2019 Democratic Primary Exit Surveys

We’re still roughly 11 months away from the 2020 presidential election, but the Democratic primary has been claiming victims since this past summer. In a field of more than 25 candidates, scores of dropouts were inevitable, even before the end of 2019. Some were middling senators. Others were middling governors. But all were aspirational ladder climbers attempting to overcome lukewarm personalities and lackluster politics.  And now they’re connected forever, tied together by the harsh reality that they won’t be our next president.

Bill de Blasio

At best, his presidential campaign was a vain bid to raise his profile in the hopes of a cabinet position. At worst, it was a transparent attempt to shirk his responsibilities as Mayor of New York City, a job he clearly no longer wants.

Eric Swalwell

If nothing else, Swalwell briefly exposed Pete Buttigieg’s disconnect between his presidential aspirations and his current political responsibilities.

Jay Inslee

Photo by Gage Skidmore

Inslee actually made a positive impression on the Democratic field and its voters, which is more than pretty much any other primary dropout can say.

John Hickenlooper

In the mid-1990s Hickenlooper might’ve made for an interesting dark horse pick, since he’s essentially a Republican with a “D” next to his name. In 2019, though, he’s just a middling centrist trying to pick up a cabinet appointment he probably won’t get.

Kamala Harris

Photo by Flickr user Gage Skidmore

As a high-profile senator from a large population state, Harris remains a potential Vice Presidential nominee or Attorney General should one of the remaining moderates win the Democratic nod or the presidency. At least she won’t have to campaign for those.

Kirsten Gillibrand

Photo by Gage Skidmore

The senator flexed some progressive bonafides, but they were all within the party establishment’s purview—in other words, she’s not looking to go after the financial sector or do anything drastic to the status quo whatsoever.

Tim Ryan

Photo courtesy of Flickr user Tim Evanson

It’s almost as if the severity and sheer emotion of the Dayton shooting brought out something that actually distinguishes him as a politician and a person.