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Democrats Love “Dark Horse” Candidates

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Democrats Love “Dark Horse” Candidates

Democrats Love “Dark Horse” Candidates
February 13
19:10 2020

No, it is not a racial term – for all you political correctness extremists.  “Dark horse” is a political expression for a candidate for President who seems to have little chance at the onset but goes on to win at least the nomination.  The term originally was used in racing to describe a horse with an unfamiliar record to the gamblers.

The term was first used politically to describe James Polk who, in 1844, was a little-known politician despite having been the governor of Tennessee and a one-time congressman.  He beat out a number of much more prominent candidates to win the Democrat nomination for President on the ninth ballot.

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Democrats started the tradition and, in modern times, have continued it.  President Jack Kennedy was unlikely to beat the elders in the Democratic Party in 1960 – especially Senate Majority Leader Lyndon Johnson.  Others in that category have been President Carter, President Clinton, and President Obama.  At the onset, all three were given little chance to beat the more renowned establishment candidates.

One contrary example was former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who was perceived to be the frontrunner from the get-go in 2016.  Ironically, the dark horse predecessors were successful while she was not.

This propensity for Democrat voters to go for the underdog may explain why a small-town mayor from Indiana named Pete Buttigieg has soared in recent months – taking a narrow win for delegates in Iowa and taking a close second place in New Hampshire.

Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has placed success on picking up the baton from former Vice President Joe Biden – who is suffering his predictable decline.  However, Bloomberg never counted on a pip-squeak like Buttigieg to be the major benefactor of Biden’s slippage.

Buttigieg has a long way to go – with a lot of political perils – to win the nomination.  He is still an unlikely standard-bearer for the Democrats.  But he is not so far out of contention that it is impossible to see him as the nominee.

So, there ‘tis.

About Author

Larry Horist

Larry Horist

Larry Horist is a conservative activist with an extensive background in economics, public policy and politics. Clients of his consulting firm have included such conservative icons as Steve Forbes and Milton Friedman, as well as the White House. He has testified as an expert witness before legislative bodies, including the U. S. Congress, and lectured at major colleges and universities. An award-winning debater, his insightful and sometimes controversial commentaries appear frequently on the editorial pages of newspapers across the nation. He can be reached at lph@thomasandjoyce.com.

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