The Warren campaign’s decision to collaborate with CNN on a hit piece against Senator Bernie Sanders (someone who Warren herself has routinely characterized as an ideological colleague and friend) by weaponizing her identity as a woman has not resulted in the grand “You Go Girl” moment she had hoped for. Instead, this cheap shot at Sanders has panned out to be just another one of the critical missteps made by the Warren campaign in the months leading up to Iowa. Senator Sanders has devoted his political career to fighting for equality for all Americans regardless of their race, gender, or class; as he correctly pointed out on the debate, he can let his “record speak for itself”.
Elizabeth Warren’s record on the other hand, tells a different story. A white woman who spent a career lying about her heritage, and when confronted she continued to flaunt DNA test results she claimed confirmed she was of Native descent, when in fact she is no more Native American than Joe Rogan is neanderthal. She even had Harvard Law recognize her as their “first woman of color”. Not only does this underscore the shallowness of Warren’s view of “identity politics”, but it’s also remarkably hypocritical. This sort of “he said, she said” argument about what exactly was said between two individuals in a private conversation that took place more than a year ago is the exact kind of nonsense reporting by mainstream media outlets like CNN that drive the political conversation away from substantive issues that voters care about.
This hatchet job is only the most recent in a sequence of political missteps made by the Massachusetts’ Senator since her peak in the national polls back in October of 2019, when she narrowly eclipsed former Vice President and frontrunner Joe Biden. Her dip in support began quite quickly after she released her “Transition Towards Medicare for All” plan, criticized heavily by left wing of the party. Many on the progressive flank saw the plan as a betrayal of the initial promise to expand the Medicare program to every man woman and child of this country and opted instead to model her program around right wing talking points such as “not raising middle class taxes by one penny.”
This lead to the first major crack in the hull of the Warren campaign, when she pivoted her attention away from the progressive wing of the party, and looked to engender the support of the establishment. In a sense the more Warren cozied up with the media, the less trustworthy she seemed to the average voter. It is important to remember that the public’s perception of the mainstream media ranks only slightly better than its approval of Congress. Media flattery only wins over the voters the Democratic establishment has already pinned down, and their support is largely with the “safe bet” frontrunner.
This bares the question, who is Warren trying to reach? Polling suggests that Warren is more likely to pull voters away from Pete Buttigeig, and it even seems as though her candidacy has captured the hearts of Obama alums who were expected to line up behind former Vice President Joe Biden. Indeed, Warren has found herself in a unique but tough situation – her bid as a “compromise” candidate has ultimately failed to excite either the progressives or centrists, leaving her with some 10-15% support from a coalition of mostly upper-class, well educated voters who seem to be most concerned about social justice and appearing as woke as possible while still supporting establishment politics. Sure, Warren has promised a wealth tax, she’s promised to crack down on Wall Street and the Pentagon, but more and more these promises sound reminiscent of the lofty goals of Barack Obama – goals he quickly abandoned once actually ascending to power.
Frankly, associating herself with Obama seems to have been a bad idea for the Warren camp. Ever since leaning into that world, her campaign has distanced itself further and further from the policy-fueled early days of her campaign (remember that blitz of solid policies released by the Warren campaign last summer?) In fact, lately she seems to have even forgone her once-signature “I’ve got a plan for that” sloganeering, in favor of a more watered down, establishment approved message. It’s as if the Obama-world sucked the life and purpose all together out of her campaign, reducing her candidacy to a flailing apparatus of Washington elites who desperately want to regain power. It’s a pathetic symbiosis of elite privilege, and shows Warren’s true colors: that’s she’s just as willing to play politics as anyone else on stage; that she’s not above the fray of corruption; that she too is a political animal just as willing to make calculations as she is bold declarations…and then lie down and play the victim when exposed.