Tupac vs. Biggie, Avon Barksdale vs. Stringer Bell, Magneto vs. Professor X – it’s a tale as old as time; when personal ambitions are on the line, friendships rarely stand a chance. This week, it’s the progressive wing of the Democratic Party that’s been shaken to its core by an act of betrayal some of us saw coming from a mile away.
In March 2019, on a different site (and under an assumed name) I wrote:
“Of all the candidates in the Democratic primaries, she’s the only choice on which I’ve already placed a bet. Warren may seem too liberal (I meant progressive at the time, and thought liberal meant further left) in her policies to win-it-all on the surface, but I think she has shown a willingness to compromise and play the game in a way that won’t give the establishment elite too much pause.”
A willingness to compromise indeed.
Back then, I figured it just meant that she’d pivot towards the center on healthcare (which she did) and maybe the wealth tax, but would ultimately be the uniting force standing between the progressives and establishment Democrats. As it turns out, there isn’t much she’s not willing to compromise – whether it be morals, friendships, or anything else.
…is the “unity candidate,” no matter what now – not after this week of political chicanery. With Bernie’s army of supporters now in full-on “battle mode,” Warren’s days as a potential presidential candidate are all but over.
Sure, she’s won over the affluent donor class and their media puppets, but the fury she’s ignited to her left leaves her in a position similar to, if not worse-than Hillary Clinton in the generals. There’s a substantial portion of the electorate who will vote for anyone other than Elizabeth now – in some cases, even Trump.
Following Tuesday night’s debate stage performance, that featured Warren and CNN appearing to cooperate to take down her “close friend” Bernie, the Massachusetts Senator’s odds of winning the Democratic nomination have fallen to +700, equal with Michael Bloomberg.
Before I analyze the latest Democratic nomination betting odds any further, let’s try to make sense of what happened.
It Started with a Slack Comment
The first salvo launched by the Warren campaign came over the weekend, when Politico reporter Alex Thompson shared a leaked memo on Twitter, in which someone in the Bernie Sanders camp was discussing talking points for volunteers.
Pretty tame stuff, really.
Well, unless you’re Alex Thompson and Elizabeth Warren. Rather than dismiss the gentle – and accurate, by the way – criticism, Senator Warren used this opportunity to play the passive-aggressive victim role that’s become such a familiar stance for her this week.
“I was disappointed to hear that Bernie is sending his volunteers out to trash me. Bernie knows me and has known me for a long time,” she began. Warren continued, “I hope Bernie reconsiders and turns his campaign in a different direction.”
When asked about the manufactured controversy, Senator Sanders said that he hadn’t heard about the memo or approved it:
“Look, I just read about it. We have over 500 people on our campaign. People do certain things. I’m sure that in Elizabeth’s campaign, people do certain things as well. But you have heard me for months. I have never said a negative word about Elizabeth Warren, who is a friend of mine. We have differences of issues, that’s what the campaign is about, but no one is going to be attacking Elizabeth.”
As it turns out, the talking points were shared on a Slack channel by a volunteer, never approved for usage, and removed shortly after being posted.
Betrayal Round 2 – “A Woman Can’t Be President”
On Monday, the attack on the Sanders campaign entered phase two. CNN – the network that would be broadcasting the Democratic debate on the very next day, coincidentally enough – dropped a story claiming that back in 2018, during a private discussion, Bernie Sanders told Senator Warren that a woman couldn’t become President in 2020.
Bernie denied the validity of the story, arguing that it was “ludicrous to believe that at the same meeting where Elizabeth Warren told me she was going to run for president, I would tell her that a woman couldn’t win.”
Where the story came from became a bit clearer when Elizabeth issued a response of her own. “Among the topics that came up was what would happen if Democrats nominated a female candidate,” said Senator Warren. “I thought a woman could win; he disagreed.”
Doesn’t that sound like the Bernie Sanders you know? There are only about thirty videos of him supporting woman politicians and encouraging young girls to grow up and become President. I’m sure this one night, he just decided to “stick it to tha broads!”
The Seventh Democratic Debate
If it wasn’t apparent that this entire smear was orchestrated by the Warren campaign – or some organization acting on her behalf – along with CNN, Tuesday night’s Democratic primary debate removed any doubt.
I write about political betting, in much the same way people who write about sports or entertainment break down the action and share their favorite picks. I say that because it affords me the ability not to pretend like Elizabeth Warren’s campaign and CNN didn’t conspire on this nonsensical hit-piece, even though I don’t have written proof that it’s true yet.
CNN, you’ll remember, is the same channel that just settled with Nick Sandmann, the MAGA hat kid – most likely to avoid the discovery phase of that trial. I’m guessing those internal emails and discussions showed a “news” agency without many qualms about slandering a teenager if it helped drive ratings and advanced their agenda.
It’s also the same cable network that was caught coordinating with the Clinton campaign in 2016, sending them the debate questions ahead of time. So, I’m pretty confident in my assertion that Tuesday night’s attacks on Sanders were coordinated, as was the little exchange at the end of the night.
But, just in case; when I say this entire ordeal was a strategy coming from the Warren campaign or associated SuperPACs, it’s no different than saying, “The Tennessee Titans are going to run the ball down KC’s throat on Sunday,” without any hard proof from their practices this week.
Maybe all of these random leaks and Warren’s passive-aggressive reactions to them are totally organic and not manufactured at all. That’s a bet I’m willing to take as much action on as you’ve got.
Naturally, CNN was frothing at the mouth to leverage their story into debate ratings – and that they did. Though, as the broadcast went on, it became painfully apparent that Bernie vs. Warren was only their second-highest priority. More important to them was taking every cheap shot they could at Senator Sanders.
And, by the way, I’m not some bitter Bernie supporter who’s just seeing offense where there is none. His politics are probably closest to mine, but I’m well past his belief in the system – and since there’s not a Guillotine Party quite yet, I’m a man without a country/party at the moment.
Nevertheless, even platforms you’d never expect to notice or report on the glaring bias shown by CNN discussed the network’s amateurish performance. Throughout the night, they ran little comments under Bernie Sanders’s name, which undermined him in different ways.
But the crème de la crème of one-sidedness came from this exchange:
Bernie Sanders: Well, as a matter of fact, I didn’t say it, and I don’t want to waste a whole lot of time on this, because this is what Donald Trump and maybe some of the media want. Anybody that knows me knows that it’s incomprehensible that I would think that a woman could not be President of the United States. Go to YouTube today. There’s a video of me 30 years ago, talking about how a woman could become President of the United States.
In 2015, I deferred, in fact, to Senate Warren. There was a movement to draft Senator Warren to run for President, and you know what? I stayed back. Senator Warren decided not to run, and I did run afterwards.
Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by three million votes. How could anybody in a million years not believe that a woman could become President of the United States?
Let me be very clear. If any of the women on this stage or any of the men on this stage win the nomination … I hope that’s not the case. I hope it’s me. But if they do, I will do everything in my power to make sure that they are elected in order to defeat the most dangerous President in the history of our country.
Abby Phillip: So Senator Sanders, Senator Sanders, I do want to be clear here. You’re saying that you never told Senator Warren that a woman could not win the election?
Bernie Sanders: That is correct.
Abby Phillip: Senator Warren, what did you think when Senator Sanders told you a woman could not win the election?
Elizabeth Warren: I disagreed. Bernie is my friend, and I am not here to try to fight with Bernie. But look. This question about whether or not a woman can be President has been raised, and it’s time for us to attack it head-on. I think the best way to talk about who can win is by looking at people’s winning record.
In one ear and out the other.
Abby Phillips just trucked on right ahead as if she didn’t hear a word that Sanders just said! And I’m telling you, the entire broadcast took on this tone. CNN is terrified of Bernie Sanders becoming the Democratic nominee, that much is clear.
Of course, they are – they want Donald Trump to be reelected. Forget about the scowls on their collective faces when they report on the President or their attacks on his administration; at the end of the day, Trump equals ratings, and money is the only thing that matters to these ghouls.
At the end of the debate, the candidates were exchanging pleasantries on their way off the stage, when CNN cameras picked up a tense moment between Warren and Sanders. He extended his arm to attempt a handshake, but she declined while saying, “I think you just called me a liar on national TV.”
Imagine Elizabeth Warren acting incredulously about being called a “liar,” if that’s even what he had done. The woman who plagiarized a French recipe and submitted it to “Pow Wow Chow: A Collection of Recipes from Families of the Five Civilized Tribes.” That was back when she was still pretending to be Native American — a liar’s double-whammy!
There was also a short back-and-forth with both accusing the other of lying before Tom Steyer interrupted, and Bernie agreed to discuss it later. The conspiracy theorist in me believes this was planned ahead as well, but we’ll never know.
Hillary Clinton 2.0
I suppose whether or not you believe that “Elizabeth Warren is getting terrible advice,” depends on your level of cynicism as to what she is doing. If her goal is to win the election, letting a bunch of Hillary Clinton’s old staffers steer her campaign, this direction was idiotic, and it’s already cost her the nomination.
Now, if Warren’s plan was to appease party leadership by trying to divide the progressive base, which itself was already creating a schism in the DNC, she’s the MVP of the primaries. Now, I suspect no matter how far she falls in the polls and fundraising numbers; she’ll stick around till the end, just to sabotage her “dear friend” all the way to the end.
Lately, the attacks on Sanders have felt like they’ve come right out of the old-school Saul Alinsky’s “Rules for Radicals” playbook.
Next, they’ll employ tons of plants and bots – if they aren’t already – saying increasingly outlandish things, which Bernie will be asked about and held responsible for unless he denounces his own supporters. This strategy will persist throughout the rest of the primaries. It’s the old Lyndon B. Johnson, “Make the son-of-a-bitch deny it” move.
Joe Biden may have revealed the game plan on Wednesday when he announced that he’d add Senator Warren to his list of potential Vice-Presidential picks. That way, the Democrats get their establishment candidate, who won’t interfere with America’s corporatist agenda or end the non-stop wars, and have Elizabeth sharing the ticket as the “progressive,” to attract as many of Bernie’s supporters that haven’t abandoned the party as possible.
And just like Hillary Clinton, this ticket will probably lose to Donald Trump.
When Backstabbing Backfires
One day after the despicable seventh debate, it appears that Elizabeth Warren’s “Et Tu, Brute?” moment has backfired. Immediately following CNN’s coverage, #RefundWarren started trending, with numerous Twitter accounts posting their requests for refunds from ActBlue – a campaign fundraising website.
Meanwhile, Senator Sanders was raking in the money on Tuesday night. Between Tuesday and Wednesday, Bernie’s campaign raised $4 million from over 200,000 donors, 25,000 of which were giving to his effort for the first time. This suggests that waves of Warren’s progressive supporters are switching sides and voting with their wallets.
This is only round one in a long, drawn-out primary season. The better he does in the early states, the more intense the attacks will be. We know his enthusiastic online supporters will be a focal point, and that identity will eventually play a role in some way, but we don’t know if any will stick.
After everything I’ve seen this week, I’m fading Elizabeth Warren as anything more than a VP pick for someone like Joe Biden or Michael Bloomberg – her days of progressive acceptance, and thus viability as a presidential candidate — are effectively over.
However, I’m still not sure I see value in Senator Sanders as the Democratic nominee right now, especially with his odds sitting at +230. Hopefully, you took him at +450 when I told you to a couple of months ago! At this point, I just don’t have enough belief in the system or the DNC to think they’ll allow it to happen.
The machine is already gearing up to destroy Senator Sanders’s candidacy with a combination of the Trump campaign, Warren –his “closest friend” in the race, Project Veritas, and CNN (and liberal media at-large) all focusing their attacks on Bernie this week – as soon as the polling had him winning Iowa. It only gets more aggressive from here.