Jim Webb to drop out of Democratic race, consider independent bid

Jim Webb, realizing he’s thirty years too late to run for the Democratic nomination on an “affirmative action is bad; the Confederate flag is okay; the Civil War wasn’t really about slavery” platform, will announce later today that he will end his Democratic bid and consider an independent run for president.

According to Fox, “Webb is said to be disillusioned with the Democratic Party — as well as the Republican Party — and how the political parties are being pulled to allegedly extreme positions by the huge amounts of loosely regulated money fueling the campaigns.”

Webb spent the better part of the Democratic debate, and the week that followed, complaining about how little time he was given to speak, saying it was “rigged in terms of who was going to get the time on the floor.” This ignores the fact that Webb was lucky to have been on the stage in the first place. Because despite officially being a “candidate” for president, it’s hard to argue that Webb has in fact been running a “campaign.” He has held practically no events since announcing his bid, and has raised less money than Lawrence Lessig, who, despite going through the motions of being an actual Democratic presidential candidate, was excluded from the debate stage entirely.

This being the case, the fact that it’s Webb and not Lessig abandoning the party to consider an independent campaign is puzzling, to say the least.

In any case, Jim Webb is at least correct in saying that the Democratic Party has left him as much as he has left the Democratic Party. As I wrote in August:

Jim Webb, via DonkeyHotey / Flickr

Jim Webb, via DonkeyHotey / Flickr

It seems that Webb is trying to save a Dixiecrat wing of the Democratic Party that, for all intents and purposes, no longer exists. While he cites his opposition to the Iraq War as the primary justification for his candidacy, that isn’t what distinguishes him from the rest of the field. His horrendous record on climate change and parroting of Republican talking points on racial justice, which is becoming one of the defining issues of the Democratic primary, are what does.

If this were the 1970s, or even the 1990s, Jim Webb’s candidacy would be plausible. An anti-war, pro-domestic industry, pro-safety net Democrat with a military record and a religious background from a Confederate state, who’s all about equality but woah buddy let’s slow down with all this talk about race paints a fairly accurate picture of where the party used to be.

And who knows? There may be an opening for an independent candidate to siphon off some votes from the major parties on a platform like that, tapping into the same white working class populism that has paid massive dividends for Donald Trump. But in order to capitalize on whatever opening he seems to think he has, Jim Webb is going to have to run an actual campaign. As an independent, he won’t have any debate stages on which to complain.

Jon Green graduated from Kenyon College with a B.A. in Political Science and high honors in Political Cognition. He worked as a field organizer for Congressman Tom Perriello in 2010 and a Regional Field Director for President Obama's re-election campaign in 2012. Jon writes on a number of topics, but pays especially close attention to elections, religion and political cognition. Follow him on Twitter at @_Jon_Green, and on Google+. .

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12 Responses to “Jim Webb to drop out of Democratic race, consider independent bid”

  1. crazymonkeylady says:

    Meh, don’t bother. Dem or Independent, you will never be president.

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  3. nicho says:

    Also, he can be brought onto Fox as “former Democratic presidential candidate” so he can give the “liberal” view and provide “balance.”

  4. Quilla says:

    Does anybody care…?

  5. mf_roe says:

    The bruises certainly are.

  6. BeccaM says:

    I laughed out loud when Webb kept complaining during the debate about not getting any time, but there’s not much lower one can go in terms of lack of dignity then to keep whinging and whining about it afterwards. It’s just weak.

  7. BeccaM says:

    It’s partly that, and partly as Nicho says: Something to claim because it’s not seen as a negative to be ‘former presidential candidate.’

    But it’s also something many will do in order to juice-up their speaking fees and book sales. It’s really the only reason Carson is running, for example.

  8. mark_in_toronto says:

    His ego may actually be bigger than Trump’s.

  9. 2karmanot says:

    Webb City: Up a Spider’s Ass

  10. mf_roe says:

    Webb never was a dem, his military and government service gave him enough experience and insight to see the Bush treason for what it was, the death of his son in Bush’s war sealed the deal for him. He was always anti-Bush and saw he had no chance within the repug party that left the dems “Any port in a storm” and “Use available cover when attacking” explains Webb.

    He NEVER had any sense of “real politik”, never will, he’ll die a bitter frustrated sad shadow similar to John McCain.

  11. nicho says:

    I think that for a lot of them, it’s a “thing to do,” like skydiving, climbing a mountain, or hiking the Appalachian trail. There’s no real purpose beyond doing it. Also, for the rest of his life, he will be referred to as “former presidential candidate.”

  12. The_Fixer says:

    His creepy answer about killing his enemies certainly did not help him.

    It’s time to give it up, Jim. You will not be President, and will not even come close. What is is about fringe Presidential candidates that has them convinced that they even have a chance at getting elected?

    Oh yeah, ego.

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