The Iowa caucuses haven’t even begun, but it’s already looking like it could be the end of the road for Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA).
President Donald Trump did not wait to declare Warren’s campaign “dead” as a vicious feud erupted between the progressive and her longtime friend, Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT). Trump suggested that Sanders was trying to poach voters from a dying campaign and teased, “Do I see a feud brewing?”
In a desperate and possibly fatal move, Warren waved the spectre of sexism over Sanders’ head Monday, confirming a recent report that he had said he did not think a woman could win the presidency.
Trump says Warren is done
Warren’s fortunes have faded recently as she has struggled to articulate her health care plan and faced accusations of inauthenticity, while Sanders has been on the upswing in Iowa. A fight that was a long time coming broke out this weekend between the two Democrats, who are battling for dominance in the party’s progressive wing against moderates Joe Biden and Pete Buttigieg.
The Massachusetts senator didn’t wait to strike after a Politico report exposed a Sanders campaign attempt to frame her as the preferred candidate of wealthy liberal professionals, a clear jab at her claimed working-class bona fides. Warren said she was “disappointed” and called on Sanders to do better, but Trump saw an opportunity to skewer the Democrat whom he has long mocked over her claims of Native American ancestry, famously dubbing her “Pocahontas.”
The president suggested that Warren’s campaign was a sinking ship and that Sanders was trying to pick up some of her supporters. He added that “Mini Mike” Bloomberg was trying — and failing — to do the same.
“Bernie Sander’s [sic] volunteers are trashing Elizabeth ‘Pocahontus’ [sic] Warren. Everybody knows her campaign is dead and want her potential voters. Mini Mike B is also trying, but getting tiny crowds which are all leaving fast. Elizabeth is very angry at Bernie. Do I see a feud brewing?” Trump tweeted.
Risky attack on Sanders
While progressives have slammed Warren for being too cozy with the system, the senator has tried to pitch herself as a compromise candidate between moderates and progressives. But Warren made a risky move not long after Trump’s tweet that drastically upped the ante — while risking further backlash from the far left.
The senator responded in the affirmative to a CNN report which claimed that Sanders told Warren at a December 2018 meeting that he did not believe a woman could win the presidency. While Warren’s claim did shine a light on one of Sanders’ soft spots — namely, his focus on class war over the identity politics that has taken over the Democratic party — and with which Warren has increasingly identified — it also risked exposing Warren to attack for denigrating a widely-respected figure among Democrats.
“Bernie and I met for more than two hours in December 2018 to discuss the 2020 election, our past work together and our shared goals: beating Donald Trump, taking back our government from the wealthy and well-connected, and building an economy that works for everyone,” Warren said. “Among the topics that came up was what would happen if Democrats nominated a female candidate. I thought a woman could win; he disagreed.”
Focus on Bernie
Meanwhile, the Trump campaign has turned its attention to Sanders, who is seen as a rising threat to current leader Biden, even going so far as to dub him the frontrunner. In the past, Trump has mostly trained his sights on “sleepy Joe,” who continues to lead nationally in polls despite failing to generate a great deal of voter enthusiasm.
While it’s possible that Trump does see Sanders as a new threat, some say that he is purposefully stoking the flames of discord in order to bolster Sanders’ fortunes, presumably because he feels safer facing off against him in the fall. What is evident is that the Democrats still don’t have a clear frontrunner, and the Iowa caucuses are in less than a month.