The best line I’ve seen since the story broke a couple days ago about the Elizabeth Warren/Bernie Sanders spat was this Twitter post by Sunrise Movement leader Varshini Prakash: “mom and dad are fighting and all I wanna do is go to my room and put my headphones on.”
That’s how I’ve been feeling, as someone who’s always supported Bernie but who has appreciated much of what Warren has been saying and who clearly is generally on the same page as Bernie on most major issues.
I’ve written in the past about how powerful it would be if there was either a Warren/Sanders or a Sanders/Warren ticket, if both of them end up as the top two candidates going into the Democratic Convention. The one with fewer delegates, I’ve said, should then get behind the winner and they would both then run as a team.
Differences and divisions in politics, among progressives, among people in general, are nothing new, but this sure feels bad. There ain’t nothing Joe Biden and Pete Buttigieg and mainstream-to-corporate Democrats want more than to break the connection between the two strong progressives.
I do not believe that Bernie Sanders said to Elizabeth Warren in a two-person meeting no one else was in that “a woman couldn’t win the White House.” As so many have said, this completely doesn’t compute with what Bernie Sanders has been about for almost 50 years.
For example, one story that I saw yesterday reported on how Bernie had come out in support of a woman’s right to an abortion in 1972, before Roe vs. Wade, at a time when that was not a position supported by a majority of the population.
And then there’s what Bernie himself said in his statement in response to the anonymous accusations by four people who were not in the meeting: “ludicrous,” and referencing Hillary Clinton’s popular vote defeat of Trump in 2016, which Bernie supported actively after Clinton won more delegates.
It’s impossible not to wonder if this out-of-nowhere attack on Bernie was a set-up, and if it’s connected to reports that Obama has been saying good things about Warren in certain meetings. Could this be the first salvo in an escalating series of attacks? If it is, Warren’s progressiveness is going to be severely tested. Will she allow herself and her campaign to be used for such a destructive purpose?
Hopefully, tonight’s Presidential debate will end up being much more about issue-based criticisms by Sanders and Warren of Biden and Buttigieg, and Klobuchar, rather than the certain-to-come efforts by the CNN moderators to make it a Bernie vs. Elizabeth train wreck. There is no one who will benefit more from such a result than Donald Trump.
Ted Glick has been a progressive activist, organizer and writer since the Vietnam war. Past writings and other information can be found at https://tedglick.com, and he can be followed on Twitter at https://twitter.com/jtglick.