Democrats are rapidly tossing out white men from the party’s crowded field of presidential hopefuls.
So far, five of the major candidates in the Democratic race have called it quits and all of them are white men.
The trend caught the eye of Democratic strategist Christy Setzer. She said she saw two commonalities among the dropouts: “White men who haven’t caught on in the polls, and those who still have clear opportunities to run for a different office and don’t want to miss the window.”
The latest dropout was Rep. Seth Moulton of Massachusetts, a Marine veteran who hoped his youth, moderate politics and foreign-policy chops would make him an ideal foil to President Trump. But his run never caught fire and he barely registered in the polls.
“I could see the writing on the wall. It’s a debate about how far left the party can go,” Mr. Moulton told The Boston Globe.
While the dropouts have tended to be more moderate Democrats, their race and sex was the unifying factor.
Mr. Moutlon’s departure came two days after Washington Gov. Jay Inslee headed for the exit. Earlier this month, former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper and former Sen. Mike Gravel of Alaska bowed out. Rep. Eric Swalwell of California threw in the towel in July.
All except the 89-year-old Mr. Gravel, who left the Senate nearly 40 years ago, are seeking reelection or running for another office.
Plenty of white men are still in the Democratic race, including two leading candidates who are older: former Vice President Joseph R. Biden and Sen. Bernard Sanders of Vermont. The other consistent top-three contender in polls is Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, a white woman.
Despite the preponderance of white men, the Democratic field has diversity.
The 21 major candidates left in the race include 11 white men, five white women, two black men, a woman of color, a Hispanic man and an Asian American man.
Current and former senators dominate the race, with eight among the remaining major candidates, including Mr. Biden who was a longtime senator from Delaware before then-Sen. Barack Obama tapped him as his 2008 running mate.
“Senators have more staying power in a presidential race because they have media and financial advantages governors and House members lack,” Democratic strategist Brad Bannon said, such advantages including ready access in Washington to the national political media who cover the presidential race and the national political money that sometimes eludes governors.
“So Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper is forced to leave the race while Sen. Michael Bennet lives to fight another day,” he said.
Mr. Bennet, who also hails from Colorado, is low in the polls and likely will not qualify for the next debate. However, he is not up for reelection next year so his Senate job is secure regardless of his fortunes in the White House race.
The other candidates still in the mix include five current or former House members, three current mayors, a governor, an entrepreneur, a billionaire liberal activist, a Cabinet secretary and an author of inspirational books.
More candidates are expected to drop out before the third debate, set for Sept. 12 in Houston, because the Democratic National Committee has raised the bar to get into the third debate and many will not qualify.
The candidates now must meet both polling and donor thresholds, instead of either, and each threshold is higher than it had been for the first two debates.
Candidates now need the 2% in the polls and 130,000 donors across 20 states, up from 1% in polls or 65,000 donors required for the first two debates.
So far, 10 candidates appear to have made the cut: Mr. Biden, Mr. Sanders, Ms. Warren, Sens. Kamala Harris of California, Cory A. Booker of New Jersey and Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota; South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg; former Rep. Beto O’Rourke of Texas; entrepreneur Andrew Yang; and former Housing Secretary Julian Castro.
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