In a repeat of her refusal to endorse Bernie Sanders in 2016, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren again refused to do so before the critical Michigan primary after she pulled out. At the time, she said that she needed more time. Now, as liberal supporters have grown angrier at her failure to support Sanders (with many of the same priorities and policies), Warren is saying that she will not endorse because “Bernie needs space” to decide what to do. It now appears that Sanders is done after his losses this week. For Sanders, it is a familiar knife delivered by a familiar hand.
Many Warren staffers joined Sanders critics in objecting to the refusal to endorse Sanders and, when Warren refused to do so, they went ahead and gave their own endorsement. If the shared policies were driving Warren’s campaign, it would seem a no brainer to support him before Michigan. Yet, such an endorsement would not work to Warren’s personal advantage either as a potential running mate to (or cabinet member for) Biden. Indeed, as a future ally in the Senate, such an endorsement could have costs. There is no question that refusing to endorse Sanders was to Warren’s personal benefit but many followers felt betrayed.
Warren spent the critical time before the Michigan primary claiming that she needed more time. She said that she would not rushed.
Given the passage of time, Warren is now saying that she wants to give Sanders more time:”I think Bernie needs space to decide what he wants to do next, and he should be given the space to do that.”
On Thursday’s The View added that she has moved on to other topics: “Right now I’m focused on what we’re going to do next in this crisis around the coronavirus.” For critics, the statement is another example of Warren being focused on Warren over the movement that she sought to lead.
I admit that, even though I disagree with his policies, I have long admired Sanders’ commitment to his principles including endorsing candidates against the wishes of the establishment. That authenticity is what seems to fuel the passion and commitment of his followers, as I saw at the huge rally before the Michigan primary. At that time, there were various supporters who told me that they were enraged by Warren’s failure to endorse.
The pattern is familiar. In 2016, the expectation was that Warren would endorse Sanders who has supported her in the past. The Democratic establishment however was known to have put considerable pressure on Warren not to oppose Hillary Clinton. To endorse Sanders in 2016 was risking the ire of Clinton, who was widely viewed as the chosen candidate of the Democratic National Committee and the next president. Warren went with the best option for her. She did not endorse anyone until Sanders effectively was eliminated and then endorsed Clinton. That seems to be the same strategy in 2020, but Warren just ran a campaign insisting that she did not care about her politics over principles.