John Hickenlooper was never going to be president. Everyone following the Democratic primary knew this, probably even his own staff. But it still took seven months and two lackluster debate performances to finally end the former Colorado governor’s ill-fated pipe dream.
Frankly, it’s a wonder Hickenlooper even lasted this long. His mortician-like energy never excited anyone. And somehow his politics were even more bland than his personality. Hickenlooper painted himself as a sensible option to changing tides in the Democratic Party, touting his “purple state” credentials and championing “rational” policies. But what that boiled down to was Hickenlooper outwardly decrying on socialism, Medicare For All, the Green New Deal and other popular progressive policy ideas while getting ruthlessly booed by the crowd at the California Democratic convention.
Hickenlooper’s only semi-memorable moment was mocking Bernie Sanders for throwing his hands up during an answer at the second debate. But when Sanders turned it around and made Hickenlooper the butt of the joke, you could see the last fire extinguished from the dying embers in Hickenlooper’s eyes.
Milksop centrism doesn’t have a place in the 2020 Democratic primary, at least if it’s not cloaked in a young, handsome exterior or caked in Joe Biden’s verbal diarrhea. 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. On the bright side, that unity ticket with John Kasich is looking pretty sweet right about now.