I’m a Bernie Sanders supporter and volunteer. In all the doors I’ve knocked on, which is quite a few, the one constant I’ve heard from Elizabeth Warren's supporters is that the Warren and Sanders agendas are virtually identical, but that she’s the stronger candidate who can “actually get it done.”
Only she’s not getting it done, and isn’t going to.
I know that Warren supporters don’t want to hear this, and in their place I wouldn’t, either. But if the supposed Sanders-Warren agenda is really what they care about, now is the time to get behind the viable candidate, and that’s not Warren. If her base truly supports Warren for her policies, as I have been assured over and over again, it’s time to show it by supporting Sanders.
If that long since broken “nonaggression pact” ever meant anything to begin with, she would drop out and endorse Sanders. It isn’t just his supporters who say there’s no path for her. It’s not sexism, either. It’s math.
It's over for Elizabeth Warren
In a reenergizing debate performance leading up to the Nevada caucuses, Warren took New York billionaire Mike Bloomberg to task for his well-documented treatment of women in the workplace. Many saw a campaign revitalized, and a second chance for the progressive who thus far had failed to place above third in a primary contest. But after a fourth place finish in Nevada, a distant fifth in South Carolina and a disappointing Super Tuesday, it’s over for Warren.
To be able to stay in the race until the convention, as she vowed to do, she had to walk back a key campaign promise, relying on super PAC money to stay afloat. She has also walked back her initial support for "Medicare for All," of course. She keeps talking about Bernie’s “30-year track record” in which he supposedly failed to get anything done, which is flatly untrue.
If we are comparing 30-year track records between the two, it’s worth noting that 25 years ago, she was a Republican and a corporate lawyer, trying to get the Supreme Court to hear a case arguing that LTV Steel should not have to pay into a health fund for retired coal miners. Bernie has baggage too, sure, but his progressive bona fides are as consistent as they come.
Up until Super Tuesday, I was still hearing calls for her as a “unity candidate.” But in what reality could someone who failed to finish above third in a single state on Super Tuesday lead the ticket? With 61 delegates to Bernie’s 501 and former Vice President Joe Biden’s 566, who exactly is she uniting?
This is no longer a race among candidates, it's a race between the left and moderate wings of the Democratic Party. The result will have long-term implications for the future of the party.
A chance to unite the left
Now, she does have the chance to unite the left. Instead of attacking those to her right, she has spent more time attacking the Sanders campaign, saying that remarks from abusive supporters suggests it may be built "on a foundation of hate.” She also said his team “trashed” her for digging in on health care details, telling CNN's Don Lemon that “they just wanted to say no, no, no, we can’t do that, didn’t like any part of it, you know this is part of the problem.”
My best guess is she’s referring here to people from the Sanders camp pointing out key differences in the two Medicare for All plans, most notably, Matt Bruenig’s criticism of a “head tax” as her primary funding mechanism. That wasn't a smear but the kind of substantive policy critique primaries are meant for.
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Their voter bases have always been different: Warren’s overwhelmingly have post-grad degrees, are white and upper middle class, whereas the Sanders coalition is younger and more diverse, both racially and economically.
Some Warren supporters who supported Hillary Clinton in 2016 are still angry at him for not exiting the race. I can’t claim to empathize, and the ill will cuts both ways.
But if the Warren campaign truly is the policy-based effort I’ve been told many times that it is, it’s time to put policy first and back the one candidate on the left who can actually win.
Connor Turque was a volunteer for Sen. Bernie Sanders' 2020 presidential campaign in Iowa and Nevada and next heads to Michigan. Follow him on Twitter: @turkowits
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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Elizabeth Warren should unite the left by endorsing Bernie Sanders