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)
Since Warren’s resounding defeat in New Hampshire, the cardinal question about her campaign has been this. What in the heck is she doing? I actually wrote on that at the time, pondering what her game plan was, because actually winning enough delegates wasn’t part of it.
Things have only gotten worse for the Massachusetts senator since then. She’s placed fourth in Nevada and fifth in South Carolina. To say her campaign has crashed and burned would be an understatement. This is a person who was the presumptive frontrunner four months ago. What exactly is the point of her campaign?
We may have an answer to that, at least in so far as how she believes she can steal the nomination from Bernie.
NEW: In memo, Elizabeth Warren campaign manager @RogerLau basically admits the Warren candidacy is now a convention effort.
“no candidate will likely have a path to the majority of delegates”
“Milwaukee is the final play.”
“ultimately prevail at the national convention” pic.twitter.com/UDscXO7VYF
— Shane Goldmacher (@ShaneGoldmacher) March 1, 2020
This borders on delusion. Warren is on her way to getting wiped out again on Super Tuesday, perhaps leaving her below the threshold for delegates in nearly every state but her own. Even in the best-case scenarios, she’s not going to arrive at the convention with enough delegates to demand others back her.
But even if this is her plan, how much of an outsized ego must one have to share this with the public? This is like an NFL team down 30 points in the 4th quarter trash-talking during the two-minute warning.
So what’s really going on? Perhaps it is that Warren knows this is over but is trying to save face. She wants a rationale to stay in through Tuesday and by saying she has a path to the nomination via a brokered convention, she can pretend that her campaign isn’t just a hopeless vanity project (which it is).
But there’s another possibility, I suppose. Warren wants to be someone’s VP. To this point, I’ve assumed it’s Bernie, yet she attacked Bernie in her speech on Saturday. That was always a weird situation, as she had lied about him earlier in the campaign in a viciously coordinated media hit. Maybe she’s been anti-Bernie this whole time? If she stays in and pulls enough support from Bernie on Super Tuesday to stop him from giving the knock-out blow, that might earn her enough goodwill to have some leverage at the convention. I’m doubtful this works out for her, though.
What I do know, is that the more it looks like everyone is out to get Bernie, the angrier his fans are going to get. And that spells very, very bad news for Democrats come the general election.