It was only a matter of time before the favorites Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders would break their truce. A memo has surfaced a few weeks before the already critical Iowa caucus that officially starts the 2020 presidential nominee contest. In it, the Sanders’ volunteers were asked to criticize Warren during their door to door duties in the neighborhood. Meanwhile, Warren countered and has officially opened the fight for the hard left.
It is an inevitable development, despite the close “friendship” the two presented to the public during the 2019 trail. After all, both Warren and Sanders are targeting the same group of voters. How deep this friendship goes will be seen for the first time tonight during the Democratic debate. Up to this point, both had focused their attacks on Pete Buttigieg and co-favorite Joe Biden by forming a united front. Mutual attacks? Nonexistent.
The reason for the internal struggle? A script has surfaced in which Sanders’ team lists its volunteer workers’ arguments to utilize against Sanders’ opponent. In addition to Warren, the script also lists arguments against other democratic candidates, such as the aforementioned Biden or Buttigieg. It could all be summed up as political campaigning if only there had not been the previous non-aggression pact by Warren and Sanders, which now appears to be officially broken.
“I like Elizabeth Warren,” the script states. “In fact, she is my second choice. But here is my concern about her: people who support her are highly-educated, more affluent people who are going to show up and vote Democratic no matter what”. Warren was thus “not bringing new bases into the Democratic Party,” the script continues.
Warren‘s response did not take long. She was “disappointed to hear that Bernie is sending his volunteers out to trash me,” Warren told reporters in Iowa. “Bernie knows me and has known me for a long time. He knows who I am, where I come from, what I have worked on and fought for, and the coalition and grassroots movement we are trying to build.”
It is uncertain whether the order to “trash” Warren actually came from Sanders himself and was not based on one of his campaign worker’s ideas. However, to make sure, Sanders stressed on Sunday that he had never expressed a negative opinion about his inner-party rival. Instead, he attempted to shift the blame onto the campaign team.
However, Warren went one step further and promptly accused Sanders of something he supposedly said in 2018, namely that a woman could not beat Donald Trump. The latter was, of course, contested by Sanders and dismissed as absolutely preposterous.
Nonetheless, Warren’s campaign manager Roger Lau uttered his displeasure and warned that the Democrats should not repeat the mistake of fighting amongst each other as in 2016 when it cost the party the presidency.
These development display that the Democrats face an intriguing conflict, in which the gloves are about to come off. After all, Warren has accused Sanders of something that could undoubtedly be interpreted as demeaning towards women in the current climate and thus detrimental regarding women voters. However, Warren has little choice. In a recent poll for Iowa, Warren is at 15% not only three points behind Sanders, but nine points behind Biden, who leads the entire field.
Warren, as well as Sanders, are cognizant that one of them has to win and beat Biden in Iowa, as a Biden win here, will make it already hard for the rest of the field to catch him, according to forecasts.
How much despair and pressure Warren and Sanders are willing to apply to counteract this, will be seen on stage this evening – though one should not expect any low blows.
Nonetheless, Biden will enjoy the socialist bidding war that is about to transpire between the two, as it will likely deter the last remaining moderates willing to vote for either Sanders or Warren. The first shot was taken by Warren earlier today when she pledged to wipe out federal student debt loans – if necessary, without Congress. One can thus expect Sanders to up the ante reasonably soon.