On Politics: Warren’s Out but Not Down

On Politics: Warren’s Out but Not Down

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  • Elizabeth Warren dropped out of the presidential race on Thursday, ending a bid that had sought to unite the Democratic Party establishment with its progressive wing.

  • Those factions are now fighting directly in a two-person primary: Joe Biden, the scion of the moderate wing, versus Bernie Sanders, the democratic socialist trying to reshape the party around his progressive ideals.

  • The most immediate question was obvious: Would Warren endorse one of them, or neither? She wouldn’t answer that on Thursday, telling reporters: “I need some space around this.” And while both Biden and Sanders acknowledged having spoken to her after Super Tuesday, neither disclosed many details from those conversations.

  • Warren’s support had dwindled to below 20 percent nationwide, and she failed to place higher than third in any state contest. Still, if her voters were to break hard for either Biden or Sanders, it could propel that candidate to the nomination.

  • But that’s probably not going to happen. On first glance, Warren’s coalition might seem most logically aligned with Sanders, her ally on the party’s left wing. At many of the earliest presidential debates last year, they worked as a kind of progressive tag team. And indeed, her backers are overwhelmingly liberal.

  • But Warren’s average voter simply doesn’t look a lot like Sanders’s average voter. Hers is slightly older, a bit more educated and far more well-off than his. And after Warren gained and then lost front-runner status in the fall, it was Biden who at first seemed to pick up the slack. Some polls now show that Warren’s supporters are virtually as likely to defect to Biden as they are to go to Sanders.

  • You could think of Warren’s run as the anti-Michael Bloomberg candidacy. It’s not just that she leveled the sharpest, most devastating attacks against him during the debates last month. (She did.) It’s also that, while Bloomberg relied overwhelmingly on paid TV ads to buy name recognition and support, Warren put her faith in on-the-ground campaigning and digital-first advertising. Even in Iowa, the first state to vote, where Warren ran one of the best-coordinated ground operations, she didn’t put ads on the air until months after some of her rivals, including Sanders. Ultimately, her unerring focus on the ground operation did not yield sufficient results: She finished third in Iowa, significantly behind Sanders and Pete Buttigieg.

  • If Sanders is going to stop Biden’s momentum after a disappointing Super Tuesday, his best shot is in Michigan, which votes this coming Tuesday. In 2016, Sanders beat Hillary Clinton there in an upset, adding a shot of adrenaline and an air of legitimacy to his campaign. As the Upshot’s Nate Cohn argues in a new analysis, Sanders’s chances don’t look so good this time around.

  • Sanders’s loss to Biden in the heavily white Midwestern state of Minnesota this week does not bode well for him in Michigan. Based on his results so far, Sanders can expect to lose the black vote in Michigan by a sizable margin. If he does not outperform his Super Tuesday results among white voters, he will almost certainly lose next week’s biggest prize.

  • And Sanders will not have the benefit of another debate between now and then. He has performed well on the debate stage, while Biden’s showings there have been much less consistent. But Sanders will have to wait until March 15 to face off one-on-one with Biden.

  • In Montana, all eyes this weekend will be on Steve Bullock, who has until Monday to file paperwork to run for Senate. Bullock, the former governor who briefly mounted a run for president last year, would seek the nomination to challenge Steve Daines, the Republican incumbent. Democrats see Bullock’s entry as a potential boost to their chances of winning back the Senate, where they will need to pick up four seats (or three and the White House) to wrest control from the Republicans.

With her golden retriever, Bailey, in tow, Elizabeth Warren held a news conference on Thursday in front of her house in Cambridge, Mass., announcing her exit from the presidential race.

As Warren exited the race on Thursday, she named the elephant in the room: sexism.

“Gender in this race, you know, that is the trap question for every woman,” she told reporters. “If you say, ‘Yeah, there was sexism in this race,’ everyone says, ‘Whiner!’ And if you say, ‘No, there was no sexism,’ about a bazillion women think, ‘What planet do you live on?’ I promise you this: I will have a lot more to say on that subject later on.”

Lisa Lerer, your evening newsletter host, wrote an incisive article examining why, half a century after the women’s liberation movement, the United States still can’t manage to elect a female commander in chief. She has shared with us a few of her own candid thoughts on the matter. First, read Lisa’s note below. Then read the article in full.

Two years ago, if you’d asked me to describe the likely Democratic nominee for president, I would have said: She will be a woman.

Since Donald Trump won the White House, I’d watched women take the reins of the Democratic Party, running for office in historic numbers, volunteering for campaigns, protesting and starting new political organizations. That energy, I assumed, would flow naturally to a female candidate.

Well, we all now know the end of that story. A record-breaking six women ran for president, and in the end the last man left standing will be, most certainly, a man. At events for Democratic candidates over the past year, many women said that they were more aware than ever of sexism in their own lives and in the culture at large. As I traveled the country, I heard how sad they remained about Hillary Clinton’s loss. But, in a strange transformation, all that sorrow and anger became an obstacle to electing a female president. They knew how sexist the world was, a number of voters told me, and they couldn’t take the risk.

More potentially bad news for President Trump on the campaign trail: The Mueller report is back in the news.

A federal judge ordered William Barr, the attorney general, to privately show him parts of the report that were redacted — saying he was unconvinced that the redactions had been justified.

The judge, Reggie Walton, criticized Barr for offering a “misleading” explanation for why certain parts had been redacted. He cited “inconsistencies” between the attorney general’s statements about the report when it was secret and its actual contents, which the judge said were more damaging to Trump than Barr had suggested.

This all means that the judge could determine that some — or even all — of the redactions in the Mueller report ought to be made public, potentially leading to the revelation of damaging details about the president’s contacts with Russian officials and his efforts to cover them up.

Charlie Savage, the Washington reporter covering the issue, has this take on what occurred today.

The Justice Department is claiming that all the redactions in the public version of the report that Barr released in April 2019 need to remain censored. If Judge Walton, an appointee of former President George W. Bush, were to disagree that the Trump administration was justified in keeping some of those passages hidden, additional portions of the report could become public — potentially thrusting Mr. Mueller’s findings back into the spotlight in the midst of the 2020 campaign.

We know that some of the material under the black lines in the public version of the report pertains to Trump’s interactions with his friend Roger Stone Jr. about outreach to WikiLeaks. Its disclosure could shed light on suspicions that Trump may have lied under oath in his written answers to Mueller, when he denied knowing during the campaign of any communications between Stone and WikiLeaks, and said he had no advance knowledge about the timing of the release of stolen Democratic emails or their contents.

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