If you want to push Democratic candidates for Governor to the left on some issues, then you really want to get John Hanger out of this race.
Real talk: the top tier candidates love John Hanger in this race because he is a punchline to them. They all know he can’t win, and are happy to see left activists distracting themselves with a candidate who’ll be lucky to get 10% of the primary vote. They feel zero electoral pressure to adopt his positions on marijuana or charter schools, because he is not an electoral threat to them.
If Hanger dropped out, lefties would need a new candidate, and there would be great temptation for one of the more electable, better-funded candidates – McGinty or McCord – to tap into the political market segment he currently occupies. They would compete to adopt some of the positions that Hanger had, because they would gain some additional electoral advantage by bringing in his voters.
But with Hanger remaining in the race, there is no pressure for any of the top candidates to call themselves progressives, and that is why they are all positioning themselves as centrist moderates. To change the dynamic, we need an actually electable person with a shot at overtaking Allyson Schwartz to become the liberal candidate. That’s the only way this becomes the base election that we want.