What does this tell us about the race for the Democratic nomination?
If you’ve been watching the Democratic debates, and not many of you have, you’ll know that this year’s Democratic nomination process is pure political theatre, and not a great one at that.
In case you were still making up your mind as to if any of these self-identified Democrats are actually serious about any of this, the last Democratic debate should have settled it.
Watching the cringe-worthy exchange between Sen. Bernie Sanders and Sen. Elizabeth Warren it was clear something was going on, off-stage, that made the whole thing seem patently absurd.
Every moment, including the testy hot-mic exchange after the debate when Warren very visibly refused to shake hands with Sanders, seemed to be scripted by someone. But unlike the movies, where we have all agreed to suspend disbelief, exchanges between political opponents during a televised debate are actually supposed to make logical sense.
For instance, watching Elizabeth Warren and CNN collude to paint Sanders as a sexist pig made no sense whatsoever.
No reasonable Democrat really thinks Bernie Sanders rates among the misogynist rank and file. And no reasonable Democrat trusts Elizabeth Warren.
Sen. Warren, unfortunately and unlike her good friend and colleague Sen. Bernie Sanders, has something of a credibility problem.
Apologize as she might, like the celebrity parents embroiled in the scandalous legal and social consequences of being caught cheating their kids into college, Warren must still face the long-term reputation damage her past perfidy has inflicted.
Admitting regret does’t necessarily absolve Warren of claiming Native American ancestry for decades in order to advance her scholastic and career aspirations. Warren filled a place she must have known, deep down, belonged to someone else; someone who had actually faced the socioeconomic obstacles affirmative action programs are designed to help mitigate.
It was dishonest. And it’s not the only time Warren’s truthfulness has been called into question.
Sanders has many problems, and the Sanders campaign many liabilities; truthfulness isn’t one of them. Nor is the sexism of Bernie Sanders.
If anything, Sanders is a little too truthful, a bit too forthcoming about any number of politically risky positions on a variety of delicate subjects.
While his Democratic peers in the Senate tend to obfuscate their positions- or at least Democrats did until these past few years, because Trump- Sanders has been the bearer of many unpleasant truths; most recently the fact that Medicare for All will require a tax increase on the middle and working classes.
Voters can handle the truth. If Sanders can successfully make the case that the tax increases would be less than what the average American family is currently paying, out of pocket, yearly for healthcare, voters would respond positively.
If Sanders can’t make that case, he should perhaps consider changing his own position on Medicare for All.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren, also a strong proponent of Medicare for All, tends to waffle and squirm when asked direct questions about the costs of her programs their requisite tax increases.
No one, however, was or is fooled by this- as Warren should have known when her poll numbers took a sharp nosedive after multiple interviews where she ham-handedly dodged this important question.
Warren isn’t making it appear as if her plan won’t raise taxes and Sanders’ will; everyone knows it’s the same plan. Warren’s waffling just makes it look like one of them is willing to tell the truth about it and one of them isn’t.
It isn’t too hard to see why Sen. Elizabeth Warren went for the throat in this latest debate. Her poll numbers are slipping, her fundraising is lagging, and questions about her electability have continually dogged her in this race.
But calling Bernie a sexist just to make a good segue into the case for her own electability seems blatantly manipulative, not to mention basically dishonest.
CNN mediators, had they not been coordinating with Warren on the “Bernie is a sexist angle”- having just broke this “story” earlier in the week- should have asked Warren just one hard-hitting question:
“Do you, Elizabeth Warren, believe your long-time friend Bernie Sanders is a sexist?”
She might have been forced, if only out of sheer chagrin, to give a truthful answer. It’s too bad, really. Because Elizabeth Warren answering a question like that would have been an excellent campaign ad for Bernie Sanders.
As it is, he has had to do with touting his life-long record of championing civil rights causes, including that of women. In a new series of commercials, women give testimonials as to Sanders’ commitment to equality and work for women’s rights.
That Sanders is running this ad shows that the air hasn’t quite gone out of this conflict yet. Warren will perhaps apologize to Sanders, once she notices that this latest nasty little gambit has not benefitted her campaign in the slightest. Because she only did this to benefit her campaign.
Why else would Elizabeth Warren have chosen this moment to reveal Bernie’s terrible, sexist secret?
To protect the women of the world from Bernie Sanders?
Warren owes Sanders an apology. And she should do so publicly, even if neither of them win the nomination.
(contributing writer, Brooke Bell)