Someone’s getting impatient. Here’s political correspondent Lisa Lerer’s recent lead in the New York Times: “Someone finally jumped out of the clown car.” She continues: “Exactly three months after announcing his presidential bid, Representative Eric Swalwell of California became the first serious Democratic primary candidate to end his campaign.”
“Clown car?” Yes, 20 to 24 Democratic wannabe presidents is classic example of overcrowding, but even Lerer admits, Swalwell was a “serious” candidate. Was it so painful for America, and its legion of political reporters to have to listen to Swalwell for five minutes? Actually, the real pain was Swalwell’s when after he had his five minutes of – most memorably – asking Joe Biden to pass him the torch of Democratic leadership, he was still stuck below one percent in support from likely primary voters. “The polling wasn’t moving,” Mr. Swalwell told reporters as he withdrew from the race.
But, as Swalwell exited, another hopeless presidential self-promoter, the billionaire Tom Steyer, was joining the Presidential land-rush. 16 months before Election Day and the political reporter for the New York Times wants the herd culled, ASAP. The official rules of the Democratic Party and the predictable dictates of egomania will keep Lisa Lerer and the rest of us waiting a while before that happens. Not that tiers of candidates do not already seem to be separating themselves from the herd. At the top for now, the two old men, Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders, but moving up on them in both polling and fund-raising, the two women Elizabeth Warren and Kamala Harris. All of them register support in double figures. South Bend Indiana Mayor Pete Buttegieg has less than half that, but he is the only other candidate consistently above the one percent level of support.
The proverbial one percent are big-time economic winners we love to hate…the less than one percenters of the Democratic presidential primaries are losers, lovable or not. Even when they get high marks for debating, as did Julian Castro and Cory Booker, primary voters don’t seem to care. “Less than one percent for you!”
And what is the net-net of all the Democratic debating?… perfecting a Trump-slayer, or a circular firing squad easing the way for a Trump second term?
John Zogby, founder of the “Zogby Poll” and the Zogby companies, is an internationally respected pollster, opinion leader and best-selling author. He has joined with his sons Benjamin and Jeremy in a new company called John Zogby Strategies, a strategic visioning firm specializing in preparing companies and agencies for the coming wave of dynamic changes. Zogby is also the inaugural Director of the Keenan Center for Entrepreneurship at his alma mater, Le Moyne College.
His newest book, published in 2016, is entitled We Are Many, We Are One: Neo-Tribes and Tribal Analytics in 21st Century America, is an exploration of the American people from the vantage point of their attributes and values, not demographics or geography. Zogby writes weekly columns on Forbes.com and contributes a weekly Trump report card to The Washington Examiner’s Washington Secrets, by Paul Bedard. He is also a founding contributor to The Huffington Post. His analytical expertise has also been published on the opinion pages of the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Financial Times.