It was bound to happen. As Democrats contend with each other for the presidential nomination, Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren have remained cordial and oftentimes complimentary to each other. But that has changed overnight, three weeks before the Iowa caucus, as the two radical progressive champions of the hyper-leftist movement have unofficially declared a cold war on each other.
This has been building up for a couple of weeks as Warren’s campaign has begun painting her as the more moderate of the two far-left candidates. Where once she was all-in for Medicare-for-All immediately, she has since softened her view with a layered plan that may or may not address single-payer healthcare in her first term. But the real “softening” has been happening through campaign messages since the new decade began as her team has promoted her electability over the self-proclaimed Democratic Socialist from Vermont.
It all came to a sudden boiling point when CNN reported Sanders told Warren in a private meeting in December, 2018, the he didn’t believe a woman could win against President Trump. That in and of itself is just CNN being CNN; they have clearly sided with former Vice President Joe Biden and have quietly subverted his more radical challengers. But the war between the two went public when Warren confirmed the story, leading some to speculate it was her campaign that leaked the news in the first place.
Sanders followed up by calling it all ludicrous. “It’s sad that, three weeks before the Iowa caucus and a year after that private conversation, staff who weren’t in the room are lying about what happened,” he said.
Then, the Washington Post posted a generally neutral take on the issue, saying the two sides disagree over the content of the meeting that happened over a year ago. But they did some digging of their own and found one person who was present at the time refute the allegation.
Peter Daou is scolding Warren.
Nate Silver says it's obvious Warren leaked the story.
The Washington Post, that famously ran 16 hit-pieces against Bernie in 16 hours, is reporting that two people refute Warren's story.
Jesus. Bernie's gonna win isn't he? pic.twitter.com/QaCC93wxs8
— Nate's Liver – Commentary (@SilERabbit) January 14, 2020
Late yesterday and into today, #RefundWarren was trending on Twitter. Many of the Tweets in it gave instructions on how to receive a refund for donations made to the Warren campaign, while anecdotal reports indicate the ActBlue website was being hit hard with traffic based on errors and general sluggishness. But the hashtag was mostly filled with “Bernie Bros” calling Warren a liar and Warren supporters claiming it was Sanders supporters who were actually promoting the hashtag.
Elizabeth Warren's plan to get attention is going exceedingly well. No one will forget the first negative donation day in history. Brilliant move. https://t.co/vBxx4vypVh
— Nate's Liver – Commentary (@SilERabbit) January 14, 2020
One thing that should be considered: Warren has proven herself to be a liar time and time again. While I find Sanders’s policy proposals to be the most heinous things ever espoused by a presidential candidate, he has been mostly truthful about his radical ways.
What does this mean? Warren has been slipping in the polls while Sanders has been rising. It’s beneficial for Sanders that the first contest is in Iowa where he seems likely to do better than Warren. A big win or second-place finish will help him make the case that the progressive movement needs to consolidate under him in order to stop the Democratic Establishment embodied by Biden.
Much of it will depend on how mainstream media covers this. They already landed a blow on Sanders by pushing the anti-woman narrative. If they do not pay much attention to followups that demonstrate Sanders probably didn’t say what he’s accused of saying, it will play poorly for him. But social media is blowing up about Warren’s apparent leak followed by a confirmation lie. Though many Twitter users seem to think Warren is done based on the hashtag trending, it’s likely they’re overestimating the influence of Twitter. The social media site is only as powerful as mainstream media allows it to be, so when they echo or report on the sentiment, it’s a huge swaying factor. When they ignore it, so does most of America.
We’ve always known the radical progressives would have to unite behind a single candidate to have a chance. I expected that wouldn’t happen until around Super Tuesday, but it may be happening already. We’ll see how much the media mentions Warren this week.
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