Jim Webb to Democratic Party: It's not me, it's you

Today's political candidates are 'being pulled to the extremes,' said the former Virginia senator. 'I feel much freer now.'

Yuri Gripas/Reuters
Former US Senator Senator Jim Webb speaks during a news conference in Washington October 20, 2015. Webb said on Tuesday he will drop his long-shot bid for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination and explore an independent run for the White House.

Former Sen. Jim Webb withdrew his bid for the Democratic presidential nomination on Tuesday, criticizing the “extreme” political climate and saying that he would instead consider an independent White House run.

"More people in this country call themselves political independents than Republicans or Democrats. I happen to agree with them," the former Virginia senator told reporters at the National Press Club in Washington.

“I fully accept that my views on many issues are not compatible with the power structure and the nominating base of the Democratic Party,” Mr. Webb said. “For this reason, I am withdrawing from any consideration of being the Democratic Party's nominee for the presidency.”

The news came as little surprise. Since quietly announcing his entry to the race on his website in July, Webb has had little success in escaping the title of “longshot Democratic presidential candidate,” and he has openly acknowledged his own odds of winning the nomination.

While his numbers squared below 1 percent in the national polls, his biggest public platform at the first Democratic debate in Las Vegas consisted largely of complaints of not getting “equal time” and speaking almost the least of all five candidates onstage, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Logging only four days in New Hampshire and 20 days in Iowa, Webb also spent significantly less time out on the campaign trail than his Democratic opponents, reports CNN.

His remarks Tuesday also appear in the midst of a predictable political pattern.

Though the Democratic Party is “being nudged to the left,” presumed frontrunner Hillary Clinton and newfound crowd favorite Bernie Sanders continue to dominate the field. “Every modern Democratic presidential race ends up with two candidates: a populist and a progressive,” wrote political analyst Bill Schneider for Reuters last year.

Of all the Democrats “auditioning” to challenge Mrs. Clinton, Webb and Sen. Sanders both slid into the same category, he added.

“Webb’s real problem might be that he’s out of touch with both parties,” writes The Christian Science Monitor’s Peter Grier. “In an era when partisanship has sorted Democrats and Republicans into relatively homogenous ideological groups, Webb is not easy to pin down.”

Webb’s latest comments have people wondering if he is even still a Democrat – a question Webb says he is still searching to answer himself.

Today’s political candidates are "being pulled to the extremes,” he said.

According to The Washington Post, Webb will spend the coming weeks “talking with people I have not felt comfortable talking with as a Democratic Party candidate.”

“I feel much freer now, having cleared the air to do that,” he said.

Asked if he is still a Democrat, Webb replied, “We'll think about that.”

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