Dueling stories in Politico suggest that the gloves may come off in Tuesday’s Democratic Primary Debate. One says that Bernie Sanders’ campaign is beginning to attack Elizabeth Warren, as elitist. Another says that Warren is “disappointed” about the attack since Sanders and Warren have had an unspoken “non-aggression pact,” so far. Meanwhile, Obama’s 2012 “campaign guru” is saying Donald Trump would love to run against Bernie, hinting that Democrats should pick someone else.
To Bernie, it’s about class.
Sanders’ campaign has begun stealthily attacking Warren as a candidate of the upper crust who could not expand the Democratic base in a general election, according to talking points his campaign is using to sway voters and obtained by POLITICO. . .
“I like Elizabeth Warren. [optional]” the script begins. “In fact, she’s my second choice. But here’s my concern about her.” It then pivots to the criticisms of Warren.
But Bernie is also going against the centrists.
“Status quo candidates lose,” the script reads. “Every candidate — both Democratic and Republican — who has run as the safe bet for the past two decades has lost.” It goes on to note that Al Gore, John Kerry, Mitt Romney, and John McCain all failed to win the White House. “Every single one.”
For her part, Warren warns against infighting.
“We all saw the impact of the factionalism in 2016, and we can’t have a repeat of that,” she said, suggesting that Sanders’ campaign against Hillary Clinton hurt her in the general election. “Democrats need to unite our party.”. . .
Warren used the Sanders campaign memo to try to further her pitch as a progressive candidate who will build bridges and lead a united party into the general election — a pitch that is also meant to address voter concerns about her electability.
As it turns out, Sanders blames the memo on a “rogue” staffer.
Speaking at an event in Iowa City, Sanders distanced himself from the talking points produced by his campaign and maintained that he did not personally approve them. He seemed to attribute the script, which read “PAID FOR BY BERNIE 2020,” to a rogue employee.
“We have hundreds of employees. Elizabeth Warren has hundreds of employees. And people sometimes say things that they shouldn’t,” Sanders said, adding that Warren is “a friend of mine” and that “[n]o one is going to be attacking Elizabeth.”
Meanwhile, Former President Barack Obama has mostly stayed on the sidelines. He has warned that candidates should not promote drastic change in their campaigns, even though “Hope and Change” was his slogan. However, Obama’s 2012 campaign manager, Jim Messina, is being blunt.
“If I were a campaign manager for Donald Trump and I look at the field, I would very much want to run against Bernie Sanders,” Messina said. “I think the contrast is the best. He can say, ‘I’m a business guy, the economy’s good and this guy’s a socialist.’ I think that contrast for Trump is likely one that he’d be excited about in a way that he wouldn’t be as excited about Biden or potentially Mayor Pete or some of the more Midwestern moderate candidates.”
Sanders shot back.
“If he [Missina] spent less time in boardrooms courting CEOs, he would witness the incredible energy generated by Bernie’s campaign, which has more than 5 million individual donations — the all-time record for a presidential candidate at this point in the race,” Sanders communications director Mike Casca said in a statement to POLITICO.
Another Obama ally, Robert Reich, sees things differently, writing in the British paper, The Guardian. He says the real key is enthusiasm, and you don’t get enthusiasm by playing it safe.
These two [Warren and Sanders] have most of the grassroots energy in the 2020 campaign, most of the enthusiasm and most of the ideas critical for America’s future.
Together, they lead Joe Biden and every other so-called moderate Democrat by a wide margin in all polls.
That’s because the real political divide in America today is establishment versus anti-establishment – the comparatively few at the top who have siphoned off much of the wealth of the nation versus everyone else whose wages and prospects have gone nowhere.
Warren and Sanders know the system is rigged and that economic and political power must be reallocated from a corporate-Wall Street elite to the vast majority. . .
Presidential elections are determined by turnout. More than a third of eligible voters in America don’t vote. They go to the polls only if they’re motivated. And what motivates people most is a candidate who stands for average people and against power and privilege.
We’ve written in our pages that Sanders’ supporters largely do not overlap Warren’s even though their policies are very similar. That has led some to say that their appeal is not cumulative—greatly overwhelming Joe Biden. But a recent poll says that Sanders’ supporters could actually live with a Warren general campaign candidacy, according to Business Insider.
Roughly two-thirds of supporters of Sen. Bernie Sanders would also support Sen. Elizabeth Warren if she’s ultimately the 2020 Democratic presidential nominee, according to new Insider polling.
The poll found 67% of people who’d be satisfied with Sanders as the nominee would also be satisfied with Warren — the highest percentage of any of the other 2020 Democratic candidates. To put it another way, the Massachusetts senator is the second top choice for Sanders supporters. . .
But it also further discredits the myth of the so-called “Bernie Bro,” or the widespread perception that Sanders’ supporters are white, male, and unlikely to support women candidates.