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How is Elizabeth Warren Not the Perfect Candidate for This Moment?

By Dustin Rowles | Politics | February 18, 2020 |

By Dustin Rowles | Politics | February 18, 2020 |


Over the weekend and into the morning, there was a lot of talk online about the “erasure of Elizabeth Warren.” As an enthusiastic supporter of Warren, however, I thought that narrative illustrated a fundamental misunderstanding of the media. The media follows the story. Supporters wanted more coverage of Warren. But the story about Warren, so far, has been that her campaign has underperformed and that she’s been overshadowed by Bernie in the progressive lane, Buttigieg in the moderate lane, Klobuchar in the female candidate lane, and Biden in the disappointment lane. The fact that Warren’s campaign was being ignored — even in her home state newspaper, The Boston Globe — felt to me like an act of kindness, because not talking about Warren’s campaign seemed better than the alternative: Talking about Warren’s campaign.

But a funny thing happened yesterday. The erasure narrative took on a life of its own, and it became the story about Warren that the media could cover. Here’s the NYTimes headline this morning:

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Well done, Elizabeth Warren supporters.

Ahead of the Nevada caucus and the South Carolina primary, the Democratic race is still fluid, and there could be a big opportunity for Warren because she’s the perfect alternative to those worried about Bernie Sanders alienating the moderate wing; unhappy with the lack of experience of Pete Buttigieg; nervous about Klobuchar’s lack of infrastructure and money; and seriously concerned about the electability of Joe Biden. Everybody seems to want to look to Bloomberg (horfracisthorf) as the alternative to the other choices when Elizabeth Warren is right there.

Putting aside my own passion for Warren, how is she not the perfect candidate for this moment? Poll after poll shows that she is the most likable candidate in the primary; her campaign infrastructure is as well organized as Bernie’s; she’s the smartest candidate among the bunch; there’s no striking record of racist policies in her history; she can boast of a number of accomplishments in her short time as Senator; her personality is not alienating to any wing of the party; and she’s got some pragmatism to go along with her progressive policies, kind of like that neoliberal Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez.

Twitter is not real life, but if it is a glimpse of real-life a few days into the future, the rest of the country is going to circle back around to Liz again, because they should. #PresidentWarren, meanwhile, has been trending on Twitter since yesterday:

Also thanks to this very site’s other original writer for getting Liz back in the Globe yesterday:

Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.

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