The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

Elizabeth Warren Is Over

Posted on | May 16, 2019 | No Comments

 

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s presidential campaign is doomed. Anyone can look at the Real Clear Politics average of national polls and see that Warren — currently in third place, with an 8.3% average — is flat-lining. Although two recent polls (Quinnipiac in April and Emerson last week) show her in double digits, the Emerson poll shows her tied for third with California Sen. Kamala Harris. It is obvious that Warren and Harris are vying for the “Not a Man 2020” vote, to use feminist Jessica Valenti’s phrase. Warren is essentially a female Bernie Sanders, combining socialist economics with an identity-politics appeal to her fellow vagina-owners, and this will predictably fail. Why? First, because nearly every second- and third-tier candidate in the Democratic primary campaign is running to the Left, trying to compete for the Bernie vote, and second, because many of those candidates are also women. When the first Democrat debates happen next month, there will likely be six women — Warren, Harris, New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar and author Marianne Williamson — among the 20 candidates on stage for the two-night debates. This will dilute the “Not a Man 2020” advantage for Warren, who benefits from having more name-recognition. My guess would be that, after the first round of debates, Warren will fade and Harris will rise, because Harris is black and is obviously better qualified than the other black candidate, New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker. Such is the logic of identity politics, in which Democrats are heavily invested.

By the way, don’t discount Williamson’s potential impact. Everybody thought I was crazy when I went down to South Carolina to cover her campaign in March — I was the only reporter covering her on that trip — but she is now making headlines regularly. As I noted last week, she’s hit the 65,000-donor threshold needed to qualify for the DNC debates. That landed Williamson an eight-minute appearance on MSNBC Sunday, and she also scored an interview with The Hill, with the headline, “Don’t tell Marianne Williamson she can’t win,” which got linked by Drudge. And, meanwhile, Elizabeth Warren is dissing Fox News:

 

This tantrum is both counter-factual and self-destructive. Warren’s screed reads like it was written by an SPLC staffer.

Your ears must be tuned to a very high dog-whistle frequency to believe Fox News is “a mix of bigotry, racism, and outright lies” and “profits from racism and hate.” If any Democrats are reading this, trust me — it’s possible to click your remote and watch an hour or two of Fox News without becoming a Nazi, just like I can watch a few hours of CNN without becoming gay. The self-destructive aspect of Warren’s anti-Fox stance is obvious to Meagan Day of the left-wing magazine Jacobin:

When Sanders participated in the network’s town hall event, I explained why that was a good idea. Fox News is the most-watched cable news network in the country, and its viewers have the lowest average income of any major news network or outlet. Sanders’s campaign is centered around demands for ambitious redistributive reforms that will directly and materially improve life for all working-class people — some of whom, unfortunately, watch Fox News and currently vote for Republicans.

Obviously, I disagree with Day about whether the “reforms” advocated by Democrats will “materially improve life” for the working class, but her point about the Fox News audience deserves consideration:

Fox’s audience has one of the lowest average incomes of any major news source. Seventy-seven percent of Fox viewers make less than $75,000 a year, compared to 62 percent for the New York Times and 57 percent for NPR. A third of Fox News viewers make less than $30,000 a year. More than half are over the age of 50 and a quarter are over 65, which means a good number are subsisting primarily on Social Security.
Since Fox is the most-watched cable news network in the country, we can surmise that millions of its viewers are facing exactly the issues addressed in Sanders’ platform — like pension cuts, medical debt, job insecurity, and unaffordable housing and eldercare.

Most Democrats don’t understand why lower-income voters — the “deplorables,” as Hillary Clinton called them — are watching Fox News. The fact is quite simple: Small-town and rural voters are the heart of the Republican grassroots, while Democrats appeal to wealthy urban elites.

You have to spend some time digging around in Census data and exit polls to understand this, and Elizabeth Warren, the former Harvard professor, is so out-of-touch she can’t fathom it. You don’t have to be rich to live a happy life in small-town America. It is only in the big metro areas, where only the wealthy can afford housing prices in good neighborhoods, that an income under $75,000 dooms you to living in squalor. Earlier this month, I visited a friend in Valdosta, Georgia, where the median household income is $31,701. If a married couple earned $75,000 between them, they’d be more than twice the median household income there — “rich” folks, by local standards. The quality-of-life advantages of small-town living are best understood by looking at real-estate prices. The median value of a single-family home in Valdosta is $116,000; by contrast, in the affluent Boston suburb of Brookline, the median home value is $829,300. Only the rich can afford to buy a house in a place like Brookline, whereas the working class have no problems finding affordable homes in Valdosta. There is more actual equality in rural South Georgia than in the posh Boston suburbs, and guess what? The population of Valdosta is 51% black, whereas the population of Brookline is only 3.3% black. Who are the real “racists,” the rural Georgians or Elizabeth Warren’s liberal voters in Brookline?

Elizabeth Warren will not win the Democratic nomination, but even if she did somehow emerge as the winner in the “clown car” primary, she would be certain to lose to Trump in November 2020. Even though Trump is a billionaire from New York, he still relates better to working-class voters than does the Harvard Law professor Warren. Right now, Joe Biden is riding atop the Democrat poll numbers and, while I don’t expect Biden to go the distance, the question is which of the other Democrats might beat him in the primaries. Bet money it won’t be Warren.

UPDATE: Although Warren is third in the national RCP poll average, she fares worse when we look at polls for the early caucus and primary states. In Iowa, she’s in fifth place, behind Biden, Sanders, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, and Harris. In New Hampshire, she’s fourth behind Biden, Sanders and Buttigieg. In Nevada, she’s fourth behind Biden, Sanders and Robert Francis “Beto” O’Rourke. In South Carolina, she’s in fourth, behind Biden, Sanders, Harris and Booker. In other words, despite having high national name recognition, Warren doesn’t appear likely to do better than fourth place in any of the early states, and therefore doesn’t appear to have a path to the nomination.

We are still nearly nine months away from the first votes (the Iowa caucus is Feb. 3), and a lot can change in that time, but does it seem likely that Warren’s candidacy will grow stronger between now and then? No. She’s doomed. She’s “pining for the fjords.”



 

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