Reports from news outlets announced that Sen.
Elizabeth Warren is ending her presidential bid, a bitter blow for a senator who was long seen by prominent Democrats as a front-runner in the 2020 Presidential Race.
The decision comes after a dismal “Super Tuesday” results in which Warren failed to win any states, ends a busy year of campaigning for a candidate who introduces herself as a progressive fighter from humble beginnings who was ready to take on a broken and corrupt system.
The Massachusetts Democrat amazed people with her sharp intellect, her clear prognoses for complex problems, and her endless stream of policy blueprints to discuss them. After long polling rises over summer until fall, it was clear Warren’s message was working, and she rose to the front of the pack in some polls while avoiding a clash with rivals. In late summer, she brought massive crowds of about 15,000 in Seattle and 20,000 in Washington Square Park in New York.
From the people’s standpoint, the plan seems to be working. Then it all started to fall apart.
Warren was hammered on her “Medicare for All” plan by rivals like Pete Buttigieg, who started to peel away white college graduates, a group that formed the core of her base.
She answered by releasing a series of detailed financing mechanisms, followed by a masterplan to transition onto Medicare for All in the third year of her presidency, moving first to form a “public option” in the first year.The act didn’t placate moderates and sowed doubts about her among left-leaning voters, who instead choose to side toward Sen.
Bernie Sanders, I-Vt.
Sean McElwee, a progressive organizer, and co-founder of Data For Progress told reporters:
“The problem that Warren has is all of the Bernie people think she’s a neoliberal shill, and all of the centrists think she’s a raging Maoist.”
Meanwhile, the huge group of moderates, considered as the staying power of Joe Biden, made it harder for her to increase her support among the mainstream Democrats who backed Hillary Clinton in 2016. Questions about “electability” bugged her throughout the fall as many voters, affected by the last presidential election, fretted that the U.S. still wouldn’t elect a woman.
A silent fear thrust into the spotlight right before the Iowa caucuses when news broke of a late 2018 meeting between Warren and Sanders, saying that Sanders told her he didn’t think a woman could beat President Donald Trump.
The story led to a confrontation on stage last January, with Sanders denying the story and Warren sticking by her version of the story.The two later tried to end the tensions, not wanting to alienate their progressive supporters. But the moment also made it difficult for Warren to draw contrasts with her fellow progressive, at a time when it would’ve benefited her to show how she was different.
Warren wasn’t helped by the polls either that showed her ranking worse than Sanders and Biden against Trump in key states like Michigan and Florida, forming doubts among Democrats whose top concern was the only constant in this primary: finding someone who they could trust to defeat Trump.
Trump fueled this fear by repeatedly attacking Warren as “Pocahontas,” a reference to her decades-long claim of Native American ancestry and her 2018 decision to take a DNA test to prove it.
Ultimately, it was the crowded field that destroyed her most. National and early state surveys of Democrats heading into the new year showed her leading all rivals on “second choice” preferences. Her campaign wanted to turn that into a positive by introducing a new message of unity, pitching her as the candidate best-positioned to bridge the divides between the party’s left and moderate wings.
That, too, unexpectedly backfired on her. For many voters, it was hard to square “unity” with her “fighter” persona. Previous candidates attempting to bridge that divide had also failed, including Kamala Harris and Cory Booker.
After ranking just fourth and third in Iowa and New Hampshire, Warren got rid of that message and brought back her more combative persona, launching attacks on new arrival Mike Bloomberg in the Las Vegas debate. She also finally abandoned her non-aggression pact with Sanders.
It was a change-up that allies had worked on for weeks; one that reminded progressives why they wanted to vote her in the first place and led to a massive windfall of much-needed donations that kept her campaign afloat.
She continued the work in the Charleston, South Carolina, debate the following week, saying she’d be more effective at passing a progressive agenda because she analyzes the details of policy and process. Despite ranking fifth, her campaign vowed to take the fight to the July convention.
On Super Tuesday, Sanders and Biden already made big victories. After a disappointing day for Warren, in which she won only a small part of delegates and lost her home state, her campaign announced that she was reassessing her path forward.
Now, her departure from the race only means there will be no more women in the top tier of the field.