With the number of candidates vying for the Democratic nomination for president, oddsmakers, when they got bored with betting on who would finally get the nod, would also wonder which of the candidates would be the first to drop out. Everyone who placed bets on Rep. Eric Swalwell can now collect their winnings.
The Washington Examiner makes the announcement:
“Eric Swalwell is abandoning his presidential bid, becoming the first of 25 Democratic presidential hopefuls to exit the race.
“Swalwell, 38, a California congressman known for his frequent cable television appearances, is due to hold an afternoon press conference to announce his decision.
“He struggled to gain traction in a crowded Democratic primary field packed with senators, governors, and former vice president Joe Biden since announcing his candidacy in early April. He was eclipsed by other youthful candidates like Pete Buttigieg, 37, mayor of South Bend, Indiana, and Tulsi Gabbard, 38, a Hawaii congresswoman.
“His most memorable campaign moment came in the first debate when he attacked Biden, 76, on age. ‘I was six years old when a presidential candidate came to the California Democratic Convention and said it’s time to pass the torch to a new generation of Americans,’ Swalwell, the third-youngest Democratic presidential primary candidate, said. ‘That candidate was then-Senator Joe Biden.’:
Biden, for the record, brusquely said that he was going to hold on to that torch, thank you very much.
Swalwell has been nothing if not colorful. During a recent campaign speech, he tried to make himself relatable by using pop culture. “To my fellow candidates, I consider us all a part of being ‘The Avengers.’ The Republicans in 2016, that was ‘The Hunger Games.'” The question arose which character Swalwell thought of himself as, Captain America or Tony Stark. His campaign-style more suggested the blind incoherence of the Incredible Hulk, albeit without becoming the green rage monster.
Later in the same speech, Swalwell uttered one of the most memorable lines of the campaign, though not quite the way he envisioned. He promised to “be bold, without the bull.” It was clearly an applauds line, but the problem was there were no applauds.
Some of that boldness with a heaping helping of bull took place before Swalwell announced his candidacy when he advocated a gun confiscation program much as Australia carried out a few years ago. New Zealand is trying something similar but is having trouble with compliance.
In any case, when reminded that many Americans who own guns might not be too keen to give them up and might even violently resist any attempt to take them, Swalwell observed that the United States government has nuclear weapons. One can only wonder why more American voters did not rally around a man who threatened to nuke them. As the humorist, David Burge observed on Twitter, “As God is my witness, I thought ‘Nuke Oklahoma’ was a winning campaign issue.”
Swalwell had also opined that Mitch McConnell would not be in the Senate after 2020. As soon as he announced that he was suspending his campaign, Team Mitch tweeted, “Good work, Swalwell.”
A chance exists that Swalwell may not be in the House after 2020. One of the problems he has to deal with as he slinks home after not so much being defeated as ignored is a primary opponent for his House seat. “Swalwell faces a primary challenger for his Northern California congressional seat: Aisha Wahab, a progressive Afghan-American and Hayward city council member. By all accounts, Wahab seems to be in the same mode as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ilhan Omar.
Swalwell is an entrenched incumbent, having won his last two elections by three to one margins. However, considering the state of Democratic politics, especially in California, one should not count Aisha Wahab out. Swalwell is still the odds on favorite to win, but he cannot take his seat for granted. AOC also ran against an entrenched incumbent member of Congress, one of Pelosi’s leadership team, but won by out-hustling him.
Swalwell also has to deal with a truism that an officeholder is especially vulnerable after he or she has run for but failed to obtain a higher office. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, has to fight off a stiff challenge from Beto O’Rourke after being beaten for the presidency by Donald Trump. However, if Swalwell works hard and reassures his constituents, he may prevail to spend many years threaten to drop nuclear weapons on people.