Who among us even remembered that former Rep. John Delaney was running in the Democrat presidential primary? The only time I remembered was when I would see him in the occasional appearance on a Fox News show. Even those appearances dried up in recent weeks.
Today, Delaney announced he is dropping out of the primary race — and for good reason. His campaign posted a statement admitting that Delaney won’t meet the 15% threshold in the Iowa caucuses to be a viable candidate. So, he’s getting out and allowing other moderates to progress through the process.
DES MOINES, IA – Today, 2020 Presidential candidate John Delaney announces his decision to withdraw from the 2020 race. This decision is informed by internal analyses indicating John’s support is not sufficient to meet the 15% viability in a material number of caucus precincts, but sufficient enough to cause other moderate candidates to not to make the viability threshold, especially in rural areas where John has campaigned harder than anyone. He strongly believes the Democratic Party should advance candidates with progressive values on the big issues of our time, but who are committed to governing with pragmatic, fact-based, bipartisan solutions. This approach – which is what successfully won back the House in 2018 – beats Trump, unifies our nation and gets things done. We have many candidates in the 2020 race, running in Iowa and otherwise, who meet these criteria. John does not want the good work of his campaign to make it harder for those like-minded candidates on the bubble of viability in many Iowa precincts to advance in the Iowa caucuses and garner delegates.
Delaney’s argument about the success in the 2018 election cycle for Democrats, where many successful new lawmakers were elected using a moderate-sounding platform, falls short in Iowa. Trump beats all of the possible Democrat nominees. Trump won the election in Iowa with 51.1% of the vote. Hillary Clinton received 41.7% of the vote. Trump carried Iowa by the largest margin of any Republican candidate since Ronald Reagan in 1980. There is no reason to think the president will not carry Iowa in the 2020 general election, barring any unforeseen catastrophic event. The majority of voters in Iowa don’t want a candidate espousing a progressive agenda.
I was watching a morning show on FNC today and some of the anchors are in Iowa. One held a panel discussion with two reporters on the ground. As they spoke of President Trump’s campaign rally in Des Moines last night, Kathie Obradovich with the Iowa Capitol Dispatch remarked, “At this stage, he’s pretty solid.” John McCormick with the Wall Street Journal agreed and said he spoke with many voters in the northeastern part of the state recently. All were Obama voters who voted for Trump in 2016. They are all still supporting Trump in 2020.
Delaney publicly announced his candidacy on July 28, 2017. The only two debates he participated in was the first and second debates. He’s been largely ignored from the beginning. His brand of being a moderate, common sense kind of guy among a field of far-left candidates never really caught on. This is why Trump will win re-election. In days past, a John Delaney would have been a solid candidate but the energized base of the Democrat party has no patience for Delaney’s agenda.
Don’t get me wrong, Delaney delivers plenty of the far left’s talking points – he just laced in some practical statements along the way.
This race was never about me, but about ideas and doing what’s right for our nation. The unique and data-driven ideas that our campaign generated – on how to create a functional universal health care system, price carbon, advance trade, invest in rural America, cure disease, help workers, launch negative emissions technologies, reform education, and expand national service – are now ideas for the party and I will continue to advocate for them in my next chapter. In addition, I encourage the party to sharpen its focus on the growing opportunity inequality that exists in both rural America and struggling urban communities. The concentration of start-ups and investment capital in a small number of areas is troubling and smart public policy is needed to encourage entrepreneurs to start businesses everywhere. Smart public-private partnerships can encourage entrepreneurs to locate in small-town America and struggling inner cities.
Universal health care? Check. Carbon taxes? Check. Income equality pandering? Check. Then he tosses in “smart public-private partnerships” which is an initiative that moderate voters support. He’s a wealthy entrepreneur who was able to hang in there as long as he wanted to do so. He counted on the Iowa caucuses to really propel him, yet that just didn’t happen. He didn’t endorse any of the other candidates but he did pledge to support the Democrat nominee in the general election.
With Bernie Sanders having a moment right now in Iowa, and Biden still topping the national polls as the moderate alternative, it makes sense that Delaney steps out as the voting begins in a few short days. He spoke against nominating a candidate from the socialist wing of the party. He used the example of health care – a top issue for voters – for his reasoning.
But Delaney cautioned against nominating either Sens. Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren, whom he believes are too liberal and would have “a tougher campaign against Donald Trump” in a general election.
“Their proposal takes health care away from a lot of people and forces them on some new government plan. That’s a hard way to win an election,” Delaney said.
Slowly the Democrat field is narrowing. We can now wait for the results in Iowa and New Hampshire to see how quickly some of the others drop out, too.