Tonight, the Democratic nomination process just got significantly messier. At the moment, nothing is certain. Nothing except this: Elizabeth Warren will not be the Democratic nominee for president.
After a string of disappointing defeats in the early states, she has all but been eliminated from amassing more delegates than the other candidates currently running — or even coming close.
The victory scenario her campaign touts in increasingly fanciful memos involves her going into the Democratic convention in Milwaukee potentially having won not a single state — including her own, where she came in third place tonight — with fewer delegates than the top two contenders. But somehow being handed the nomination because she represents the “unity” of the party.
Warren can neither claim that she has a better favorability rating than Bernie Sanders, nor that she polls better against Trump. Neither of which would be good reasons anyway to grossly violate the popular will expressed by voters at the ballot box.
She will neither win the nomination nor will it be given to her. Not only will neither of these events happen, it should deeply trouble her progressive fans that she’d even want such a turn of events.
Joe Biden has emerged as the Democratic establishment’s choice to stop Sanders — his two major rivals on the right of the party, Klobuchar and Buttigieg, dropped out and endorsed him. Biden is their champion not against Donald Trump, but the prospect of a progressive takeover of the party.
Warren, who entered the national political scene in 2003 as a staunch critic of the bankruptcy bill that Biden shepherded through the Senate, now stands in the way of the Left’s best chance in a century to chart this country’s destiny. More disturbing is the fact that she is certainly aware of this.
Elizabeth Warren has a historic opportunity to help forge an alliance between her professional class base and Sanders’ working-class movement, including a massive enthusiasm among Latino voters, that cements social-democratic politics as the center of the Democratic Party.
It’s time for progressives to snap out of it. The Democratic Party is actively courting electoral and political disaster by uniting behind Joe Biden. With Biden as the nominee, Trump will have the perfect opening to run as a critic of Biden’s extensive and awful record on social security, trade, crime, and bankruptcy. Trump unveiled pieces of this strategy in his Super Bowl ad highlighting his work on criminal justice reform, signaling that he intends to hammer Biden for his devastating Reagan-era crime bills.
Hillary Clinton dominated in the 2016 primary with African-American voters, yet millions who had turned out to vote for Obama in 2012 stayed home in 2016, contributing to her disastrous loss to Trump in crucial states like Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. If Joe Biden is the nominee, he will face off against a President Trump, who has made outreach to black and Latino voters an important part of his 2020 campaign strategy.
Warren better than most knows the politics Joe Biden represented in his long political career. If she does not do the indisputably decent thing of throwing her full weight behind Sanders, her progressive supporters have a duty to cease supporting her futile campaign. Sadly, by staying in, Warren’s campaign is now actively supporting the nomination of everything she entered politics to stop.
Remaining in the race will not increase the chances that she will be the nominee. It only increases the odds of a Biden nomination.
Warren’s campaign and her supporters lean on two arguments to justify her remaining in the race. First, they claim that whatever delegates Warren accumulates will be part of a “progressive bloc” that will go to Sanders if he’s more viable than her. Second, they argue that Buttigieg and Klobuchar voters are more likely to go to her than Sanders and she can act as a buffer that absorbs some of their supporters, blunting Biden’s edge.
Both these arguments fly in the face of what’s happening on the ground. We can already see the forward momentum Klobuchar and Buttigieg have created by exiting and endorsing Biden. Beto O’Rourke and Senator Tammy Duckworth also came out for Biden along with Harry Reid, with many no doubt soon to follow. Klobuchar and Buttigieg knew exactly what they were doing when they exited and endorsed Biden and he has reaped the rewards tonight.
As to the fear that Warren’s voters would not go to Sanders — who better to make the argument for Bernie than Warren herself? There are no far-flung strategic reasons that are more pressing than the need to form a united front against Biden and the politics and interests he represents.
Warren has an historic opportunity to be one of the leaders in that fight. Let’s hope she doesn’t squander it.