Earlier this week, Elizabeth Warren offered a sketchy claim that Bernie Sanders, longtime self-proclaimed feminist, said that a woman couldn’t beat Trump in 2020. While she didn’t dwell on that claim for long last night, many saw the post-debate exchange between the two as a sign that they’re not back on good terms.
Last month, Warren went after Pete Buttigieg, contending he was a tool of his wealthiest donors: “So the mayor just recently had a fundraiser that was held in a wine cave full of crystals and served $900-a-bottle wine. Think about who comes to that. He had promised that every fundraiser he would do would be open door, but this one was closed door. We made the decision many years ago that rich people in smoke-filled rooms would not pick the next president of the United States. Billionaires in wine caves should not pick the next president of the United States.”
In November, Warren seemed to suggest some of her rivals were not really Democrats: “If anyone wants to defend keeping those high profits for insurance companies and those high profits for drug companies and not making the top 1 percent pay a fair share in taxes and not making corporations pay a fair share in taxes, then I think they’re running in the wrong presidential primary.”
That same month, without naming names, she’s argued that her rivals are naïve. “Unlike some candidates for the Democratic nomination, I’m not betting my agenda on the naïve hope that if Democrats adopt Republican critiques of progressive policies or make vague calls for unity that somehow the wealthy and well-connected will stand down.”
In her book, Warren wrote: “Senators like Joe Biden should not be allowed to sell out women in the morning and be heralded as their friend in the evening.”
None of this is unusual; it’s a presidential primary and candidates attack each other, sometimes in personal terms. No, what is unusual is that no matter what attack Warren throws at her opponents, her opponents do not respond by bringing up her past claim to be Native American, or Harvard Law School touting her as its first professor who was a “person of color.” It’s a completely fair criticism, her actions probably offend many members of minority groups, it makes Warren look dishonest and untrustworthy, and if Warren wins the nomination, the Trump campaign will be attacking on this morning, noon, and night.
Why are Warren’s rivals so hesitant to raise this issue? Is it that it’s the political equivalent of using a nuke, and that once that attack is launched, anything is fair game in response? Or is it that an extensive discussion about race would re-emphasize that the 2020 Democratic primary has come down to four white candidates?
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Jim Geraghty is the senior political correspondent of National Review. @jimgeraghty
National Review Online · by Jim Geraghty · January 15, 2020