Who will drop out first?
New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand or New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio?
Now, I don’t have a crystal ball.
Which means I can’t tell you with any certainty who is going to be the Democratic Party nominee for president, although I have some ideas.
What I can tell you this: It won’t be Gillibrand or de Blasio.
If either candidate was going to break out and catch on with voters, it would have happened by now.
We’ve had enough debates, polls and campaigning in early primary states, enough advertisements and fundraising appeals on social media, to know which candidates are catching voters’ eyes.
And it isn’t the candidates from New York, who have been a flop with likely Democratic voters.
Gillibrand’s poll numbers have hovered between 0 percent and 1 percent for months. The same is true for de Blasio. A poll from Quinnipiac University, released Aug. 6, showed that fewer than 1 percent of Democrat and Democrat-leaning voters would vote for either candidate.
We’ve months to go before the Iowa caucus and New Hampshire primary, but it’s difficult to see a path forward for either Gillibrand or de Blasio.
They might have a shot at winning the nomination if all of the other candidates got struck by lightning, but that’s a pretty unlikely scenario.
And if winning the nomination requires an act of God, well, maybe it’s time to acknowledge reality and drop out of the race.
The lack of support for either candidate makes this Wednesday a very important date.
That’s the deadline for qualifying for the Democratic debates in September, and only candidates with a 2 percent showing in four polls and 130,000 unique donations will make it onto the stage.
I doubt de Blasio will meet that threshold, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Gillibrand did.
But even if she does qualify for next month’s debates, what exactly is the point?
The field of Democratic candidates is huge and it’s time for it to shrink.
We know who the top-tier candidates are — former vice president Joe Biden, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, California Sen. Kamala Harris and, perhaps, South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg.
This group is going to get smaller, not bigger.
Some of the lower-tier candidates have already acknowledged this and dropped out of the race.
On Friday, Massachusetts Congressman Seth Moulton announced that he was ending his long-shot presidential bid. Washington Gov. Jay Inslee also announced his exit from the race.
This is how the process is supposed to work.
Candidates test the waters and gauge whether they have any support. If they do, they stay in the race. If they don’t, they drop out.
It’s only a matter of time before Gillibrand and de Blasio drop out.
They’d be doing us all a favor if they did it sooner rather than later, but I suspect that neither has much interest in giving up at this stage of the game.
That’s too bad, because their days are numbered, and everyone knows it.
Reach Sara Foss at [email protected]