Progressives have been blaming billionaires for pretty much everything these days. Even so, Sen. Warren’s recent accusation that billionaires Tom Steyer and Michael Bloomberg kicked Sen. Harris and Sen. Gillibrand out of the Democratic primary is pretty hard to swallow.
The statement, which comes from the national director for public engagement for Sen. Warren’s campaign, has been echoed by multiple mainstream media outlets in the wake of Sen. Harris’ withdrawal. To be sure, funding is important when running for the presidency, and a campaign needs a large “war chest” to run advertisements, pay staff members, and more. However, it’s worth noting that Hillary Clinton spent far more money on her race than President Trump did in 2016, and still lost.
A quick look at some basic facts proves that billionaire candidates aren’t “kicking women out” of the primary voting season. Instead, the general public is whittling the field down by deciding who to support and who to ignore. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand made little to no headway and was out of the race long before either Mr. Steyer or Mr. Bloomberg decided to jump in. Sen. Kamala Harris’ campaign tanked for many reasons that had nothing to do with billionaire involvement. In fact, it was a fellow female candidate, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, who plunged the already troubled campaign into the abyss by exposing the California lawmaker as an arrogant hypocrite at the July 2019 Democrat debate.
Democratic women don’t seem to be particularly attracted to fellow female candidates. While Sen. Warren presently has strong support from women, former Vice President Joe Biden has even more. Furthermore, Sen. Sanders also has a significant amount of support from female voters, but this doesn’t seem to have anything to do with gender.
Women aren’t the only ones who are facing a lack of support from their own. Sen. Cory Booker has little to no support from the African-American community while former VP Joe Biden, who is white, has the support of well over 40% Democrat African-American voters. Hispanic voters have shown far more interest in Sen. Warren and Sen. Sanders than fellow Latino Julian Castro. Identity alone doesn’t determine if someone is likable or not.
No-one forced Sen. Harris or Sen. Gillibrand to leave the race. Doing so was their choice as (to their credit) they say that there was no clear path to the nomination for them. While the DNC’s faulty debate criteria have allowed billionaires to essentially “buy a spot” on the debate stage, this isn’t the fault of the billionaire candidates who have taken advantage of the offer. Rather, DNC leadership should have seen that this would have been the case.
At the same time, buying a spot on the stage doesn’t guarantee that either Mr. Steyer or Mr. Bloomberg will go on to win their party’s nomination and then defeat President Trump in the 2020 election. In fact, the odds of either candidate becoming the forty-sixth President of the United States are slim to none.