Second-tier candidates should call it quits for presidential nomination

A crowded field is giving Sen. Bernie Sanders a decided advantage in becoming the Democratic nominee.



February 24, 2020 - 9:54 AM

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., speaks Sunday in Austin. Photo by NICK WAGNER/AMERICAN-STATESMAN

There’s no time to lose for second-tier Democrats to drop out of the race for their party’s presidential nominee.

Saturday’s Nevada caucus win makes Sen. Bernie Sanders the clear leader.

Which would be fine if he were not such a political liability to down-ticket candidates. The lesson from the 2018 mid-term elections was that moderates were the difference in the Democrats’ ability to flip the House of Representatives from a Republican to Democratic majority.

Democrats need a candidate who will spur people to vote, no matter their political party. A psuedo-socialist is not the ticket.

Sanders has gained the lead because his manner and policies are in sharp contrast amongst a field of seven candidates, serving to fracture their chances of gaining a foothold.

It’s a repeat of Donald Trump’s whittling away the 2016 Republican field of Sens. Rand Paul, Lindsey Graham, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz, former Govs. Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, and a host of others.

Much like Mr. Trump’s appeal, voters seem to like Bernie’s polarizing and pugnacious demeanor. Just the thought of a debate between the two spoils the appetite.

IN OUR opinion, Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and billionaires Tom Steyer and Michael Bloomberg should step aside, posthaste.

Despite Klobuchar’s strong record as a U.S. Senator and former prosecuting attorney as well as the sense that she could garner strong bipartisan support, her ratings remain in the single digits, foreshadowing her inevitable demise.

Steyer, even with extreme wealth and sound ideas, also has been unable to move the needle in his favor.

And while Bloomberg created a buzz going into last week’s Las Vegas debate — his first — he quickly fizzled once it became evident he has been living in a bubble since his three terms as New York City’s mayor. Bloomberg was not only unprepared for the debate stage but gave woefully insensitive answers when it came to the rights of women and minorities.

That leaves centrists Joe Biden and Pete Buttigieg to convince party delegates they have a better chance of unifying enough voters to defeat President Trump than does Sanders.

For those confident a still more progressive candidate is the ticket, Warren is their best option.

In terms of experience, Biden and Warren have it in spades.

Biden, age 77, is a former six-term U.S. Senator and served as vice president to Barack Obama for eight years. Warren, age 70, is a two-term U.S. Senator and former university law professor.

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