The race for the Democratic Presidential nomination began to heat up following the first debate series last week, so it's time now to handicap who will be the first of the 25 announced hopefuls to come to their senses and realize the White House is just not part of their future..
For last week's two debates on NBC, with 10 candidates one night and 10 the next, five of the announced candidates didn't even make that cut. But the requirements for candidates to qualify for the next debate July 30 and 31 are much tougher, so it can be expected that the field will thin before then.
In fact, the Associated Press says only six of those 20 candidates are assured of making the cut for that next debate. They are former Vice President Joe Biden, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, California Sen. Kamala Harris and South Bend, IN, Mayor Pete Buttigieg.
AP writes that former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke is likely to qualify, but after an underwhelming debate performance last week, even he is not guaranteed to make the polling threshold. Only polls taken between June 28 and Aug. 28 will count.
So, who do you think will bite the dust first?
According to AP, some of the better known candidates on the bubble include former HUD Secretary Julian Castro, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, one of her party’s most outspoken feminists; and Sen. Cory Booker, who rose to stardom as mayor of Newark, New Jersey.
If those prominent politicians are at risk, how about those who are far lesser known like entrepreneur Andrew Yang, former Maryland Congressman John Delaney, author Marianne Williamson, Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, Washington state Gov. Jay Inslee, Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan, California Rep. Eric Swalwell, former Alaska Sen. Mike Gravel, Massachusetts Rep. Seth Moulton, Colorado Sen. Michael Bennett, Montana Gov. Steve Bullock, New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio?
Most of them are operating on a wing and a prayer, or as Yang said, "Some of them are in something of a Hail Mary mode." (A couple of good cliches there!)
Looks to me like Hickenlooper may be one of the first to bite the dust. His senior campaign staff is urging him to quit, run for Senate, or find something else to do with his time. According Politico, his campaign only raised just over $1 million in the second quarter — about what he raised in the first 48 hours of his candidacy — and will likely run out of money completely in about a month.
Moreover, at least five staffers have left or are leaving Hickenlooper’s campaign, including the campaign manager, communications director, digital director and finance director.
Hickenlooper publicly blamed his former staff Tuesday for his failure to gain traction in the crowded Democratic primary.
Having served as chief of staff and press secretary for two members of Congress early in my checkered career, I can tell you that ego-driven politicians often will not face reality and accept blame for their own failings. Staff can be an easy scapegoat.
Nevertheless, the time will come when most of these 25 candidates will realize that it's simply not going to happen for them and drop out.
Who do you think will be the first to bite the dust?