July 25, 2024

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Warren’s Exit Makes the Democratic Primary a Total Sausage Fest

Elizabeth Warren, the very first Democratic candidate to jump into the race for president, is out. The New York Times reported on Thursday morning that the Massachusetts senator was suspending her campaign, effectively ending any chance of a woman nominee for 2020. She’s the latest woman to leave the race, after New York senator Kirsten Gillibrand, California senator Kamala Harris, and Minnesota senator Amy Klobuchar. (Hawaii congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard is still in the race, but her polling is consistently at or around 1 percent and she currently has a single delegate.)

Despite being an early frontrunner and several standout debate performances—particularly the times when she demolished billionaire Michael Bloomberg—Warren failed to pull together broad enough support once voting actually started. After coming in third at the Iowa caucuses, she went through the next three states without securing a single delegate. As Matthew Yglesias wrote at Vox, she had strong support among white, college-educated professionals, but she never succeeded in expanding her appeal beyond that pretty narrow base. And Michelle Cottle, citing a poll by Avalanche strategies, wrote in the New York Times: “When voters were asked whom they’d pick if the primaries were held today, Mr. Biden came out ahead. When asked whom they would make president with the wave of a magic wand, without the candidate needing to win an election, voters went with Ms. Warren. Women were more likely than men to cite gender as a concern.”

Warren also never fully managed to get out from under an early scandal in her campaign: that she wrongly claimed Native American heritage. In 1995, she was referred to as Harvard Law’s “first woman of color” on the faculty. As recently as February, more than 200 Cherokee and other Native Americans signed an open letter to Warren asking her to fully withdraw her past claims of Native heritage and acknowledge that “only tribal affiliation and kinship determine Native identity,” not DNA tests. The letter cites an investigation by the Los Angeles Times that found $800 million in government contracts meant for minorities have instead been awarded to companies of people with dubious claims of Cherokee and Creek Indian heritage. Warren did respond with a 12-page letter of her own, saying, “I was wrong to have identified as a Native American, and, without qualification or excuse, I apologize.”

A more ridiculous criticism that nonetheless also dogged her campaign was the question of her “likability,” which is a question women candidates pretty much exclusively have to deal with. But her tenacity helped her deal with similarly ridiculous, sexist questions from pundits like MSNBC’s Chris Matthews, who repeatedly demanded why Warren believed a woman who accused Bloomberg of heinous comments while she worked for his company, even though the woman’s account was corroborated by a third party.

Warren ultimately ended her campaign with a total of 65 delegates, the third most of the remaining four candidates but far from the massive hauls brought in by former vice president Joe Biden (596) and Vermont senator Bernie Sanders (531). With Warren’s exit, only three candidates remain—Biden, Sanders, and Gabbard. After Super Tuesday, the Democratic National Committee abruptly changed its debate requirements and increased the number of delegates a candidate needs to qualify for the debate stage, meaning Gabbard, who managed to secure one delegate in American Samoa, no longer qualifies. Going forward, it will only be Biden and Sanders on the debate stage.

The Summer of Warren

Julia Ioffe joins Elizabeth Warren on the campaign trail, where the surging senator has spent the season overcoming her campaign’s wobbly start and getting down to business—trouncing debate foes, climbing in the polls, and somehow making a slew of policy plans feel exciting. Suddenly, she’s winning over Democrats by making the grandest ideas sound perfectly sensible, including her biggest pitch of all: That she’s the one to beat Trump.

Originally Appeared on GQ

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