She wanted to be the Tin Lizzie of the presidential race, chugging to victory as the champion of the middle-class. But her campaign started running out of gas before it could even really get on the straightaway. Today the denouement arrives. Elizabeth Warren will announce that she’s packing it in. Will she endorse either Bernie Sanders or Joe Biden? Or will she, like Barack Obama, wait until the victor has been anointed?
Intense and cerebral, Warren came across during the debates not as a nutty professor but a hectoring schoolmarm. She wanted to be Sanders-lite but the left wasn’t buying. ‘Here’s my advice: cast a vote that will make you proud,’ she said on Super Tuesday. ‘Cast a vote from your heart. Vote for the person you think will make the best president of the United States.’ Her advice fell on deaf ears. Voters seem to have picked the person they figured had the best shot at ousting Trump, which is indisputably former vice president Joe Biden.
Despite all the guff about 2020 being a replay of 2016, Biden is in a far stronger position than Hillary Clinton ever enjoyed. For one thing, she carried, or at least had to shoulder, the immense baggage left behind by her husband, not to mention her own shenanigans such as firing the White House travel office staff. Another is that she was perceived, fairly or not, as a radical, at least when it came to domestic politics. Memories of her ill-fated attempt to reengineer America’s health system had not fully faded away.
Political expedience thus indicates that Warren should endorse Biden. Biden doesn’t suffer from the flaws of Hillary. He’s likely to do much better in the rust belt states. And he’s putting together a broad-based coalition that should scare the daylights out of Trump. In the 2020 election, Biden could even nab Texas, where he performed strongly against Sanders.
In a sense, Warren’s decision not to endorse a candidate is a kind of endorsement. If she were truly committed to Sanders and his share-the-wealth gospel, she would plunge in now. Instead, she’s withholding it from Sanders — and tantalizing Biden with the possibility that she might plight her troth to him.
One person who is none too pleased by Warren’s calculations is Donald Trump. She’s disappointed him and he won’t have her to kick around any more — unless Biden names her his running mate. Trump tweeted, ‘Elizabeth “Pocahontas” Warren, who was going nowhere except into Mini Mike’s head, just dropped out of the Democrat Primary…THREE DAYS TOO LATE. She cost Crazy Bernie, at least, Massachusetts, Minnesota and Texas. Probably cost him the nomination! Came in third in Mass.’
None of it’s working out the way Trump had hoped. He had wanted to depict the Democratic elites as rigging the system against Sanders, but his tweet indicates that he’s acknowledging that Warren had more to do with it than any putative machinations by the Democratic establishment. Meanwhile, the Democratic field is rapidly coalescing behind Biden who will almost surely romp to victory against Sanders. Absent an endorsement from Warren, Sanders has no guarantee that her followers, mostly college-educated white women, won’t veer towards Biden rather than him. What if Warren, in pulling out, has delivered the coup de grace to the Sanders revolution?