The 2020 Democratic primary field was stuffed with long-shot candidates convinced that a presidential campaign can only improve a politician’s reputation. Even if you don’t become president, a presidential campaign can help score a cable TV contract, a Cabinet post or even the vice presidency. So it’s all upside and no downside, right?

Wrong.

Plenty of presidential candidates exit the race quite worse for the wear. Failing upward requires more than just showing up; it requires political savvy.

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