Former Maryland congressman John Delaney announced an end to his presidential campaign on Friday, and on his way out the door, he took a parting shot at Bernie Sanders and the Democratic left.
In a long Twitter thread announcing his exit, Delaney called for other Democrats in the 2020 race to “stop the nonsense of unrealistic and divisive campaign promises and be the party the American people need – a decent, unifying, future-focused and common-sense party.”
Delaney is just the latest to join the graveyard of 2020 candidates from all corners of the Democratic Party, including the center (John Hickenlooper, Tim Ryan), the center-left (Kamala Harris, Beto O’Rourke, Cory Booker), and the left (Bill de Blasio). At one point last fall, there were about 24 Dems running.
The former Maryland congressman, who clashed with Sanders and fellow progressive Sen. Elizabeth Warren in the first few debates last year over proposals dramatically expanding the social safety net, closed the door on his campaign just a few days before the Iowa caucus, where he was expected to pull little support.
The Delaney campaign message was simple enough: After four years of Donald Trump and a decade-plus of vitriolic politics, the electorate is just begging for someone with business experience who promised to govern from the center.
The idea that voters want a moderate Democratic nominee is an argument that’s been made time and again in the Democratic primary, most prominently by upper-tier candidates like Joe Biden, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, and former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg. But it’s also been made by many, many other candidates this cycle. Remember John Hickenlooper, who’s now running for U.S. Senate instead? Michael Bennet, who’s apparently still in the race? Howard Schultz??
They’re gone, but Sanders — a socialist — is still there, running neck and neck with former Vice President Joe Biden, a key figure in the modern Democratic Party’s turn toward the center. It’s 30 months after Delaney entered the race, and we’re no closer to settling the debate.
Cover: Democratic presidential candidate former Maryland Rep. John Delaney speaks at the Brown & Black Forum hosted by VICE at the Iowa Events Center, Monday, Jan. 20, 2020, in Des Moines. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)