Looking at Senator Elizabeth Warren’s Facebook page, you’d think she betrayed every one of her liberal values, since her account was overrun by hateful comments. Her crime: not endorsing Bernie Sanders. Some of his supporters seemed to blame her for his loss in the Massachusetts primary on Super Tuesday. Without discussing the merits of either Hillary or Bernie, counting on endorsements to pull a candidate across the finish line is not a wise strategy. And how much weight do endorsements carry anyway?
Those who followed the 2008 primaries and the ultra-close contest between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton may remember that then-Senator Obama had the endorsements of Governor Duval Patrick, Senator John Kerry and the “liberal lion” himself, Senator Teddy Kennedy — the three most powerful Democrats in the state. Yet Hillary took the Massachusetts primary by a clear 15 points.
I can understand why Bernie’s people were upset because, while not so for Hillary, Massachusetts is Mr. Sanders’ back yard. But if we’re looking for him to inspire a revolution, Warren’s endorsement or the lack thereof should be moot.
Until now, the far Left seemed to have a rhapsodic love affair with Warren, and worked hard to draft her into running for President in 2016, the romance owing to her bluster against Wall Street and Big Banks. Conversely, Hillary Clinton is attacked on social media for being a “Goldwater Girl” – although she followed in her father’s Republican footsteps for about two minutes when she was seventeen. The first time she could vote in an election in College, she voted Democrat and has every election since, even registering Latino voters for Presidential candidate McGovern in Texas in 1972.
Senator Warren, however, voted Republican well into her 40s, in 1996. So ideological purity tests don’t make much sense.
For the record, Clinton and Sanders voted the same way 93% of the time in the Senate. Clinton was ranked one of the most liberal Senators, more liberal than then-Senator Obama. Per OnTheIssues.org, Hillary ranks as a “hard core liberal” like Warren, though you’d never know it from attacks against her.
Yet before Super Tuesday, no one doubted Elizabeth Warren’s liberal bona fides. The sudden hostility toward her evident on social media also proves the “I’d vote for a woman just not that woman” Hillary-meme false. Senator Warren was trashed, even abandoned, as soon as she displeased those who would have put her in power. As fellow traveler Peter Daou pointed out, under the glare of the national spotlight in a presidential race, she would get similar sexist treatment to Hillary. He quotes some of the name calling she received: “arrogant, a wuss, sleazy, sellout, middle-aged, disgusting, coward.”
Has a familiar ring. But since anyone can pretend to be anyone on the internet, here’s hoping those comments came from a small percentage of the whole, and only seem louder owing to their destructive nature.
Some also seem to forget that like Sanders and Clinton, Warren is a politician. Politicians look for power and leverage so that they can move their agenda (legislation) forward.
Warren has not endorsed Clinton either, although she wrote a letter a couple of years ago urging Hillary to run and recently praised her Wall Street plan.
Warren owes no one an endorsement. But perhaps she is holding it out as a plum that will increase her leverage in the Senate down the road. Maybe she’s playing it cagey because she wishes to back the eventual winner, not wanting to alienate an incoming President. Or perhaps she’s remaining neutral as a courtesy to both candidates, who may each call to her for different reasons.
Only in hindsight can we determine either altruistic or political motives and whether or not she has overplayed her hand. Warren is a politician, as they all are, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing.