I’ll say this for John Hickenlooper: he may or may not be a pragmatist, but he sure as shit knows how to read a poll. The decision by the former governor of Colorado to drop out of the Democratic presidential field was laudable, but ultimately anticlimactic. Seriously, he had about as much chance of winning the nomination as I have of being the starting center for the Golden State Warriors. And he knew it. Now the only question that remains is whether others follow his lead?
And those others are Montana governor Steve Bullock, former Texas rep Beto O’Rourke and former HUD secretary Julian Castro. Like Hickenlooper, all three are doing poorly in the polls and have virtually no path to the nomination. But as Senate candidates, they would likely fare much better. Bullock could run against Steve Daines, while O’Rourke or Castro could do the same against John Cornyn. If Hickenlooper decides to challenge Cory Gardner, that would be three Senate seats that Democrats could potentially flip in 2020, giving them a total of 50 seats and control of both chambers of Congress for the first time since the 2010 midterms, assuming they win the White House and hold the House.
Of the four, Hickenlooper would have the best shot at winning. A recent poll came out showing him with a 13 point lead over Gardner. But Bullock would no doubt turn a solid Republican seat into a tossup, and given that O’Rourke came within three points of beating Ted Cruz last year, he certainly would have to be considered a formidable challenger against Cornyn. The same could also be said of Castro, whose brother Joaquin is currently representing Texas’ 20th district.
The point is that while Democrats have been focusing all their attention on defeating Trump, it will have little impact so long as Mitch McConnell is still the majority leader. Without control of the Senate, a Democratic president will be unable to get his or her judges appointed, and the prospects of passing any meaningful legislation will be nil. Even if Biden wins, he will be stymied at every turn. The only hope for Democrats is if they control all the levers of government.
Hickenlooper understands that, at least I hope he does. The hope is that more Democrats will wake up and smell the caffeine while there’s still time. There are plenty of capable Democratic candidates running for president, and several of them are polling quite well. It’s time to thin the herd so we can have a discussion about actual policy and what this president is doing to the country.
The food fight needs to stop and the serious contenders need to make their case to the American people.