Both Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar dropped out of the race for the Democratic presidential nomination in the past 24 hours.
Buttigieg's unlikely run ended last night as strangely as it began. The least qualified entry in the crowded field of Democrat hopefuls (apart from spiritual guru Marianne Williamson), Buttigieg was relevant as a candidate almost solely on the basis of his sexuality. The married mayor of troubled South Bend, Indiana never managed to appear presidential, drawing comparisons not to great statesmen, but to Eddie Munster and Alfred E. Newman.
So it came as no surprise that Buttigieg waved the white flag Sunday evening. What was surprising is that he plans to endorse fellow candidate Joe Biden. The two tangled on the debate stage, though never acrimoniously. Biden's knock on Buttigieg is legitimate: lack of experience. Buttigieg on Biden: You have decades of experience but haven't managed to get much done.
Trading barbs for months hasn't ruined the rapport between the two campaign teams. Indeed, Biden wants not only Buttigieg's endorsement, which he will reportedly receive this evening at a campaign event, but his name on the ticket. Biden-Buttigieg? If true, it will be interesting to see how this odd pairing plays out, especially since it's the other "B" that Pete once idolized: Bernie.
A guess? No real chemistry. After all, Biden once said of Buttigieg, "He's no Barack Obama."
Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota also never read as presidential. On paper, she was perhaps the best candidate: young but experienced, guaranteed to garner female votes, smart and practical. Klobuchar simply never had a home run moment, never connected viscerally with voters.
Forgetting the president of Mexico's name, shaking on the debate podium, and allegations of anger management issues weren't the problem. Klobuchar just never landed. Corny jokes told ad nauseam and folksy attempts at relatability fell flat. No one wants that kind of practiced pandering for four years.
In the end, Buttigieg hastened Klobuchar's demise, choosing to hang her out to dry in the tenth debate over Mexico, but she was done for already, only cracking the top three in New Hampshire.
Klobuchar's support of Biden is more of a practical matter. As a senator, she is used to team play, putting the party over the personal.
As this all unfolds, Bernie Sanders supporters aren't bothering to waste breath on Klobuchar and Buttigieg. They've saved their anger for Elizabeth Warren. Warren, by staying in the race beyond Super Tuesday, splits the progressive vote. Sanders supporters assume that Warren votes would fall to Bernie. Hence, #WarrenDropOut is trending on Twitter.
Democrats have entered the heavy lifting phase of the nomination process. Tomorrow's outcome looks to be another strong day for Sanders, and another step toward the showdown between the socialist and moderate wings of the party.
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