Well that was quick. Once the do-no-wrong darling of Democrats, and the inevitable front-runner for the party’s 2020 presidential ticket, Sen. Elizabeth Warren suddenly finds herself being minimized by key party leadership.
So how did the progressive lion get muzzled? Simple. A poll. Earlier this week, a Politico/Morning Consult poll found that 43 percent of respondents would vote for a nameless Democrat candidate while 35 percent would vote for President Trump. But, the poll showed that Trump still beat Sen. Warren in a hypothetical matchup, 42 percent to 36 percent, an astounding rebuke of the party’s leftward shift.
Democrats, many of whom had already anointed Warren as the progressive standard-bearer for the next four years, immediately went into a frenzied panic. Not only did the poll make clear that Warren is not going to lift up the political fortunes of the downtrodden Democrats, it made clear that she is an anchor who could sink them further.
To stem the bleeding Democrats immediately began to portray the public elevation of Sen. Warren as a political strategy designed by Republicans. Warren, they argued, is not the heart, soul, or even face, of the Democratic Party, she’s just some loud, lefty who probably spent too much time hanging out with Bernie Sanders.
“To suggest that we’re Elizabeth Warren is ridiculous, especially when you look at voting records and where we’ve been,” Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) told Politico. “They need a bogeyman, and they’re trying to turn Elizabeth into a bogeyman.”
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer was even more blunt about Republicans purported “strategy.”
“It’s not going to work,” he said flatly.
But this is not some Jedi mind trick. Republicans didn’t turn Warren into a bogeyman, nor did they elevate her to be the Democrats de facto leader – Democrats did all that.
It’s why former Obama advisors Jon Favreau and Dan Pfeiffer lamented the leaderless state of the Democrat party, but felt that “Elizabeth Warren is going to have to be a very important voice,” because she’s the only one with the “national stature” capable of delivering a “compelling message.” It’s why veteran campaign strategist Lynda Tran said that Warren is “the ideal person” to unify the party. It’s why another strategist called her “uniquely positioned” because her career is “exactly what voters are looking for this cycle.” It’s why progressive bibles like the New Republic called her the “party’s most stalwart voice“ and “perfectly suited to be the leader of the opposition to Trump.” And it’s why mainstream publications like Newsweek said that she’s the “closest thing Democrats have to a public face right now.”
To now say that Republicans engineered Sen. Warren’s ascendancy is an astounding rebuke of the progressive grassroots movement. It’s also a remarkable indication of just vicious Democrat insiders are willing to be in order to win in 2020. After all, it only took one poll to convince Sen. Schumer that Warren may speak for the deep-blue coastal enclaves, but didn’t have the juice to regain the territory ceded to the GOP in recent years.
That’s a big gamble. There’s a reason that nearly every pollster, pundit and party-insider had Warren at the top of their prospective tickets. She’s a political dynamo. One that exists on the far left end of the political spectrum, sure, but also seemingly the only one with the guts to attempt to fill the power vacuum left by President Obama’s departure from the White House.
It may speak volumes that Warren—the only Democrat with the public profile, donor network and political skill—still can’t beat Trump in a presidential matchup. But the real concern for Democrats should be that still haven’t found anyone who could do better.
Photo Credit: AFGE. More of their work HERE.