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Donkey Dow: December dropouts

Pour one out for Officer Kamala

December 3, 2019

2:40 PM

3 December 2019

2:40 PM

The Donkey Dow is a round-up of the movers and shakers in the race to face up against Donald Trump. Here’s how the candidates and contenders fared over the last few days.


In the bleak midwinter, frosty wind made moan, your campaign prospects, dropping like a stone. Across America, temperatures are plummeting and the branches are bare. But it’s not just leaves that are dying in early December: we’re kissing farewell to a few presidential candidates too.

Skidding out

Most significantly, Kamala Harris has suspended her campaign today, presumably to spend less time with her family. Her sister Maya was instrumental in leading the Harris campaign into the skids according to claims in a lengthy New York Times piece last week. But the California senator’s troubles started almost at the outset. Despite a brief flashpoint over busing with Joe Biden during the first debate and an Ariana Grande Instagram post, she never fully captured the public imagination. Initially she pitched herself as a progressive, particularly on healthcare, before realizing the left lane was occupied by Sens. Sanders and Warren. Plus, basing her platform on her prosecutorial career meant she never shook off the shackles (pardon the pun) of her ‘cop’ label. It took one measured blow from the only other woman-of-color in the race, Tulsi Gabbard, to kick her down into the single digits after the Detroit debate. Officer Harris never recovered. Time to toast her while singing The Pogues.

Also departing us this week, Montana governor Steve Bullock, whose highlight was making one of the previous five debates. Despite repeating his mantra about being the only candidate to win in a deep-red state, Bullock’s center-left platform failed to gain traction. You can understand why Bullock chose to bow out now, while staring down Biden’s resolute poll lead, Buttigieg’s ascendancy and Bloomberg’s war chest. Even Booker managed to make some gains a couple of weeks back. How many moderate male ‘B’ candidates does one race need?

Sailing into the aether with them is Admiral Joe Sestak. Yes, he was still running up until this point.


The big winner this week seems to be Mike Bloomberg. A monumental ad spend has seen him rise to 6 percent in a Hill/HarrisX poll, ahead of Kamala Harris. Cockburn lasted 30 minutes in the gym yesterday and was treated to two viewings of Mayor Mike’s campaign ad. Looks like money can buy you love.

Also in billionairedom, Tom Steyer has just qualified for the December debate in his home state of California.

The rich bitches have been a boon to the Bernie Sanders campaign, providing the Vermont senator with a valuable foil. His numbers remain solid — several polls have him in second place. Elizabeth Warren too stands to gain from the big bucks boys catching a break.

An enormous fundraising haul of $750,000 in 24 hours has given dark horse candidate Andrew Yang a bit of a boost. But will it be enough to help him stave off the potentially fatal threat of mainstream media bias?

And as she stands astride her vanquished rival, Tulsi Gabbard can also point to crossing the 200,000-donor threshold as further evidence of a strong weak. She still needs a good poll result or two to be the only non-white candidate in Los Angeles later this month.


Grandpappy Joe Biden is looking older and older by the day. He gave a bizarre speech in Iowa about his leg hair during his ‘No Malarkey’ bus tour, making Bloomberg’s gamble that Uncle Joe won’t go the distance appear all the more savvier.

Despite his surge in the early-primary state poll numbers, Pete Buttigieg is struggling to shake his African American problem. ‘Mayo Pete’ has been sitting down with black leaders in South Carolina and calling up journalists who were mean to him in an effort to find out where he’s going wrong. Cockburn wonders if he might benefit from changing his campaign anthem from Panic! at the Disco’s ‘High Hopes’ to something a bit less twee — maybe ‘Ante Up‘ by M.O.P?

John Delaney is in the wilderness: he’s too wealthy to drop out like his fellow centrists, but not wealthy enough to seriously contend with Bloomberg and Steyer. The woes of being but a millionaire — if only he had $800 million more. The former Maryland congressman is at least staying fit while he awaits the opportune moment to duck out with grace.


Neither here nor there

Michael Bennet, firmly below 2 percent, is now doing Hillary Clinton parody videos.

Cory Booker enjoyed a brief spurt of interest after the Atlanta debate, which seems to have now fizzled. And it remains unclear why Deval Patrick decided that now was his moment. We could well see more candidates frozen out as December progresses.

Got a tip for Cockburn? Email cockburn@spectator.us.

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