When 2018 midterm voters were polled on the issues most important to them, the Russia investigation ranked dead last. That might explain why Democratic presidential candidate Eric Swalwell, who has branded himself as the “Guns and Russia” candidate, is polling at 0 percent among all 2020 Democratic hopefuls.
In fact, a majority of polls don’t even include Swalwell in the top 17 candidates. In an April CNN poll, 66 percent of respondents had never heard of him. Despite the dismal numbers, Swalwell has clung to his two favorite issues.
The 38-year-old often leverages his position on the House Intelligence Committee to make frequent cable news appearances discussing Russia and the Mueller report. On CBS’s “Face The Nation” this Sunday, Swalwell said impeachment “may be the only road to save the country.” On Wednesday, the Democratic congressman from California was widely mocked after comparing the Mueller report to the terrorist attacks on 9/11 and Pearl Harbor on Twitter.
Remember that time Pearl Harbor was bombed and FDR called the Emperor of Japan? Or the time the Twin Towers were struck and Bush ringed Osama Bin Laden? No? I don’t either. So why’d @realDonaldTrump call Putin after the Mueller Report was released? #CommanderInCheat
— Eric Swalwell (@ericswalwell) May 8, 2019
But his real passion issue remains gun-grabbing. In a San Francisco Chronicle essay laying out his reasons for running for president, Swalwell’s number-one reason was that the single greatest threat to young Americans’ lives is gun violence. At a time in which child mortality rates have dropped by half over the last two decades, this claim is just categorically untrue.
At a Wednesday night vigil for a student who died in a Colorado school shooting, angry students stormed out after politicians speaking at the event began calling for gun control instead of honoring their late classmate. One student told The Daily Wire they were angry when the event became “highly politicized.”
Nevertheless, Swalwell continues to pen op-eds calling for $15 million gun buybacks, banning “military-style semiautomatic assault weapons,” and jailing people who resist giving up their weapons. At the height of his passion, he has even threatened to nuke his own gun-owning constituents should they not surrender their firearms to the government.
And it would be a short war my friend. The government has nukes. Too many of them. But they’re legit. I’m sure if we talked we could find common ground to protect our families and communities.
— Rep. Eric Swalwell (@RepSwalwell) November 16, 2018
Even if Swalwell were to adjust his unpopular campaign platform, as a straight, white, cisgender, male, his intersectionality score is working against him in the diverse Democratic field. His solution? Not to step aside and make room for a woman president, but to vow to select a woman as his vice president.
SPOILER ALERT: I’m a white man.
I know where I can’t speak to someone else’s experience and I pledge to:
1️⃣ Pass the mic
2️⃣ Ask a woman to serve as VP pic.twitter.com/yz7hUB3bRA
— Eric Swalwell (@ericswalwell) April 24, 2019
Perhaps the biggest hurdle Swalwell’s campaign faces is not what he is — a white man who hates guns and Russia — but what he isn’t. Swalwell is not a business owner, a veteran, a community organizer, or anything remotely interesting. He is essentially a professional politician who smoothly transitioned from college frat boy interning on Capitol Hill to running for city council and eventually the U.S. House of Representatives.
In an attempt to find something interesting about his background, a campaign video exhausts the fact that his parents are both Republicans. After his official candidacy announcement, Swalwell was widely mocked for his bland slogan, “Let’s go big, be bold, and do good!” Even Democratic strategist Donna Brazile noted his milquetoast presence.
Welcome candidate #101 https://t.co/ovrkIkcKM2
— Donna Brazile (@donnabrazile) April 8, 2019
Unfortunately for Swalwell, he might just be the perfect cocktail of things that don’t poll well: Russia-gate, gun-grabbing, and boring.