Neither Bernie Sanders nor Elizabeth Warren will be the Democratic nominee for president. Until this week, both of them had a shot at it with Sanders’ chances being better than Warren’s. And therein lies the problem. Warren and her campaign simply couldn’t abide by the notion that Sanders would be the radical progressive still standing at the end, so in a desperate move to elevate herself above her “friend,” she tanked both of their chances.
In an effort to turn leftist women against Sanders, the Warren campaign leaked information to CNN that Sanders told her in 2018 he didn’t believe a woman could defeat President Trump. Sanders claims his actual comments were that anyone who wasn’t a straight white male would receive bigoted attacks from the President, but Warren confirmed that Sanders specifically claimed a woman couldn’t win.
This sparked outrage towards both candidates. Many attacked Sanders for saying such a thing while others attacked Warren for lying about it. The Washington Post found one eyewitness who refuted the claim while the NY Times found one who corroborated it. We were in a stalemate, though one with major repercussions.
All of this was exacerbated by CNN’s Abby Phillips, one of the moderators at the Democratic debate Tuesday, dismissed Sanders’ denial and asked Warren how his unconfirmed statement made her feel. Warren was so appalled by Sanders’ denial that she refused to shake his hand after the debate. Later, it was revealed what she said in their exchange: “I think you called me a liar on national TV.”
While most supporters for one will still support the other if their chosen candidate drops out first, there are those who will not. Will that be 5%? 10%? 20%? More? There’s no way to know now because we don’t know what sort or reconciliation, if any, will occur between now and then. We also don’t know if the dirt being flung back and forth now will continue or if it will be redirected at their more moderate fellow frontrunners.
Warren’s campaign made a tough choice. This isn’t something they ever would have considered if their polling numbers were like they were two months ago. But they’re showing signs of desperation now as her numbers drop while Sanders’ numbers rise ahead of the beginning of caucus/primary season. Neither campaign can afford to be stifled in the first four contests ahead of March 3rd’s Super Tuesday, so the Warren campaign made a strategic move. They failed to pull over moderates the last couple of weeks by making her seem more electable, so they decided to try to grab some of Sanders’ radicals.
What she likely didn’t expect to happen was for the rift they were creating to translate into a ton of negative press for her. Instead of being the woman on the far left worth migrating to, she further established that she has snake-like qualities. More importantly, she showed that her desire to win superseded her stated goal of playing fair. Whether Sanders said it or not in the privacy of his apartment, it should never have been leaked to the press. Warren demonstrated once again she’s the most politically conniving candidate of this election cycle, rivaling Hillary Clinton in how willing she is to allow her ambition to guide her decisions.
Now, both have been harmed by the exchange. Some speculated that CNN picked a side on this to promote Warren. This is false. They picked a side, possibly at the behest of the DNC, but that side wasn’t either of the candidates involved. They’re helping Joe Biden win the nomination by pitting his two biggest rivals against one another.
It’s absurdly ironic that the two holier-than-thou radical progressives will lose out on the nomination because one of them went low out of desperation and selfishness. Sanders can blame CNN and the DNC all he wants, but Warren is the real culprit.