IMHO: Why presidential candidates with no chance of winning should exit the race gracefully
Author Michael Arceneaux discusses the numerous, ever-growing amount of men campaigning to be the Democratic nominee for President of the United States, and why more of them should follow Eric Swalwell’s lead and drop out.
On Monday, Eric Swalwell admitted the obvious: he will not be the 46th President of the United States.
Unless you watch a lot of MSNBC, you probably have no idea who Eric Swalwell is. He was one of the many, many white guys running for president. In theory, he should have been a bigger deal given his youth; however, he was eclipsed by South Bend mayor Pete Buttigieg, the 37-year-old gay mayor who has been a media darling after their original crush, political cutie and Texas senatorial candidate Beto O’Rourke, made the strategic error to shy away from the main source of his stardom.
Swalwell ultimately got lost in the sea of other white men whose names we can’t recall because it won’t matter in a few months anyway, and he gradually embraced defeat.
“We have to be honest about our own candidacy and viability,” the 38-year-old congressman said as he announced that he would be ending his bid to seek the Democratic nomination for president. “Today ends our presidential campaign.”
Another reason Swalwell might have dipped is related to his congressional seat. After previously declaring he wouldn’t run for both president and Congress at the same time, he has since changed his mind. Realizing others were preparing to run for said seat will do that to a politician who wants to keep his presence on Capitol Hill.
“I have no regrets,” he later added in his prepared remarks. “I’m excited about what we’ve done.”
As for what Swalwell’s done in the three months of his campaign—marred by low fundraising and low polling numbers—he did make gun control a central theme of his platform, which is to his credit. His California congressional colleague, Senator Kamala Harris, offered praise to Swalwell for such efforts. “You’re a great fighter for the people of California,” Harris tweeted to him. As did Senator Elizabeth Warren, who echoed the sentiment in her own tweet. “Gun violence is a public health crisis, and I’ll keep fighting alongside you for a safer future,” Warren said after thanking Swalwell for his advocacy via Twitter. “The American people are lucky to have you in this fight.
Joe Biden offered praise, too.
“We are a stronger nation because of your work to protect our children and our communities from gun violence.” Biden praised Swalwell’s “passionate campaign” and his “influential voice” in Congress.
The most memorable moment of Swalwell’s otherwise unmemorable campaign centered on his confrontation of Joe Biden on second night of the first Democratic presidential primary debate. Swalwell told the 76-year-old Biden that it was time “to pass the torch” to a younger generation.
“I’m still holding on to that torch,” Biden replied. And now Biden is standing over the grave of the young buck’s presidential ambitions—a goal that was not salvaged by Swalwell’s botched effort to go viral at Biden’s expense.
Still, I want to salute Swalwell.
Hopefully, his graceful exit will be a template for the other people who have just as much a chance of securing the Democratic presidential nomination as he did.
I like some of the white men running—well, Jay Inslee anyway because he doesn’t want human civilization to end—but let’s be realistic: Joe Biden has a chance and Bernie Sanders has a chance. Mayor Pete doesn’t have as much of a chance as the pundits collectively profess because he hasn’t managed to make any Black friends in his political journey. Beto had a chance, bless his heart, but unless Beto finds his inner bad bitch and miraculously turns this around, it’s not looking great. Still, these four have more hope than all the other white dudes running.
Eventually, the others will run into the truth. What are you going to do, men with no shot of winning? You can be like John Hickenlooper, who was told by his staff that he needed to drop out of the race. His response was to remove his staff and install new people who lean into sycophancy, I’m guessing. His refusal to let it go has netted him more coverage, but it’s not exactly favorable. See the Washington Post piece, “‘You are who?’ The lonely presidential campaign of John Hickenlooper.”
Zoom, look at him go.
Personally, I believe the Democratic presidential nominee should be a woman, but I respect everyone’s right to get in the way of my wishes.
That doesn’t mean I want Marianne Williamson over a more serious contender like Inslee or even Cory Booker—despite my affinity for “Girlfriend, you are so on.” But there are very qualified women running for the presidency, and I believe a misogynist accused of serial sexual assault should be succeeded by one of them. But again, do you, boo, to all of the contestants in America’s Next Top Executive.
However, if you don’t have money and you don’t have much support, why drag out the inevitable? Why campaign with pennies and travel the nation, bringing greater attention to your irrelevancy? Have you no shame?
A lot of people are going to have to make difficult choices as the race drags on and requirements to appear in national debates grow steeper. Swalwell realized he wasn’t going to make the next debate and decided to become the first to admit the truth to themselves. It’s a shame that, after that, a billionaire decided to enter the race.
If anyone is serious about saving us from Sweet Potato Saddam but has no real shot at being the person at the head of the fight, it’s time to follow Eric Swalwell’s lead and shimmy out of the race already.