Why Drop Out Now?

March 6, 2020

Iowa kicked off the primary election season on February 3rd, and it’s been full-steam ahead ever since. But if you snoozed for even a minute, you might have missed a whole lot of what’s happened in the race. Don’t worry, though—here’s a short recap.

Both Mayor Buttigieg and Senator Sanders claimed victory in Iowa. Then Sanders won New Hampshire and Nevada, but former vice president Joe Biden (after falling behind in all of the previous states) won in South Carolina. In the weekend leading up to Super Tuesday, three out of the eight remaining candidates suspended their campaigns. First it was businessman Tom Steyer, then Mayor Pete Buttigieg, and finally Senator Amy Klobuchar. But why? Two of the three candidates had won delegates in the elections leading up to Super Tuesday—Mayor Buttigieg even claimed Iowa. So why would these candidates drop out of the race right before such an important day?

It all boils down to numbers. Every candidate looks closely at their numbers and asks the question: Can I get enough delegates to win the candidacy? If the answer is no, candidates tend to drop out.

Timing is also crucial. After dropping out of the race, both Buttigieg and Klobuchar announced their endorsement of former Vice President Joe Biden just before Super Tuesday. The idea behind these endorsements? Anyone who might have voted for Buttigieg or Klobuchar will now vote for Biden. Interesting, right? Numbers, timing, and strategy all play a role in when and why candidates suspend their campaigns. When former Mayor of New York City, Michael Bloomberg dropped out of the race after Super Tuesday, he immediately endorsed Biden as well. Who will Senator Elizabeth Warren endorse now that she’s out of the race? We’ll have to wait and see.

Why would you stay or drop out of a race?