Hot Air

Warren quits

My condolences to her base of professional journalists and professional feminists and, uh … anyway, journalists and feminists.

This is the darkest day for upper-class white intellectuals since “Mad Men” went off the air.

Can’t finish third in your home state and expect to soldier on for long, no matter what cockamamie theory you might have about becoming a compromise choice at a contested convention. Especially since, given the state of Joementum right now, a contested convention seems less likely by the day.

Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts plans to drop out of the presidential race on Thursday and will inform her staff of her plans later this morning, according to a person close to her, ending a run defined by an avalanche of policy plans that aimed to pull the Democratic Party to the left and appealed to enough voters to make her briefly a front-runner last fall, but that proved unable to translate excitement from elite progressives into backing from the party’s more working-class and diverse base…

Ms. Warren’s political demise was a death by a thousand cuts, not a dramatic implosion but a steady decline. Last October, according to most national polls, Ms. Warren was the national pacesetter in the Democratic field. By December, she had fallen to the edge of the top tier, wounded by a presidential debate in November where her opponents relentlessly attacked her…

Though her allies stress structural barriers, Ms. Warren’s shortcomings as a candidate had a great deal to do with her operation.

She didn’t win any actual primaries (or even finish as high as second anywhere) but she won the Twitter primary going away, so congrats on that. And so the Democratic primary arrives at its bizarre conclusion — two very old, very white guys, neither one of whom is particularly woke.

The Atlantic has a worthwhile piece this morning quoting old hands like James Carville on their theories of where Warren went wrong. Dave Wasserman’s theory grabbed me, just because I remember the poll he mentions here vividly:

4. Blame The New York Times/Siena College poll that showed President Donald Trump beating Warren in head-to-head matchups in several key swing states.

It’s impossible to draw a direct line of causation, but here are a few things we know: Democrats are obsessed with electability. No. 2, Warren’s support is very concentrated among liberal whites with college degrees. No. 3, we know that happens to be a large New York Times–reading demographic.

When you put those things together, it makes sense that Democrats and Warren supporters could read that polling and have second thoughts about supporting her.

I wrote about that poll on the day it appeared, back in early November. Warren had spent the month of October rapidly climbing in primary polls, even very briefly unseating Joe Biden as the national leader in the RCP average. But the Times poll showed her underperforming Biden head-to-head with Trump in six battleground states. Other head-to-head polling has confirmed that Joe and even Bernie are stronger against Trump than Warren is: Biden leads by an average of 5.5 points nationally, Sanders by an average of 4.7, and Warren by an average of … 2.0.

One way to read Biden’s monster performance on Super Tuesday is as confirmation by the Democratic electorate that they really do view him as the most electable candidate in the race. His electability was in grave doubt after Iowa, New Hampshire, and Nevada, but the blowout in South Carolina seemed to send a wave of relief among Dem voters nationally that he really did have what it takes to win in November. Warren may have suffered for the opposite reason, because even her own fans had been given reason to doubt that she’d beat Trump. Once the perception sank in, she was done for. This made me laugh:

But of course it’s not as simple as electability. Her candidacy was premised on a high-risk wager, that Bernie either wouldn’t run this year or that she could win over progressives from him as a younger, supposedly more electable leftist who had the added bonus of potentially becoming the first woman presidency. That’s why she stuck to her guns on programs like Medicare for All and massive college loan forgiveness, even knowing how much they would frighten moderate voters: Not until December was it clear that the left was lining up with Bernie and wouldn’t return to her. She lost her wager. And with the middle crowded with Biden, Buttigieg, Klobuchar, and eventually Bloomberg, there was no way for her to reposition. All she could do was advertise herself as the center-left candidate and hope that liberals would settle on her as an acceptable compromise. Didn’t happen. Lefties and centrists each had their own champion.

She won’t even get a VP slot out of this, in all likelihood. She’s solid vice presidential material in a vacuum, someone who can talk policy but is also a skilled attack dog, as Mike Bloomberg discovered. But Democrats need some racial diversity on the ticket. And 1/1,024th Native American just ain’t gonna cut it.

The obligatory Trump dunk:

She did certainly cost Bernie Massachusetts, but that’s her home state. If she had a right to run anywhere, it was there. She may have cost him Minnesota but it’s hard at this point to assess where Warren’s votes will go now that she’s out:

And don’t forget that Bloomberg was in the mix in Minnesota and Texas, where he actually finished ahead of Warren. My guess is that Bloomy took more votes from Joe than Warren did from Sanders.

No word yet on an endorsement, but based on no evidence whatsoever I choose to believe that she’s already pledged her endorsement privately to Sanders and is about to tell him she’s withdrawing it in order to switch to Biden.

Just because that would make her … an Indian giver.

No, seriously, the probability of her shocking the world by supporting Joe over Bernie is somewhere on the order of .000001 percent. But this WaPo detail is so irresistible that it simply must be blogged.

Top surrogates and allies of Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders are discussing ways for their two camps to unite and push a common liberal agenda, with the expectation that Warren is likely to leave the presidential campaign soon, according to two people familiar with the talks…

Warren associates and the camp of former vice president Joe Biden also had talks about a potential endorsement if she drops out, according to two people familiar with the conversations…

Winning the backing of Warren, who began the race as a leader of the party’s liberal wing but later positioned herself as a uniter, would be a coup for either Sanders or Biden. For Sanders, it could help unify the liberal faction and signal that he is very much still in the race; for Biden, it would extend the recent rush of party leaders who have rallied around him.

For any other politician, endorsing Biden would be an easy call at this point. He’s highly likely to finish ahead in delegates before the convention at this point, so why not make nice with him? But the only base Warren has is the left, and they’d hate her with the heat of a thousand suns if she denied Bernie the one major endorsement he’s been counting on since the race began. Biden and Warren have always had a frosty relationship too, so it’s not like there’s personal affection there that might tip the scale. She’ll endorse Sanders. Probably soon, or else progressives will hold it against her for delaying. Especially after Buttigieg and Klobuchar moved so quickly to help Joe.

Update: Needless to say, the whining from journalists and feminists will be insufferable.

Update: A fair point here — but with a caveat.

Gutting the billionaire will certainly be Warren’s proudest moment of the campaign. But lefties will wonder: What if she hadn’t? If Bloomberg had had a better debate, he might have performed better on Tuesday night, taking more votes from Biden. That could have made the difference in Texas and might have mattered considerably to the final delegate hauls out of California. Even Warren’s greatest populist triumph as a candidate may have unintentionally weakened Bernie’s chances at the nomination.

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