent $31 million. If Steyer’s strategy is to just use his money
to outspend everyone else in the field, Bloomberg seems to be the only guy who can out do him. He’s quite simply got more money to burn. On top of that, Bloomberg’s spending is more
likely to drive his standings in the polls and with donors. He may be quite unpopular amongst Democrats,
but at least Bloomberg has experience beyond funding campaigns. He’s got actual executive experience, having
served as the Mayor of New York. Not exactly sufficient experience for most
Presidential hopefulls, but it is more than Steyer, and more than Pete Buttigieg, who
is currently showing strong promise in the National and Early State polls. Without original policy ideas, strong debate
chops, or experience in politics, he’s got virtually zero chance of catching fire as
a candidate organically. His only advantage has been his ability to
self-fund his campaign. Bloomberg’s entry in the race totally eliminates
that advantage. Not only should Steyer drop out, he should
do so ASAP, because unlike with most democratic candidates, it’s his own money he’s wasting. From the ultimate political insider, to the
ultimate outsider, Marianne Williamson should also drop out of the race. Williamson has said that she’s going to stay
in the race until the money dries up. Bless her heart. I love the orb mother, but it’s hard to imagine
that her campaign has any reason left to exist at this point. Early on, Williamson was able to get onto
the debate stage, and bring up her issues. At times, she even had reasonably good performances. She can even take partial credit for the fact
that one of her top issues, reparations, became a topic of conversation in the debates—enough
so that even Pete Buttigieg, who enjoys very little support from the Black community—would
attempt to win over black voters with his Douglass Plan. Despite having no experience in politics,
Williamson managed to make a bit of a mark. She should be proud of what she’s done, and
hang her hat on it. Now, there’s very little else she can do. Polling at .4 percent in the RCP averages,
she has no hope of returning to the debate stage, or gaining more attention in the mainstream
media, as the field narrows in on more serious prospects. Like Marianne Williamson, Michael Bennet is
no longer likely to gain any real attention in the mainstream media, or make it on stage
for future debates. Despite his past debate appearances, he’s
failed to make his mark, and is currently polling at .8% in the RCP averages. He was also one of the lowest-fundraising
candidates in the 3rd quarter, but for some reason he’s pledged to stay in the race, at
least until New Hampshire. There’s no reason for him to do that. As Colorado’s senior US Senator, he’s got
bigger fish to fry than a campaign going no where slowly. John Delaney’s reasons to drop out are so
numerous that a small wonder he even remembers what it was like to be on the campaign trail. Sure, unlike Bennet, he’s got little else
going on in his political career, having concluded his work in the House of Representatives in
January. But like Bennet and Williamson, his appearances
in the early Democratic debates gained him little traction. He is currently polling at just .6 percent
in the RCP averages: that’s 25% less than Bennett—although with numbers this small,
his total support is well within the margin of error for most polls. Delaney’s run is also comparable to Steyer,
as before Steyer came around, Delaney was the self-funded candidate. Delaney’s campaign is actually one of the
better funded ones—with over 27 million dollars. All but 3 million of that, however, came from
his own bank account. If Steyer should drop out, now that a bigger
self-funded campaign has entered the contest, it’s astounding that Delaney hasn’t caught
on that he’s wasting his money. Having launched his campaign all the way back
in July of 2017, Delaney has been in this race for literal years longer than the major
candidates. The only benefit to his enduring efforts would
be a Guinness World Record for longest-lived campaign failure. Although a far more plausible candidate than
anyone I have mentioned so far, Amy Klobuchar might seriously consider dropping out as well. When it comes to fundraising, she’s raised
about the same amount as Beto O’Rourke, who has already left the race. Polling-wise, she’s in 8th place, with 2.4%
in the RCP averages—not exactly remarkable for an experienced US Senator. And all of this is after two debates where
she clearly performed significantly better than she had previously done. If Klobuchar was going to surge into serious
contention, she would’ve done so already. The real trouble with Klobuchar is that she
offers very little not already offered by a higher-polling candidate. You want an experienced politician with moderate
ideology? You’ve got that with Joe Biden, the leader
in the national polls. Are you a moderate who thinks Biden’s better
days are behind him? Well, in fourth place, and surging in the
early states, you’ve got Pete Buttigieg—who clearly represents a new generation of moderate
dems, far more convincingly than Klobuchar. Do you not care about ideology, and are instead
focused on gender?, you want a woman president? Well, your best bet in that case would be
Elizabeth Warren. She’s in third place nationally, and in the
first two states. Booker, too, is showing weak numbers in the
polls, even after the 5th Democratic Debate, where he delivered what was probably his best
performance in the primary race so far. He’s polled at just 1 or 2 percent since then,
retaining an overall rcp average of just 1.8%. In terms of fundraising, he’s raised about
18 and a half million, and spend 14, meaning he’s not saving up much cash on hand for an
ad blitz in the offing. Booker has a ton of charisma, and solid experience,
but it appears that voters just aren’t buying what he’s selling. To paraphrase an expression Booker used in
a dazzling debate moment, he’s selling the Kool Aid but nobody wants the flavor. Julian Castro’s campaign has shown a number
of signs of impending doom. He’s begun to struggle to make the thresholds
required to make the debates, and as I’ve previously reported, he’s shutting down what
ought to be major campaign operations in New Hampshire and South Carolina. Sure, the official line is that this is to
focus on other critical states, like Iowa (where he his polling in 12th place), Nevada
(where he is polling in 10th place) and his native Texas (where he is polling in 7th place)… But with less than a million dollars cash
on hand, and declining presence in the press, it’s hard to see his prospects as anything
other than a wild long shot. The reality is that, despite being a recurrently
forceful presence on the debate stage, Castro was essentially put in a no-win situation
after his infamous clash with Joe Biden. After asking Biden “did you forget what
you said two minutes ago?”–and repeating that line of attack—the mainstream press
repeatedly reported the encounter as Castro making a distasteful swipe at Biden’s age. In my opinion, Castro was correct in calling
Biden out, and I broke that down in my analysis of the debate at the time. But I would go on to predict that Castro would
suffer in the polls, and that in the next debate, he’d be between a rock and a hard
place: he would have to chose to double down on his aggressive debate style—one of his
only advantages in the primary race—or bend to media pressure, and soften his approach. Castro seemed to do the latter. As a result, his last appearance on a debate
stage was unremarkable, and the low-polling candidate was lost in the shuffle. It may seem a little mean spirited to suggest
that many of the long shot campaigns should end soon, but as the primaries and caucuses
draw nearer, pruning the crowded field may be extremely useful for democratic voters. Crowded debates tend to translate into little
substance, as minor candidates attempt to make their mark with attacks on the major
players, who themselves benefit most by conveying as little meaning as possible—in order to
avoid rocking the boat. With numerous candidates, it also becomes
next to impossible for working Americans to sufficiently research each of their available
options. In this way, dropping out of the race is not
just the right thing to do in terms of time, and energy, and resources for a variety of
candidates—it is also the right thing to do, morally, for Democratic voters, and the
American people. For that reason, I will end this video honouring
the departed campaigns of the patriots who have respected the voters enough to remove
themselves from the race. But of the fifteen candidates still taking
up valuable air time, I ask, how many are wasting everybody’s time? How many are continuing on out of sheer vanity,
stubbornness, and fantasy?, and how many actually have a message worth listening to? And of those, how many really deserve serious
consideration? The Democratic Party has not always opted
for the best choice when it comes to presidential nominees. It may be time for the long shots to step
aside, so that the voters can inform themselves about the realistic options, and decide… Who should be next?