Following in the footsteps of Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, who earlier this week ended his 2020 presidential campaign, Rep. Seth Moulton, of Massachusetts’ 6th District, has decided to take the same course. Moulton had made absolutely no progress in building a coalition of voters nor has he been able to move the needle in terms of polls and fundraising, and he never made it onto the debate stage.

There’s hardly a reason to report on his decision to end his campaign given the insignificance of his impact on the race. However, it’s the analysis Moulton gave on his way out the door that is worth noting and discussing further, per the New York Times:

Mr. Moulton suggested that most of the other Democratic candidates were also laboring in vain at this point, with only a tiny few — Mr. Biden and Senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders — remaining as real competitors for the nomination. He warned in the interview that if Democrats were to embrace an overly liberal platform, it could make it harder for the party to defeat President Trump.

“I think it’s evident that this is now a three-way race between Biden, Warren and Sanders, and really it’s a debate about how far left the party should go,” Mr. Moulton said.

Among the sprawling Democratic primary field, Moulton was one of the less progressive candidates on stage. He did not choose to endorse another candidate, though he seems inclined toward the candidacy of former vice president Joe Biden.

However, is Moulton’s assessment of the race accurate? Is it down to a three-person race between Biden, Sanders, and Warren? Being this far out it’s hard to rule out an upswing in some of the mid-tier candidates like Kamala Harris or Pete Buttigieg, but the race does seem to be crystallizing more so in recent weeks.

Looking at the RealClearPolitics polling average, Biden, Sanders, and Warren are the only candidates in double-digits while the rest of the field seems to be losing support. If there is a trend to be noticed, it’s that the divide between the upper tier and lower tier of candidates is becoming increasingly more evident.

RCP Dem Polls August

Into July, Sen. Kamala Harris was still easily in the mix of “top tier” candidates, though her star power began fading quickly into late July, and then entirely bottomed-out following the debate at the end of the month. Her candidacy lost support and it looks like Warren has been a big recipient of some of Harris’ voters.

Over 60% of the Democratic primary voter share is now held between the top three candidates which means that Moulton’s view of the race, for the time being, is a reasonable conclusion. In his view, the primary is boiling down to the choice between Biden, a more “mainstream” establishment Democrat, and the sharp contrast of Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren. Bernie has seen his numbers erode somewhat while Warren has been improving.

The September debate is probably key to the continuation of this decision within the party. This dynamic will be even more evident if the debate stage stays set at 10 candidates and there is only one night of debating on September 12. That would mark the first occasion where Biden, Sanders, and Warren will share the same stage on the same night.

If Moulton is correct, and the race is down to just three serious, formidable candidates, expect to see more candidates calling it quits as we finish up the Labor Day holiday in early September.

12 COMMENTS

  1. However, is Moulton’s assessment of the race accurate? Is it down to a three-person race between Biden, Sanders, and Warren?

    Oh if only Seth’s middle name were Nostradamus. If he is correct in his assertion that it is Sleepy Joe, Bernie the Communist and Liawatha as the only contenders on the Democratic front then President Trump better start sending out invitations to his second inauguration. Donald J Trump will destroy either one in a head to head.?

  2. We have, in the past had co-presidents. Al Gore had a large place in Clinton’s terms. It’s arguable that Cheney was more powerful than W, at least, for the first six years.. And in 1980, Ford and Reagan discussed a co-presidency, in which they would work as an equal team. In the end, Reagan rejected that, because he wanted to run things. We’re not thinking that way now, because Trump doesn’t let what’s-his-name get any attention.

    But this could be the year for a true equal partnership. The programs of Bernie and Warren are nearly identical, and in the debates, they have not attacked each other. Instead of having one drop out, maybe they should agree to run together, likely Sanders-Warren. Perhaps the team could overwhelm Biden.

    One benefit of the team would be that both of them are quite old. If one were to die in office, there would be little or no change in direction. Bernie voters wouldn’t have to worry about his agenda being upended.

    Another thing to consider is that this is currently Biden vs. everybody. So if Bernie and Warren were to team up, maybe they would also draw supporters from the rest of the field.

    • Not a bad idea but I believe it would be terrible optics for progressive Dems to have Warren take a VP position to Sanders, even if she’s intended to have more influence than your average VP. It’s more likely to happen with Warren for President.

      • I thought about that, but there are several reasons for Bernie to be on top, so to speak. First, he was first. This whole movement was about him and his ideas. I am reminded of 1968, when Gene McCarthy was the first to challenge LBJ. Bobby Kennedy was seen as an opportunist for coming in later.

        Second, personality. Warren is a team player and would be willing to subordinate herself to the movement. I don’t think, after all this time, that Bernie would accept being the second banana.

        Third, is America ready for a female president? We had women female candidates in the past, but in each case, it was a “Hail Mary” attempt. That is, the ticket of Mondale (1984) and McCain (2008) were doomed to lose from the outset. They risked nothing to pick a female veep.

        • If we’re not “ready” for a woman to be President by now, we never will be. Granted, the US is a third world country by most metrics, but are we really that far behind Pakistan when it comes to gender issues? No, I think anyone making the argument that we’re not “ready” for a President who is anything other than an old white man at this point is just arguing in bad faith. I believe even most Republicans would be okay with a woman President, but she would have to be an extreme fascist and probably also quite attractive. They’d be acting disgusting and immature toward her, for sure, but I think she could be elected.

          Having said that, any Dem woman elected President would be at an incredible risk of assassination from day 1 in office. Republicans are VERY angry with women, and they tend to be violent.

          • Are you conveying your misogynistic fantasies on others? The way you portray things in your writings makes me wonder if you are a direct descendant of the Marquis de Sade.?

            • …says the guy who has been freaking out about the fact that one of the female Dem candidates had a boyfriend once.

            • Come on be realistic, if you are talking about Kamala the concubine it was a little more than a high school crush. Willie Brown was her sugar daddy. A married man 30 years older and sweet little innocent Kamala was the femme fatale, homewrecker, political barracuda in the love triangle.?

              This was more than puppy love.?

              Ask yourself if the loss of Democratic support of Kamala from 17% to 5% in one month means that the majority of her July supporters realized in August that this wasn’t merely a boyfriend girlfriend situation.?

            • I don’t think Harris has a chance at the nomination, after she flubbed the second debate. However, I find your portrayal of her disgusting and disingenuous.

              You’re talking about Willie Brown. Are you saying no one may ever, ever, ever date a separated person?? The “affair” was out in the open. It’s not like they had to sneak around.

              Here’s what Truth or Fiction says about it:
              https://www.truthorfiction.com/sen-kamala-harris-affair-married-man-used-launch-career-mostly-fiction/

              “the claim that Kamala Harris had “an affair” with Brown, implying not only that they had a relationship but that it was furtive and seedy, doesn’t check out.

              It’s true that Brown has technically been married since 1958. However, Brown and his wife separated amicably in 1982 — more than 10 years before his relationship with Harris began — according to a 1984 New York Times profile of Brown.”

              Brown always claimed to be a “king-maker” or “queen-maker.” But here’s how Fox (yes, Fox) reported:
              https://www.foxnews.com/politics/former-san-francisco-mayor-addresses-past-relationship-with-sen-kamala-harris

              “Yes, we dated. It was more than 20 years ago,” Brown wrote in the San Francisco Chronicle. . .

              “The difference is that Harris is the only one who, after I helped her, sent word that I would be indicted if I ‘so much as jaywalked’ while she was D.A.,” Brown wrote.

              Fox felt that it was such an important point that it blasted it in large type in the middle of the story.

              And, no, Harris rose to 17% because of her attack on Biden, and dropped to 5% because of the attack from Gabbard–not because of your silly sexual smear–so PLEASE give it a rest. You look ridiculous, and we are sick of your lie.

Comments are closed.