Politics is a nasty business. It’s always been nasty. The dealings of the nation are mostly borne out of the gutter. The machinations greased with slime, and the polluted and corrupted water from the cesspool sold as snake oil to the masses. And we’re all forced to care because there are tax laws that force us to hand over our hard-earned money to keep this monster fed, which occupies Washington D.C. They all suck, but you still have to pick a team. Donald Trump is exposing this nasty underbelly. I don’t care about his moral compass. I don’t. Does he get done what I want him to get done? Yes. Bigger paychecks, more jobs, more opportunities, fewer regulations, fewer taxes, better trade deals, and a stronger military. He’s getting them done. No one cares about his alleged trysts with porn stars. He gets stuff done.
And there are people who want to also get stuff done, but first, they need to rid themselves of Donald Trump. These people are called Democrats—and they’re literally the spawn of Satan. As the 2020 cycle increases in intensity, two left-wing candidates Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders decided to have a non-aggression pact. The more united, the greater chances for victory, right? Yeah, except there’s a problem: both of these people want to be the next president. There can only be one—and if you think that friendship is more important than power, you cannot be in politics. Of course, power trumps all. That’s what happened here. A story broke yesterday that Sanders told Warren that she couldn’t win the presidency because she was a woman. At the time, this was unconfirmed. No one would offer comments, except Bernie who denied these remarks. Then, Warren responded pretty much confirming the story (via Politico):
NEW: Statement from Elizabeth Warren about her 2018 meeting with Bernie Sanders pic.twitter.com/9M2hU7HaOf— Josh Jamerson (@joshjame) January 14, 2020
Elizabeth Warren stood by news reports that Bernie Sanders told her a little over a year ago that he thought Democrats would lose in 2020 if they nominated a woman to challenge Donald Trump — an account Sanders denied earlier in the day.
In an extraordinary statement issued the night before the debate before the Iowa caucuses, Warren asserted that Sanders made the remarks during a private meeting in December of 2018 to discuss the 2020 election.
“Among the topics that came up was what would happen if Democrats nominated a female candidate. I thought a woman could win; he disagreed," she said in the statement.
And now, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) chiming in with her interactions with Mr. Sanders that are quite different as she, a long shot 2020 candidate, is doing her part to try and break up the top-tier before the race hits hyperdrive:
I also met with @BernieSanders before announcing my candidacy. We had a nice one-on-one conversation and I informed him that I would be running for President. In that meeting, he showed me the greatest respect and encouragement, just as he always has.— Tulsi Gabbard ?? (@TulsiGabbard) January 14, 2020
Why? Well, Bernie is in this to win it. Any person insane enough to mount a national campaign is gunning for a win. With her campaign floundering over the last few weeks, it wouldn’t shock me if this were a targeted leak. Hell—it was a leak. And now Sanders, with the Iowa caucuses weeks away, will now have to field questions about this alleged sexist remark and of all days to do it—tonight. It will be on the debate stage—with scores of Democrats looking on prior to this key primary contest. If there was any time to launch an ambush, this was the time. As we’ve seen December, Warren’s standing in the polls has degraded immensely. In California, Sanders has taken the lead. For Warren, she faced her own Battle of the Little Bighorn concerning her political ambitions. She still has lingering questions about electability, which has, in turn, damaged her standing in the poll. Not enough to kill her, but bad enough to keep her from pulling away in this contest (via RCP):
In September, Warren had twice the support of Biden among liberals and a 17-percentage-point lead over Sanders. By the December poll Warren had fallen among liberals to 24% while Biden and Pete Buttigieg had both gained support. Among more moderate Democrats, Warren remained at about 10% while Biden increased his lead a little and Buttigieg rose to double digits. Sanders stayed about the same among liberals, but lost seven points among more moderate Democrats. What this table demonstrates is that Warren’s drop in the polls can be attributed to her standing among liberals, who supposedly favor her Medicare for All ideas.
Why, then, has Warren slipped? One answer is electability. Even if primary voters are closer on issues to one candidate, they will often vote for another if they think the second candidate is more likely to win the general election. In the 2004 contest for the Democratic presidential nomination, for instance, former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean had a 2-to-1 lead over John Kerry late in 2003, with the Iowa caucuses only a month away. Yet, when the ballots were counted, Kerry won twice as many delegates as Dean and went on to win 12 of 14 contested primaries and the nomination.
In September, 73% of liberal Democrats thought Warren would beat Trump; that number is now down to 59%. Sanders’ numbers remained unchanged at 60% over these three months, while Buttigieg fell slightly. Among moderate/conservative Democrats, Biden held steady while both Warren and Sanders fell to 37% from 49% and 46%, respectively. In sum, Warren has fallen because Democrats, especially liberal Democrats, perceive that she has an electability problem -- in all likelihood largely driven by her positions on health care and the economy. Sanders, the other major candidate on the left, appears to have a similar electability problem, but his slide has been among more moderate Democratic voters.
Again, this is a nasty business. You only have potential enemies. That’s it (via NYT):
To her left, national and early-state polls show Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont holding onto steady support from 15 to 20 percent of Democratic voters, most of them liberals. Meanwhile, former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Ind., have been snatching supporters from Ms. Warren across the ideological spectrum.
This is the first presidential race in the past half-century in which two staunchly left-wing candidates have mounted viable, top-tier candidacies for the Democratic nomination. In many ways, this reflects the state of a party whose rank-and-file members has been moving steadily left since the mid-1990s. Last year, a majority of Democrats identified as liberals for the first time on record, according to Gallup polling.
“The Democratic electorate has a larger liberal bloc than it ever did,” Sean McElwee, a co-founder of Data for Progress, said in an interview. “The rise in college education has created a much higher concentration of ideological liberalism, in a way that hasn’t existed in the past as a coalition in the Democratic Party.”
For now, both Ms. Warren and Mr. Sanders appear to be fighting for support from many of the same voters — while refusing to attack each other on the campaign trail.
Both candidates are seen favorably by more than three-quarters of liberal Democratic primary voters, according to national polls like the one released this week by Quinnipiac University. That survey showed that both Ms. Warren and Mr. Sanders remain the most popular second-choice pick for each other’s supporters.
That last part is key: how do they move up to become the first choice? Some shanking had to be done. Mr. Sanders has similar issues regarding electability. Both camps will sink if both of them remain. Someone had to make a move. Someone had to fix bayonets—and the progressive left just got very nervous (via The Hill):
Liberal Democrats, some of whom would be happy with either Sanders or Warren winning the nomination, are fearful that the attacks between the two will pave the way for a centrist candidate, such as former Vice President Joe Biden or former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg, to win in Iowa.
The progressive group Democracy for America released a statement on Monday calling on Sanders and Warren to stand down.
“Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, you both are progressive champions and our movement needs to see you working together to defeat your corporate Democratic opponents – not attack each other,” the statement said. “Progressives will win in 2020, but only if we don’t let the corporate wing or [President] Trump divide us.”
Sanders’s supporters are furious over what they view as a desperate attempt by the media and Warren staffers to blunt his momentum in the race.
Politico reported over the weekend that the Sanders campaign quietly instructed volunteers to tell undecided voters that Warren would be a weak general election candidate because her appeal is limited to “highly educated, more affluent people who are going to show up and vote Democratic no matter what.”
According to the talking points, the volunteers were instructed to tell voters that Warren is “bringing no new bases into the Democratic Party.”
Warren fired back directly at Sanders, saying she was “disappointed to hear that Bernie is sending his volunteers out to trash me.”
“Bernie knows me and has known me for a long time,” Warren said. “He knows who I am, where I come from, what I have worked on and fought for and the coalition and grassroots movement we are trying to build. Democrats want to win in 2020. We all saw the impact of the factionalism in 2016 and we can’t have a repeat of that.”
“I hope Bernie reconsiders and turns his campaign in a different direction,” Warren added.
So, it would seem the non-aggression pact has all but collapsed. We’ll see if it’s actually dead tonight during the debate. But this was going to happen. One has to win. One has to lose and they both tap into the same pool of rabidly left-wing Democrats. The peace pipe was going to be broken. This is politics. This is the presidency. And only one person can be president. Both candidates have egos that could fill an oil tanker. This was going to get ugly—and it’s gotten ugly rather fast.