The Slatest

Andrew Yang and Michael Bennet Drop Out

The most and least interesting nonviable candidates both end their bids for president.

Andrew Yang walks alone on a snowy sidewalk
Andrew Yang walks to greet supporters in Keene, New Hampshire.
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Andrew Yang, a businessman who managed to whip up a coterie of ardent supporters online, announced that he would be dropping out of the presidential race just as the New Hampshire primary results started coming in. About half an hour later, Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet, who was profoundly losing to the write-in vote at the time of publication, announced that he, too, would be ending his campaign.

This was Yang’s first political run of any sort, and his inexperience led to some particularly uncomfortable moments on the campaign trail—not that his supporters, the self-declared Yang Gang, cared. Yang’s big pitch was a universal basic income of $1,000 for every American, which paired nicely with his persistent warnings about the dangers of automation taking people’s jobs. And according to a number of interviews he conducted prior to announcing his exit, this almost certainly won’t be the last we hear from him. From BuzzFeed:

At the moment, according to a senior aide, Yang has tentative plans for a new political organization, perhaps focused on down-ballot work to promote candidates with Yang’s “humanity first” values and policies.

Bennet, who might best be described as a more boring John Delaney, seemed to have wanted to pitch himself as just that:

Despite drawing consistently dismal poll numbers and only making the debate stage for the first two rounds, Bennet outlasted a number of far more popular candidates for reasons that remain unclear—except to former Bill Clinton strategist James Carville, who spent the last week before New Hampshire on a media tour decrying the rest of the field and declaring Bennet to be the sort of candidate Americans really wanted to get behind. The main effect of Bennet’s decision to end his barely existent campaign is that his brother, New York Times editorial page editor James Bennet, will have to get back to work in earnest, as he no longer is required to recuse himself from the opinion section’s 2020 coverage.