Delaney’s Gnomic Quest for an Inslee-like Political Afterlife


John Delaney, formerly of New Jersey, and formerly a U.S. Representative from Maryland, took the stage in New Hampshire apparently to remind the crowd that he is not formerly a candidate for the U.S. Presidency.

“We need a modern Democratic Party to confront these issues,” said Delaney, who grew up in Wood-Ridge, Paul Sarlo country.

The polls haven’t been kind to the New Jersey native, a condition of arguable political irrelevance that plagued and pushed others of a similar ilk out of the race, among them John Hickenlooper of Colorado and Jay Inslee of Washington.

“I’m the son of a construction worker,” Delaney told the milling Manchester crowd, the second part of his early shared biography (son of immigrants the first) he used to attempt a human connection.

He’s a businessman, too.

“I’m the only candidate for president with real experience in the private sector and real experience in elected office,” said Delaney, a contrast point in a field populated with businessman Andrew Yang and self-help guru Marianne Williamson, neither of whom possesses elected office experience; and seemingly the rest of the Democratic contenders, who have served in office but give off babe-in-the-woods private sector vibes.

Delaney’s speech came and went.

The candidate has come, but evidently doesn’t plan to go anywhere.

“We certainly intend to ride this out until Iowa,” Michael Hopkins, the Delaney campaign’s national press secretary, told CNBC last month. “Unlike other candidates, we have the finances to support ourselves.”

Lacking an overarching narrative that all the candidates now seem intent on aping (the climate change-message-grooved Inslee) or an obvious political landing pad that doesn’t break the candidate’s stride (the now-U.S. Senate-seeking Hickenlooper), Delaney’s best bet might be to hang around as a lunch bucket-friendly pro-Building Trades guy who, on a balanced ticket, can be the 2008 Biden manifestation of 2020.

But his challenge seems to be the lack of buzz, the lack of presence, the lack of polling, the lack of message, and the lack of a story line that lacks the adjective “former” or some derivation thereof, even more than the presence of others in a more muscular political position who could fit his demographic bill (U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown comes to mind, as does U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan).

Did Delaney surprise the crowd by still being in the race, InsiderNJ asked Somerset County Democratic Committee Vice Chair Zenon Christodoulou.

“Not really,” he said, “because they don’t look that granular.”

After Delaney’s speech, the crowd was (somewhat) energized by U.S. Senator Kamala Harris.
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One response to “Delaney’s Gnomic Quest for an Inslee-like Political Afterlife”

  1. Pretty sad when the most level-headed candidate, fully qualified by experience and achievement, is overlooked while the opposing gasbags offer verbal mirages about what they would do if elected. We may very well pay the price for being both shallow and dense, by resigning moderates and independents (the majority of US voters) to go with the status quo while the Trump crowd puts him back in charge. I hang with several others who, like me, are moderates, independents, the so-called swing voters who value constructive collaboration between the political parties. We also value practical and rational (read: “responsible”) political and governance approaches over pie-in-the-sky electioneering Delaney is our clear champion. I’ll be writing him in.

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