WASHINGTON – Only half of the Democratic presidential candidates met the polling and fundraising criteria needed to participate in Thursday’s night debate, which means the field of 20 is likely to soon shrink again.
Five candidates have exited the race since the debates began in June. They are Reps. Eric Swalwell (Calif.) and Seth Moulton (Mass.), Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (N.Y.), Gov. Jay Inslee (Wash.) and former Gov. John Hickenlooper (Colo.). Moulton did not meet the criteria to participate in either of the two debates that took place before he ended his candidacy in August.
Who will be the next to drop out?
“[Sen.] Cory Booker (N.J.) and [former Rep.] Beto [O’Rourke] (Texas) have nothing but ego and height. [Sen. Kamala] Harris (Calif.) learned that (height) remarks fall flat when the moderator is 5 feet 5 inches; [Entrepreneur Andrew] Yang learned that [1972 Democratic presidential candidate and then-South Dakota Sen.] George McGovern-type give-aways bring some derision even among far-left candidates,” Richard Vatz, a professor of political persuasion at Towson University in Maryland, said when appraising the candidates’ performances in Thursday night’s debate.
“They should all drop out.”
He added: “The consensual winner of the night, [Sen.] Elizabeth Warren (Mass.), was as irresponsible fiscally as any candidate, and her popularity continues to rise.”
Booker is 6’2″ and O’Rourke is 6’4.” Harris is 5’2.” The moderator, ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos is 5’5.”
Polls show a tight race between the frontrunner, former Vice President Joe Biden, and Warren and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.). The three sparred over health care policy during the latest debate. Biden favors expanding the Affordable Care Act, which was spearheaded by his former boss, President Barack Obama. Warren and Sanders favor “Medicare for All” — a universal health care system. A central tenet of Yang’s platform is a “freedom dividend,” in which all households in the U.S. would be paid $1,000 a month.
Former Rep. Jason Altmire, a Pennsylvania Democrat, said he expects some of the lower-tier candidates who currently hold office to be the next to throw in the towel.
“The remaining candidates who are not in the top tier are hoping for a dramatic shakeup of the race, most likely a Biden gaff implosion. Although the Vice President has been weakened in recent weeks, his support base appears to be stable. For this reason, I’d expect the incumbent candidates like Sen. [Amy] Klobachar (D-Minn.) — those with reputations to protect and who would most benefit from a Biden exit — will be next to drop.”
Former Rep. Alan Grayson, a Florida Democrat, echoed similar sentiments.
“I think that Rep. Tim Ryan (Ohio) will be the next to drop out. His “messaging” comes across as anti-Democratic, so he’s actually hurting himself with the audience. If he remains in the race too long, he will find it difficult to clear the field when he drops back into his 2020 Congressional race.”
Thursday’s night debate was the third of the 2020 election cycle. It took place in Houston and aired on ABC News from 8 to 11 p.m. EDT. It featured Biden, Sanders, Warren, Harris, Booker, Klobuchar, O’Rourke, Yang, former HUD Secretary Julian Castro, and South Bend, Ind. Mayor Pete Buttigieg.
Ryan and fellow Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (Hawaii), former Reps. John Delaney (Md.) and Joe Sestak (Pa.), Sen. Michael Bennet (Colo.), New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, spiritual adviser Marianne Williamson, Gov. Steve Bullock (Mont.), Miramar, Fla. Mayor Wayne Messam, and billionaire hedge fund manager and environmental activist Tom Steyer did not participate. Sestak and Messam have not yet met the criteria to participate in any of the debates. Steyer has met the criteria to participate in the next debate.
It is scheduled for Oct. 15 or 16 at an undetermined location in Ohio. It has not yet been decided if the 11 candidates will appear on the same stage.