Here's the Worst Reason to Stay in the Democratic Primary Yet

Photo: David J. Phillip (AP)

Typically elections go as follows: Someone wins, a few other people get credit for almost-winning, and everyone else goes home to cry into their lucrative book deals or paid cable news gigs.

But the current Democratic primary is anything but ordinary; it’s an overstuffed Frankenstein’s monster of bloated egos and interests that shows no sign of slowing its ulcer-inducing slog toward 2020, which is why some decidedly second-tier candidates are desperately trying to spin their inevitable losses into something resembling victory—no matter how insane and desperate it sounds.

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Take, for instance, Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, currently running 9th in multiple national polls. Nevertheless, Klobuchar would like the public to believe that coming in sixth in the Iowa caucus—still nearly six months away!—would constitute a win.

“You could be number six,” Klobuchar told The New York Times on Sunday, ahead of a new Iowa poll showing her in that exact spot, with a whopping three percent of support behind Sen. Elizabeth Warren, VP Joe Biden, Sen. Bernie Sanders, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, and Sen. Kamala Harris.

“I’m really serious,” Klobuchar continued. “In a 20-person field and people will go, ‘Not bad.’ They’re going to look at who is in the top eight.”

Not bad! But also, definitely not good!

Buttigieg set his sights only marginally higher, telling the Times that “I don’t know how many people can emerge, I think that comes down to how many people voters can keep track of.”

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“I’d be shocked if it’s more than five,” he forecast.

There’s probably a solid metaphor here in long-shot Democrats insisting that losing to four or five other people is still great news for themselves and the party. I’ll let you figure it out.

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About the author

Rafi Schwartz

Senior writer. When in doubt he'll have the soup.