The other day the Democratic National Committee (DNC) announced that Tom Steyer qualified for the October debate(s). That presents both a problem and several opportunities. Let’s explore.
Steyer is the eleventh candidate to qualify which means that unless the DNC changes its rules there will be two nights (October 15 & 16) of debates held at Otterbein University in Westerville, Ohio and brought to us by the New York Times and CNN. The current rules limit the number of debaters on the stage to ten. This also means that lots will be drawn for who is in which “heat”. Probability tells us that some of the matchups most wanted by viewers will not happen.
In my mind – and I have a lot of company – ten participants is way too many. I know many Democratic primary voters who didn’t watch the last debate because they are waiting for the field to narrow before they will invest an evening of their time. Going to eleven and two nights is a giant step backwards.
Considering how early in the process October still is there is a five person top tier of Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg, Kamala Harris, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. To my mind the other six (Cory Booker, Julian Castro, Amy Klobuchar, Beto O’Rourke, Steyer and Andrew Yang) are extreme longshots at best. With the exception of Steyer who is getting his first shot at the spotlight, it is time for at least one of them to dropout. To put it in baseball terms, it is like taking one for the team. The Democratic Party will be better off with a single debate night and since none of the five are going to be the nominee I contend they will do themselves some good by dropping out. I want to illustrate what each has to gain by being a good team player.
Cory Booker needs to run for his Senate seat in New Jersey. He is an extremely bright guy and can either return to the Senate as a defacto leader or, if he desires, has positioned himself for a Cabinet position. New Jersey is very blue and has a Democratic governor. It is easy to envision that seat staying in the Democrats hands with or without Booker.
Castro had such a disastrous third debate with his failed and false attack on Joe Biden that I think he would best serve his cause with a self-imposed hiatus from politics.
Senator Klobuchar has proven herself (in both the debates and Senate hearings) to be an outstanding Attorney General candidate if the Democrats win and she wants the post. Her only competition would be Harris if she is not elected as president or vice president and wants the position.
I probably sound like a broken record at this point but Beto needs to challenge John Cornyn for his Senate seat in Texas in 2020.
When the history of the 2020 election is written Andrew Yang will be an asterisk, albeit a very interesting and intelligent one. He will not be the nominee nor the running mate pick. He strikes me as an ideas guy who cares about causes and issues. He is also almost impossible to read. If he wants a political/government service future he will best serve his cause by being a good soldier and supporting the eventual nominee. He should drop out and sit on the sidelines until that nominee becomes obvious at which point he should endorse, advise (if wanted) and enthusiastically support them. His following may be small but it is enthusiastic and mainly young. He can get them to volunteer and more importantly show up at the polls.
I hope at least one of the five takes my advice and we only have one October night in the Buckeye State.
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