NPI's Cascadia Advocate

Offering commentary and analysis from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Sunday, February 2nd, 2020

Goodbye John Delaney, we barely even noticed you

John Delaney has end­ed his bid for the Demo­c­ra­t­ic nom­i­na­tion.

You could be for­giv­en for ask­ing: “John who?”

Delaney dropped out of the nomination process on Friday

Delaney dropped out of the nom­i­na­tion process on Fri­day (Pho­to: Gage Skid­more, repro­duced under Cre­ative Com­mons license(

The for­mer rep­re­sen­ta­tive from Mary­land was actu­al­ly the first Demo­c­rat to announce his bid for the White House, all the way back in July 2017, but has spent two and a half years mak­ing almost no impact at all on the race.

Delaney – who poured over $20 mil­lion of his per­son­al for­tune into this point­less bid for pow­er – final­ly con­ced­ed defeat on Fri­day, only three days before the Iowa Demo­c­ra­t­ic cau­cus­es. In a state­ment, Delaney admit­ted that he was unlike­ly to reach the 15% bar need­ed to reach the sec­ond bal­lot in cau­cus meet­ings, but wor­ried that remain­ing in the race might split the so-called “mod­er­ate” vote.

Even with this low assess­ment of his chances, Delaney was prob­a­bly over­selling him­self – his poll num­bers have dragged along below 1% for the entire­ty of his cam­paign, and over 60% of Democ­rats do not even know who he is, let alone why on earth they should entrust their vote to him.

This has been the case through­out his cam­paign.

Last autumn, at a time when his rival Bernie Sanders was draw­ing crowds of tens of thou­sands to his events, Delaney was able to muster a measly grand total of eleven sup­port­ers at a speech in Iowa. A reporter for The Guardian apt­ly described it: “A near total lack of sup­port.”

Part of this dis­mal show­ing came from Delaney’s sin­gu­lar­ly unin­spir­ing mes­sage to Democ­rats. He declared that the bold plans of pro­gres­sives were a bridge too far, and promised to dis­tin­guish him­self by work­ing hand-in-glove with Repub­li­cans. He was dead wrong, and the vot­ers could see it with their own eyes.

His main pol­i­cy idea – that every­thing should stay more or less the same, and not change too much – was shown to be a farce at the sec­ond round of Demo­c­ra­t­ic debates. As he blath­ered along, com­par­ing pro­gres­sive pri­or­i­ties to “free stuff,” Eliz­a­beth War­ren final­ly turned to him and quipped: “I don’t under­stand why any­one would go to all the trou­ble of run­ning for pres­i­dent of the Unit­ed States just to talk about what we real­ly can’t do and shouldn’t fight for!”

Delaney’s con­cept of how to con­duct pol­i­tics was equal­ly dread­ful.

He argued fierce­ly for the ben­e­fits of bipar­ti­san­ship„ pitch­ing him­self as a man who could reach across the aisle and work with Repub­li­cans – an argu­ment that makes no sense con­sid­er­ing that the Repub­li­can Par­ty has mor­phed into a Trump-wor­ship­ing cult that enthu­si­as­ti­cal­ly embraces scorched earth tac­tics.

Just where does Delaney fig­ure that com­pro­mise could be found? Has he not been wit­ness to the last few years of Repub­li­cans attack­ing pro­gres­sive insti­tu­tions and pri­or­i­ties with an almost man­ic glee­ful­ness?

Delaney ought to know by now that Mitch McConnell is a man who does not give an inch. And the rest of his cau­cus are of the same mind.

John Delaney’s with­draw­al from the race will be met with indif­fer­ence from most vot­ers – and pos­si­bly a hint of relief from some Iowans, who have had almost three years of Delaney turn­ing up in their state to tell them that they shouldn’t dream too big. But we haven’t nec­es­sar­i­ly seen the last of Delaney, as sources say he is con­sid­er­ing a guber­na­to­r­i­al run in Mary­land in 2022.

Adjacent posts

  • Enjoyed what you just read? Make a donation


    Thank you for read­ing The Cas­ca­dia Advo­cate, the North­west Pro­gres­sive Insti­tute’s jour­nal of world, nation­al, and local pol­i­tics.

    Found­ed in March of 2004, The Cas­ca­dia Advo­cate has been help­ing peo­ple through­out the Pacif­ic North­west and beyond make sense of cur­rent events with rig­or­ous analy­sis and thought-pro­vok­ing com­men­tary for more than fif­teen years. The Cas­ca­dia Advo­cate is fund­ed by read­ers like you and trust­ed spon­sors. We don’t run ads or pub­lish con­tent in exchange for mon­ey.

    Help us keep The Cas­ca­dia Advo­cate edi­to­ri­al­ly inde­pen­dent and freely avail­able to all by becom­ing a mem­ber of the North­west Pro­gres­sive Insti­tute today. Or make a dona­tion to sus­tain our essen­tial research and advo­ca­cy jour­nal­ism.

    Your con­tri­bu­tion will allow us to con­tin­ue bring­ing you fea­tures like Last Week In Con­gress, live cov­er­age of events like Net­roots Nation or the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Nation­al Con­ven­tion, and reviews of books and doc­u­men­tary films.

    Become an NPI mem­ber Make a one-time dona­tion