According to a new report from TheHill, Democrat candidates for President are facing pressure to exit the race in order to solidify the moderate vote against Bernie to one contender.
The most pressure is being pushed on the candidates seen at this time as the most marginal, Amy Klobuchar and Tom Steyer.
After a surprisingly strong finish in New Hampshire, Klobuchar disappointed in Nevada and was seen by many analysts as one of the pre-caucus debate “losers.”
Tom Steyer has had poor showing in all 3 of the first contests and missed the Nevada debate cutoff altogether but will appear in today’s South Carolina debate.
While clearly he has the billions to fight until the end, if he does make a strong showing in South Carolina, where he has invested tremendous financial resources, his electability argument will be entirely wiped out.
The Hill reports pressure is mounting on some candidates to drop out of the Democratic presidential primary race as moderates scramble to unite their faction around a single contender and prevent Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) from gaining an insurmountable lead in the nominating contest.
The pressure is most acute for Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and billionaire activist Tom Steyer, both of whom posted lackluster showings in the Nevada caucuses on Saturday and face increasingly difficult paths to the nomination.
But other candidates, including former Vice President Joe Biden and former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg, also are facing heat.
Even former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who notched top finishes in the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primary but has struggled to gain traction among minority voters, is facing questions about his prospects as the contest turns to more diverse states, like South Carolina and those that hold their primaries on Super Tuesday.
“I think sooner rather than later, a bunch of these candidates are going to have to understand that they don’t have a viable path to the nomination and need to get behind someone,” said Rufus Gifford, the finance director for former President Obama’s 2012 campaign who is backing Biden.
Biden himself will hear calls to exit the race if he does not win South Carolina’s primary on Saturday.
The onetime front-runner in the race, Biden finished second in Nevada but saw his campaign land in the dumpster with disastrous results in Iowa and New Hampshire.
“For months, Biden’s people have been saying that South Carolina is their firewall,” Brad Bannon, a Democratic strategist, said. “If he doesn’t deliver on Saturday, he’s going to be under tremendous pressure to drop out whether he wants to or not.”
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) has placed third, fourth and fourth in the first three contests, but believes she is building momentum after a solid debate performance last week. She will need to build more momentum at Tuesday’s debate and then see that turn into votes if she is not to face calls for her to bow out of the race.
There is growing concern among Democrats opposed to Sanders as their party’s nominee that he could amass a lead so great on Super Tuesday, when roughly a third of pledged delegates are up for grabs, that it would become nearly impossible for any other candidate to catch up to him, let alone surpass him.
The field is also poised to get larger on Super Tuesday, when Bloomberg will appear on primary ballots across the country, raising the possibility of an even-more fractured moderate vote.
None of the candidates are likely to drop out before the South Carolina primary on Saturday, frustrating some Democrats.