Democratic presidential candidates, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., left, and Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., right, participate in a Democratic presidential primary debate at the Gaillard Center, Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2020, in Charleston, S.C., co-hosted by CBS News and the Congressional Black Caucus Institute. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
They say the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. But what if Elizabeth Warren isn’t expecting a different result at this point?
That became fairly clear last night, as Warren once again sidestepped attacking Bernie Sanders and proclaimed herself a progressive firebrand. If you think she’s trying to win, that’s insane. But I’ve come to a different conclusion at this point. She’s not trying to win.
South Carolina’s debate was an absolute cluster, and not in a good way like last week’s debate where everyone really landed blows on each other. This was just a chaotic, nonsensical mess from start to finish. For Warren’s part, she had a chance to seize momentum (a new poll showed her second nationally) and really take Sanders down a notch.
Yet, when faced with that golden opportunity, she spent all night fluffing the communist.
Warren is just there tonight to be the anti-Bloomberg and play for a VP spot (for Bernie)
— Buck Sexton (@BuckSexton) February 26, 2020
The Democrats are on the verge of nominating a socialist, and Elizabeth Warren is making this all about Mike Bloomberg.
— Eli Lake (@EliLake) February 26, 2020
Michael Bloomberg is somewhere around third or fourth place in this race, yet Warren continually chose to attack him anytime there was an opening to go after Sanders. That mirrored an earlier media event where Warren was asked about Sanders’ viability and she immediately pivoted to Bloomberg.
When the topic of Sanders praising the Cuban Revolution and the Sandinistas came up, Warren didn’t lay a finger on him. It was the one point throughout the night where she wasn’t begging to be called on by flailing her arm in the air. At other times, Warren actually praised Sanders, saying she “agrees” with him but just has slightly more fleshed out plans. That’s a really, really awful strategy if one’s goal is to take down a frontrunner.
But that’s not her goal. She’s running to be Sanders’ VP. The refusal to attack him, the constant going after of his chief rival in Bloomberg when it makes no sense, and the fluffing of his agenda make it obvious that Warren wants to be on the ticket. She (rightly) realizes that she’s not the nominee and it’s time to start making moves.
The real question is whether Sanders is dumb enough to choose her. Warren is from a non-competitive state, a deeply polarizing figure, and she’s only a month removed from launching an orchestrated lie to try to paint him as a sexist. Would he forgive all that? I’m skeptical.
In the meantime, it is enjoyable seeing Warren grovel a bit. Her arrogance has definitely been taken down a few notches.