Elizabeth Warren has chosen to suspend her campaign.
This news is major, not just because it leaves just two candidates in the Democratic field, which rapidly reduced in the last five days, but whichever candidate she endorses will surely see a boost in polls and next week’s primary contests.
While there will be plenty of time to delve into the political strategy and speculate on what the path forward looks like, I want to take a second to share some thoughts.
The Nu Deal is pretty new, and currently is a small side project that I channel my political energy into. I had gone back and forth as to whether I should endorse a candidate, mainly because…who would care?
But as of this morning, I had resolved to endorse a candidate, and that candidate was Elizabeth Warren.
Warren has brought to this election what no other candidate has been able to, and that is fire. Consistent, well-researched, strategically targeted fire. Do not confuse this with passion. Bernie has passion, yes. Biden has passion at times. Klobuchar and Steyer showed passion. Warren showed passion as well. But Warren brought the heat. She brought the heat in a way that left no room for argument, in a way that wasn’t recycled, and in a way that wasn’t cheap.
What I generally hear from Bernie is vague, broadly stated arguments against other candidates. Biden usually targets policies specifically, but his arguments also tend to be broad. Klobuchar and Buttigieg displayed some research into opponents, made some strong arguments against both personality and position, but Warren gave a different impression.
Elizabeth Warren gives the impression that she knows nearly everything there is to know about all the other candidates. And not only does she have that information at her disposal, she’s got it memorized. But that’s not all. She knows how to weaponize that information, and when. She doesn’t rattle, and she never slings a cheap line. There’s always strength behind her retorts, with some varying weight, I’ll admit.
She is by no means the perfect candidate. But unlike Hillary Clinton, there is an edge to Elizabeth Warren, a “No-Bull” demeanor that Clinton never seemed to be able to project. Clinton mimicked this behavior at times, but Warren owns it.
Many people say the consolidation of the moderates and now the progressives around the two remaining candidates is in response to the simple question of who can beat Trump in the fall. What I see is Trump chiding Bernie over socialist policies. But Bernie rarely displays the wit to make strong, real-time cases in defense of his policies. We get the same information again and again, repackaged slightly. He deflects a lot, and that’s ok. It’s a style, and he generally holds his own in debate, though rarely is he the strongest candidate on the stage.
Biden has baggage. I won’t deny he has strong support, and for good reasons. But against Trump, the Ukraine scandal will be at the forefront, and I don’t trust Biden will have an air-proof defense that will put voters at ease. His son will certainly be a central figure all Summer, if he earns the nomination. He babbles, he’s inconsistent in demeanor, from sleepy and disinterested, to fiery and passionate, as we saw on super Tuesday. He also tends to shoot from the hip, which may serve him well, but which also opens the door for slip-ups. Preparedness is not his thing.
Warren is all about preparedness. Michael Bloomberg spent over $500 million on ads for Super Tuesday. He was actually competitive in places. But not enough. Elizabeth Warren destroyed him in his first debate. And she did so in such a way that he couldn’t defend himself, not in enough time. She defined his whole image to voters in a matter of minutes, and he was done. She had research that showed he had a checkered history with women. He had them sign non-disclosure agreements with his company. She knew how to weaponize that info, and she blew up his campaign with it.
Her plans display the same level of thoughtfulness, the same attention to detail. They are comprehensive and exhaustive. Agree or disagree with her policies, you cannot argue that she does not have the organization and know-how to get bills written and passed. She could lead, both socially and administratively. And I truly believe you need both.
I believe against Donald Trump, Democrats need all the weapons they can find. Warren manufactures them. I truly believe she could bring forth arguments and information against Donald Trump that we have never heard – hard to imagine, I know. But she has a track record that shows she is capable of that.
It is not simply that I fear Bernie and Biden cannot bring the same threat, it is that I know they can’t. Bernie has ideas that fuel his campaign. But he has never been aggressive in his attacks, he leaves too much to be considered in his plans and that makes him a bit one-dimensional. It is a strong dimension, but it leaves one feeling a little uncertain.
Biden can be volatile. He can certainly attack, but he doesn’t always hit his mark and he has painted himself into corners in the past. His points are not always complete, he may start strong, but not have the finisher in hand. His moderate policies may have broader appeal, but he also has more baggage than Bernie. He may be multi-dimensional, but I believe he is more vulnerable.
I will miss Warren’s presence in this campaign. She kept her opponents honest, maybe to a fault. In doing so, she may have given up precious time to let us see her full plans, how they work, and most importantly, how they are different from her opponents. I don’t believe her lane was as narrow as many believed. There is an ocean between Biden and Sanders, and that that space will be empty so early in this primary is a detriment in the long run. I think we needed Elizabeth Warren a little longer, even if she would not be the eventual nominee. We needed the extra information, that extra grit, before we arrived at the progressives vs. moderate showdown. Her arguments alone may have served to bring those sides a little closer, turn the ocean into a river, and bring Democrats to a point we could all feel good about.
I do not dislike the remaining nominees. But I have enjoyed the diversity of ideas thus far in the primary. To see Elizabeth Warren go closes that chapter and quite simply, I am sad to see her go.
Photo Credit Mario Tama, Getty Images 2020
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