It#039;s time for several candidates to pull out

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, February 4, 2004

Tribune editorial staff

For all intents and purposes, the race for President George W. Bush's Democratic challenger in November's general election is down to two, maybe three people.

As voters in seven states went to the polls Tuesday for Democratic primaries, it appears Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts, former Vermont governor Howard Dean and, perhaps, Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina are the only ones garnering enough support to continue. Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich and the Rev. Al Sharpton and, to a lesser extent retired Army general Wesley Clark, are tallying virtually no support in their party's aspirations to unseat Bush in November.

Email newsletter signup

That begs the question: Why go on?

Sen. Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut saw the political writing on the wall Tuesday and gracefully bowed out. Perhaps it is out of pride, but Missouri Sen. Richard Gephardt is a proud man, too. However, after seeing what was in store for him after the Iowa caucus, Gephardt, along with former Illinois Sen. Carol Moseley Braun and Florida Sen. Bob Graham saw the light, too.

While we admire the desire and dedication of Kucinich, Sharpton and Clark, chasing what is obviously a goal they cannot attain is a waste of time. It makes a lot more sense to bow out gracefully than to continue taking a pounding at the polls.

At the same time, though, a recent New York Times editorial calling for

Kucinich and Sharpton to be excluded from future debates in the contest for the Democratic Party presidential nomination is absurd. The Time's primary reason for making these claims was because these candidates have low votes.

Although Sharpton and Kucinich may not be the favorites in the polls, everyone deserves equal time. Just because they are not doing well does not mean that their airtime should be taken away. We understand that people want to hear from the candidates who have the best chance of winning, but the candidates who are not doing so well should not be left out.

As long as these men stay in the race, they should be entitled to air time. We just feel they should step aside and let America concentrate on fewer candidates - the ones who have a legitimate shot at winning.