DANIEL VAUGHAN: Elizabeth Warren’s campaign is another technocratic failure

We’re only two states into the Democratic primaries, and two things are already apparent. First, Joe Biden’s ship is taking on water and sinking faster than any “lying, dog-faced pony soldier” I’ve ever seen. And second, if Biden is falling, Elizabeth Warren’s campaign is the Titanic as it broke in half and began sinking to the bottom of the sea.

The once-vaunted candidate, the woman with a plan for every question, every issue, and every person, now doesn’t have a single idea on how to win the Democratic primary. She imploded after only two contests. Do you remember what the media told us about Warren last year? Last summer, The New York Times was telling us that Elizabeth Warren and Pete Buttigieg had “cracked the code of the media to get favorable coverage.”

Warren went from that kind of glowing coverage to finishing in a distant fourth place in the New Hampshire primaries. Distant does not quite describe how far back Warren fell in New Hampshire. Sure, she and Biden placed fourth and fifth, respectively, but that sounds better than the vote numbers.

For comparison, Amy Klobuchar finished in third place and got the last six delegates after Bernie Sanders and Pete Buttigieg got nine apiece for first and second place. Amy Klobuchar finished with 58,796 votes, which was a respectable third-place finish. Sanders and Buttigieg got over 70,000 votes apiece. But Elizabeth Warren and Joe Biden got a combined 52,308 votes. Together, they couldn’t even equal the third-place finish in New Hampshire.

Elizabeth Warren finished with 9.2% of the overall vote and that put her closer to Andrew Yang’s 2.8% end of the spectrum than those who cast ballots for Amy Klobuchar. Warren got annihilated up and down the ballot, and it wasn’t even close. Her former supporters apparently fled to Bernie Sanders or Amy Klobuchar, which says something about the importance of all her plans and policy proposals.

The point about this isn’t that hindsight is 20/20, it’s that Elizabeth Warren’s surge was a media creation. The mainstream media wanted Warren to succeed. She was their preferred savior against Trump. Writing at the peak of the Warren boomlet in the polls in October of 2019, FiveThirtyEight’s Nate Silver said, “For the past several months, I think Warren’s gotten the most friendly stretch of media coverage of any presidential candidate since Barack Obama in 2008.”

Warren’s positive coverage came after the launch of her campaign in November 2018 (yes — that’s how long this primary process has been going). The same week that Warren’s campaign launched, she claimed a blood test proved she was a Native American. This is the same claim she later scrubbed from her website after having to apologize to Native American tribes. This week also happened to be the same time then-top Democratic potential nominee Michael Avenatti was arrested the first time for domestic violence (the Nike extortion arrest came later).

Warren never cracked a single media code. Journalists broke it for her and pushed her to the top of the pile. But then it turned out that she couldn’t sell the goods. Now outlets like CNN are running hits on Bernie Sanders during debates. MSNBC found this out firsthand when they sent journalists out into New Hampshire and asked people why they voted for Bernie Sanders. One woman was blunt, “I want to say, the reason I went for Bernie is MSNBC,” the woman told Ari Melber.

She blasted MSNBC’s treatment of Bernie Sanders, “The kind of ‘Stop Bernie’ cynicism that I heard from a number of people… It made me angry, so I said, Bernie’s got my vote.” She was likely referring to things like MSNBC’s Chris Matthews’s unhinged rant against Bernie Sanders on MSNBC, where he connected Sanders to public executions in Central Park.

It’s not just the media’s treatment of Warren and Sanders that matters. At the height of the Warren bubble, I wrote that she had a problem: she was the Mitt Romney of the Democratic Primaries. And perhaps that was too harsh to Mitt — at least he won a primary! Warren attempted to win a primary and a general election at the same time and tried to give two answers to everything. In the end, the Bernie wing saw her as a liar, and the moderate side saw her as an untrustworthy extremist — and they both had a point!

Sanders may be an extreme leftist, but he is straightforward about who he is and what he wants to do. Bernie wants an old-school style socialist revolution where he leads the way in seizing control of major sectors of the U.S. economy and placing them under the power of the federal government. His first target is healthcare, and he builds out from there.

Warren wanted a technocratic revolution, where she offered a plan for everything. But it’s hard to trust a person with a plan when they’re too busy lying about their ethnicity, or how they’ll pay for their Medicare for All project, or their job history.

There’s a famous line that goes, “No plan survives contact with the enemy.” In Warren’s case, her plans went up in smoke the moment Iowa and New Hampshire started counting votes. It’s just another example of technocrats proving to be less experts than they are amateur gamblers who read a book on how to beat the house. They’re always convinced their plan works — even if they’re deep in the red, offering up their watch for credit.