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)
One of the more intriguing things to witness during the Democratic presidential primary race has been how Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren tapped danced around attacking each other until it went against their political interests to avoid doing it.
Who would have guessed that the pact they made in December 2018 not to attack each other on the campaign trail would play a starring role not just in the public decline of their collegial relationship but also in how the candidates and their surrogates finally threw caution to the wind and started throwing punches?
To further complicate things, in the midst of of Warren’s brutal primary day and Sanders’ failure to win states he looked like he’d win just a few days prior to Super Tuesday, Politico reported that the two camps are at war with each other, with Bernie’s side claiming Warren staying in the race helped Biden and Warren’s side slamming the Bernie campaign for what they feel are unfair attacks on her:
The deepening rift among the two progressive candidates threatens to lock the Democratic Party’s left wing out of the White House. With hours to go until roughly a third of delegates are awarded, anxiety among progressive leaders is rising, and Warren, after her weak performance in the first four voting states, is under growing pressure to drop out from some Sanders supporters but notably not the Sanders campaign itself.
But the split may be difficult to mend. Warren allies and some aides have long felt Sanders could have done more to rein in his surrogates, staffers and supporters from attacking Warren — and they were upset when grassroots Sanders backers hissed at the mention of her name and tweeted snake emojis at her.
Some Sanders aides and allies, meanwhile, feel as if Warren’s team is too sensitive to criticism from some campaign aides and is wrongly holding them responsible for tweets from people outside their operation. Others also still suspect she or people close to her planted a January CNN story about him allegedly telling her a woman couldn’t beat President Donald Trump — as a way to kneecap him. Sanders denied ever saying that.
There have also been demands from Sanders supporters for Warren to pledge her delegates to him at the convention.
The feud is not just happening behind closed doors, either. Both sides, but the Bernie Bros especially, have been blasting each other on social media, with some suggesting Warren was part of an establishment conspiracy to halt Berniementum:
If Biden wins the nomination, it will be a real lesson in how power works. Bernie was on track to win, Biden had no campaign, and they all knew it. So a few phone calls were made behind the scenes to Amy, Pete, Beto. Several million was put into a pro-Warren Super PAC. Voila!
— Nathan J Robinson (@NathanJRobinson) March 4, 2020
If Warren had dropped and endorsed Bernie when the centrists dropped and endorsed Biden, progressives would have had a fighting chance. She stayed in so she could get 3rd in her home state.
— Krystal Ball (@krystalball) March 4, 2020
A reminder that Elizabeth Warren already had an opportunity to endorse Bernie Sanders for president. In 2016. She endorsed Hillary Clinton.
— Kimberly Atkins (@KimberlyEAtkins) March 4, 2020
If you’re upset Warren isn’t dropping out in service of Bernie you need to sit down and think about why you’re reaffirming the very power structures you say you want to overthrow.
— Liz Plank (@feministabulous) March 4, 2020
It’s clear Dem. establishment fears Sanders will lose & crater the party. That’s a legitimate concern. Sanders people need to realize that if you’re trying to mount a hostile takeover of a party you’ve often attacked, there will be resistance. Meaning you need lots of votes. https://t.co/asJ8jJlkhd
— David Corn (@DavidCornDC) March 4, 2020
#RiggedPrimary and #RiggedDNC also trended on Twitter today thanks in large part to the Bernie Bros.
President Trump, of course, has been happy to stoke the flames:
So selfish for Elizabeth Warren to stay in the race. She has Zero chance of even coming close to winning, but hurts Bernie badly. So much for their wonderful liberal friendship. Will he ever speak to her again? She cost him Massachusetts (and came in third), he shouldn’t!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 4, 2020
Sanders even addressed how nasty it’s gotten between the two camps earlier today:
Bernie Sanders says he is “disgusted” by the “vitriol” against his supporters and against Elizabeth Warren online.
— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) March 4, 2020
The longer that Warren stays in it, the worse it’s going to get for her and her campaign. Which is why I’ve invested in several boxes of popcorn, because I’m looking forward sitting back and watching these two politically destroy each other and their party (during the convention) along with it.