By my rough accounting–and frankly, “rough” is the only way you can count it–the Democratic presidential field is up to 24 and falling or rising fast, depending on where you look. (You can look here and get my point. It’s all of them and what they stand for.)
There will be a winnowing process–which has already begun with the departure of former West Virginia State Senator Richard Ojeda, whom I suspect most West Virginians have never heard of–but I want to begin that right away and I have a suggestion. Georgia’s Stacy Abrams and former Secretary of State (and ex-presidential candidate) John Kerry are mulling runs, but likely won’t. They both lost their last elections.
We can quickly dispose of 15 candidates that almost nobody knows (one of them is among my favorites) and who have the proverbial snowball’s chance in hell of winning the nomination, about the same as Jimmy Carter, Barack Obama and Donald Trump had at this point in the process.
There are, obviously, exceptions to the name recognition mantra, but not many. So here are the people I’d like to see dip back into obscurity or wherever it is they came from:
- Andrew Yang, a tech businessman who wants to give all Americans (including Trump) $1,000 a month walking around money. (Not related to Andrew Young, whom I once interviewed.)
- Marianne Williamson, a self-help author I heard speak on Public Radio. She needs to stick to writing because she sounds like a self-help author.
- Eric Swalwell, a California congressman in a heavily Democratic state that nobody on earth, save for his family has ever heard of. I mean Swalwell? Who are you kidding?
- Tim Ryan, a congressman from Ohio who was elected when he was 29 (17 years ago), same as AOC (but she has him by a couple of months for the record). That seems to be all they have in common.
- Seth Moulton, a Massachusetts congressman, who, I’ll bet, can spell his state’s name without having to look it up. I can’t.
- Wayne Messam, the mayor of 140,000-population Miramar, Fla. That’s not as big as the Roanoke Valley, but you gotta give it to him: he has brass.
- Jay Inslee, the Washington governor who is one of my Top 5 picks, but who has about as much chance as I have.
- John Hickenlooper, former Colorado governor who is much like Inslee in his politics, but with a name that would bring roars of laughter at a Trump rally.
- Mike Gravel, the former senator from Alaska, who likely knows Sara Palin, but probably can’t see Russia from his back porch.
- Tulsi Gabbard, a Hindu and native of the Solomon Islands, both firsts for a congressional member (Hawaii), but no, not a chance.
- John Delaney, the former Maryland congressman and now a rich business dude, who was the very first person to enter the Democratic field (back in 2017).
- Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York. He’s not even especially popular in New York and he’s as divisive as Hillary Clinton.
- Julian Castro, former HUD secretary and tell me true: would you vote for a guy named Castro for president of America?
- Steve Bullock, Montana’s governor. Who? You’re kidding, right?
- Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado. Flyover Mike is what Trump would dub him, I suspect.