Why Warren Needs to Stay in the Game
By Sunny Dell
Here’s a hot take for you: Elizabeth Warren should not only not drop out of the race right now, she should stay in it until the bitter end.
Let me preface this by saying that I like Bernie Sanders. I’m not afraid of democratic socialism and I would be super down to see an actual income equality revolution in this country. With that said, I have serious doubts about his ability to pull it off in this election cycle. And let’s face it, even if he miraculously makes it to the inauguration stage, there’s a snowstorm’s chance in hell he can push through that kind of bold agenda if Mitch McConnell isn’t ousted in November.
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On the topic of Joe Biden, I don’t hate on the man. He’s a standard establishment left-leaning neoliberal in a time when we desperately need to push away from the status quo, but he’s not evil. If the option is Uncle Joe or Trump, the decision is easy. Same goes for a Sanders v. Trump showdown.
But to some degree, we have to be willing to look at reality as what it is and not just what we want it to be, and that reality comes with some serious hurdles for any candidate running in this odd and kind of scary political moment. There’s serious potential that both Bernie and Biden could fall flat on their asses. For different reasons, and not of my choosing, both of the two men left standing are vulnerable, which doesn’t guarantee failure but we’d be idiots not to recognize the risk.
Bernie’s movement has been nothing short of amazing, in 2016 and now. His support is awe inspiring, but it has waned some. His turnout Tuesday among the young and people of color was disappointing, as he himself admitted. Maybe he can bolster that support — it’s possible — and he’ll have to if he’s going to survive the rest of the primary season. The most consistent voters in this country are in their later years and older people have a more visceral response to the word “socialism.” Though it may not be in their best interest to resist perks like Medicare For All, they are too closely tied to examples of socialism gone wrong. In other words, Bernie scares the fuck out of a lot of older people and if he can’t shore up more of the youth vote, he’ll be shit out of luck in the general.
Biden’s comeback, albeit party designed, was impressive Tuesday. But he needs a hell of a lot more than a few impressive days strung together to finish this fight. The former VP and Bernie have opposite problems in the age demographic of their voters. Biden’s not relatable to young people and his base in older crowds and in communities of color took some serious South Carolina success and hefty endorsements to push him back up from the dirt. Maybe he’ll keep up the momentum and rue the day, but maybe, and I’m just spitballing here, maybe he fucks up on the debate stage or takes a public dive that pushes him back down. And we can’t ignore that Biden has a huge target on his back with Trump cronies right now issuing subpoenas.
A lot can change in a few days, as Biden just illustrated. Imagine what a couple weeks could do to the trajectory for either of them. Pushing Warren out now, especially now that the vote-sucking Bloomberg is done, is premature. We’ve seen rises and falls in this race with more frequency than people change their chonies, and it just doesn’t make any pragmatic sense to eliminate the third option based on an anomaly.
This isn’t an endorsement, it’s a cautionary tale. Slippery road ahead.