Not the first time we’ve seen the Oral Roberts approach to fundraising this campaign. But it’s bracing to see it from someone who surged high enough in October to have briefly led Joe Biden in the national polls.
She’s raised $6 million in the 10 days since Iowa, which is okay in the abstract but pales by comparison to some of her competition. It wouldn’t surprise me if the Sanders small-donor machine matched that sum in the first 24 hours after he declared victory in New Hampshire. Amy Klobuchar raised nearly half that amount in just four hours after her surprisingly strong third-place finish on Tuesday night.
Let’s say Warren’s plan works, though. What then? Watch, then read on.
Elizabeth Warren records video telling supporters “I need to level with you: Our movement needs to raise critical funds so I can remain competitive in this race through Super Tuesday.” pic.twitter.com/RdKeP2wNxU
— Steadman™ (@AsteadWesley) February 13, 2020
Her dream of overcoming Bernie to become the progressive champion in the race is over and has been for awhile. If there were only one strong moderate remaining — Biden, Buttigieg, Klobuchar, or Bloomberg — she could train her fire on them at the next debate and hope to knock them back far enough that centrist voters who are on the fence would start stampeding towards her as a supposedly more electable, somewhat less radical alternative to Sanders.
But there isn’t one strong moderate remaining. There are four semi-viable ones. How does she elbow past all of them in a week to assert herself as the only true Not Bernie candidate in the race, especially with Bloomberg keeping his powder dry until Super Tuesday? Warren’s strategy from the start was to try to be a goldilocks candidate, a compromise figure around whom lefties and centrists could coalesce. If Sanders is too socialist for the center and Biden et al. are too not-socialist for the left, well, guess what. There’s someone who checks both boxes. Sort of.
But it didn’t happen. The Bernie cultists seemed to view her as a pale imitation. And the moderates may have been scared off by her magic math in proposing how to pay for Medicare for All. She ended up finishing fifth in both Iowa and New Hampshire among moderate voters, behind even Sanders. And so, as even some of her supporters now admit, she’s done.
“She’s done,” [a high-profile] campaign surrogate told Insider in a text Tuesday night…
“She couldn’t find/doesn’t have a lane — die hard progressives went with Bernie when they saw his health scare wasn’t lasting,” the surrogate, who asked for anonymity because they weren’t authorized by the campaign to speak publicly, said in a text message. “She couldn’t be the woman/centrist candidate with Klobuchar already there.”
Yeah, if not for Klomentum — which almost certainly won’t last all the way through caucus night in Nevada — Warren could at least offer a “last woman standing” pitch to women voters next week. Not even that now.
As I said in the last post, I think her strategy at this point is just to pull the pin on a rhetorical grenade at next Wednesday’s debate and lob it at Mike Bloomberg. Bloomberg’s strategy so far has been to attack Trump relentlessly, knowing that lots of rank-and-file Democrats will find that satisfying in a visceral way. Warren’s going to use a version of the same approach on Bloomy himself, lambasting him as a plutocrat, slashing him for his record on racial issues, pummeling him with Wall Street excesses, and on and on. She’s better suited for that task than the progressive Sanders is, as Bernie isn’t personally confrontational. So if she lets it all hang out and righteously bloodies Bloomberg’s nose, maybe some Nevada lefties who aren’t married to Sanders yet will feel stirred to caucus for her and she’ll end up with a surprisingly strong finish. (Whether anything short of an outright victory will save her campaign is a separate question.) I think her attacks on Bill Barr over the past few days, up to and including proposing impeachment, are a variation of that same idea. She’s going to indulge the progressive id by battering the left’s enemies and hope that that sparks some interest. If it doesn’t, she’s done.