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Elizabeth Warren Has Betrayed The Cause – OpEd


Sen. Elizabeth Warren just had a chance to turn the tide in this rigged Democratic primary season last Tuesday, and she ran away from it.

As most people know, the Democratic Party leadership, decades ago following the primary victory of Sen. George McGovern that gave him the party’s 1972 nomination for president despite the opposition of the whole ruling party elite, tried to make such an upstart left candidate impossible in the future by front-running primaries and caucuses in a bunch of deeply conservative Southern states. The idea was to crush any liberal candidate in those states (where no Democrat would stand a chance in the general election), so their funding would dry up and their campaigns would die early in the primary season.

This ugly strategy worked like a charm for decades and it even worked this year to the extent that the Establishment’s candidate, Hillary Clinton, was able to win big in those Southern states. But her upstart opponent Bernie Sanders to some extent blunted the effort this year by winning handily in Colorado, Oklahoma, Minnesota and in his home state of Vermont — four of the five non-Southern states also holding primaries or caucuses on Super Tuesday. Sanders really would have actually defeated the DNC’s sabotage efforts though, had he won Massachusetts, a significantly larger state in terms of delegates, instead of just managing to come within 1.5% of doing so — and without any major endorsers backing him.

Imagine if Warren, the wildly popular senior senator from Massachusetts, in the days or weeks ahead of the primary, had endorsed Sanders, who after all is attacking the same corrupt big banks that Warren built her whole political career by denouncing. There’s no way having a popular anti-bankster, feminist senator endorsing Sanders wouldn’t have won him at least another 10% of the primary vote in Massachusetts — enough to have really damaged Clinton. Instead, Clinton was allowed to eke out a narrow victory there by picking up the support of identity-voting women who didn’t bother to examine her bogus feminism.

The Sanders campaign can still push forward in future primaries, because unlike prior liberal insurgents who were relying on big donors, his campaign is funded entirely by small donors, and those doners are proving to be resilient and energized, not easily demoralized, by evidence that the game is rigged (in February, the Sanders campaign took in a record $42 million in new small donations, and continues to build its campaign war-chest despite Clinton’s wins in the South on Tuesday). But how much better it would have been had he won Massachusetts.

A Warren endorsement would have made all the difference.

Now she stands exposed as a fraud posing as a radical reformer.

No doubt Warren will end up being rewarded with some appointment in a Clinton administration should Clinton manage to steal the Democratic Party’s nomination and go on to win the election despite the reality that she is widely loathed, and despite a majority even of Democrats saying they don’t trust her. Though of course an appointment in an administration where the president is in the pocket of the big Wall Street banks would severely constrain Warren’s ability to do anything of substance in the way of weakening the power of Wall Street. She would just be window-dressing, forced to do the bidding of the president — a woman who is already wallowing in tens of millions of dollars of legal bribes (not even campaign contributions, but speaking fees, ie personal income!) from the banking industry.

Put another way, Sen. Warren, a progressive Democrats’ darling who has made it clear that she agrees with Sanders’ positions on the banks and on issues like single-payer health care and debt-free college education and other progressive stands. has done what calculating, self=aggrandizing politicians always do: look at the odds and go with a winner. That is to say, if Warren had thought Sanders had a reasonably good chance of winning the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination, she’d have surely been out there in Massachusetts and other states a week ago campaigning for and with him. Instead, because she probably believes his campaign will ultimately fall short given all the forces arrayed against him in the Democratic Party establishment and the media, she’s hedging her bets and not making any endorsement until the primaries are over.

That way, she probably figures she can negotiate a good deal for herself with Clinton in return for an endorsement should Clinton manage to gain a lock on the nomination.

That might be good politics if you’re Elizabeth Warren and you’re just thinking of what kind of power and influence you might have in the next presidential term either as the senior senator from Massachusetts, or perhaps as a cabinet officer in a Clinton administration, but it’s pathetic, smarmy, unprincipled politics in terms of trying to tackle the corrupt oligarchy that Warren knows is running the country.

Basically, for the calculating Warren it’s a no-lose situation. If Clinton wins the delegates she needs to be nominated, she’ll need Warren to endorse her to help her win over disgruntled and angry Democratic and independent progressives. If Sanders manages to beat Clinton and win the needed delegates over the next few months, he’s not going to hold her self-serving failure to endorse him earlier against her. He will want her on his side going into the general election.

A no-lose stance to be sure, but not what a real progressive would do. Battling for radical change is not for sissies or self-aggrandizing calculators. It calls for principled behavior and for demonstrating the courage of one’s convictions.

Warren has failed abysmally on both of those counts.

Had she endorsed Sanders before the Massachusetts primary, the state’s senior senator would have assured his victory over Hillary Clinton and probably helped him win big. By not endorsing him, she proved that she’s no radical progressive, but just another calculating self-interested political hack.

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Dave Lindorff

Dave Lindorff is a Philadelphia-based journalist and columnist. He is a founding member of ThisCantBeHappening!, an online newspaper collective. Lindorff is a contributor to "Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion" (AK Press) and the author the author of “The Case for Impeachment” (St. Martin’s Press). He can be reached at [email protected]

8 thoughts on “Elizabeth Warren Has Betrayed The Cause – OpEd

  • March 5, 2016 at 4:29 pm

    Re: McGovern. He went on to lose 49 of 50 states to Richard M. Nixon. I still feel the pain because, at 18, I cast my first presidential vote for him in 1972. Apropos of nothing, I’m a more sober 61-year-old these days, who doesn’t for a minute believe that Bernie Sanders should be our nominee. The idealistic teenager in me loves everything he says and promises; the inner pragmatist says go with Hillary, who could very possibly win later this year. Hopefully, Warren will snap out of her lethargy and make herself relevant this election season, whoever she decides to endorse.

    • March 6, 2016 at 1:29 am

      Im with you Mary…we were crushed because those were the years of the no backbone democrats. They sat back and didnt fight back when attacked and were too good to take big money….we were slaughtered on all fronts….and again with McGovern.Frankly im suprised Hopey Changey worked but he brought the delegat battle that hasnt been seen before. Bernie railing against the establishment when hes sat as an independent for 30-40 years and voting with the rethugs on the Brady bill 5 times and against the imigration bill co sponsored by the most liberal of senators of Mass….Ted Kenndy…really makes you wonder whos side hes on. What did he get from the rethugs if he voted against the Brady bill 5 times? He kept his seat…bought and paid for by the rethugs…..atta way to stand up to em Bernie.
      Hillary on the other hand wont run from a fight….like the rethugs know most dems will. Personally i thought obama should have learned more from people whos been there and done that as far as war with the rethugs. He could have gotten more done….he was brutalized and did little to counter the attacks which stuck to him like velcro.

    • March 6, 2016 at 6:23 am

      It is very intimidated to support Hillary just because Hillary is more entrenched in Washington’s power circles than Bernie. In reality, Bernie’s campaign issues are way more realistic than Hillary’s. Hillary will not do an iota for the middle class and most certainly not for the working class – hence her standpoint that min. wage should be $12/hr. That is short of a living wage even for one person. Until social mobility in jobs is restored, there is very little chance for people in min. wage jobs to work their way up to a better paying job. So the argument that a higher min. wage will stop people from striving is not reality true. This is purely a concession to large corporations. Any single mother who makes $12/hr will still need welfare and food stamps to survive, while for a household of 4, assuming both parents earn $12/hr is not yet at the point of making it.

      What you consider pragmatism is really only fear. Hillary will continue to spend trillions on useless wars – even worse than Obama, who destroyed 8 nations in the 7 years of his presidency to date – while inland America it will be austerity – as under Obama. Bernie made clear that he is not a fan of regime change – i.e. endless war. That will leave money free to rebuild the infrastructure, create electric train networks to take thousands of trucks off the roads and protect the air and environment while developing less expensive transport of goods and people. Again, if you don’t think this is feasible – go look at railway networks in Europe. The one in Switzerland works like clockwork, is reasonable in price and entirely electric. No pollution with either noxious chemicals or noise.

      What is “affordable college”? And affordable for whom? Bernie is clear: state college should be free and he shows how it can be paid for. University free for all who qualify by passing a matura or baccalaureate is the standard in Europe. So who says it can’t be done?

      Hillary will continue to subsidize health insurance companies with taxpayer dollars – more and more so as Obamacare is running into cost overruns for the companies and suffers from fraud – until the subsidies are more expensive than healthcare per se. Universal health care would not only lower health care costs, but also hospital costs because it saves vast amounts of bureaucracy in billing so many insurance companies and would use way fewer staff for doctors to argue with insurance companies as to what is or is not insured. Again, Bernie showed with his tax plan that yes, taxes will rise, but less than the cost of policies employees and employers pay now. That will leave extra money for both, which would benefit the economy and actually have the side effect of creating diverse jobs – that is required for social mobility. Again, Canada, UK, many other EU countries have universal health care and they spend way less on healthcare than the US does.

      Breaking up the banks is long overdue. The banks are larger now than during the bailout and engaged in way riskier speculation. It is only a matter of time before they need more bailouts. And you consider yourself a pragmatist? No, that you are not. Instead, you are afraid to want things in a real way. Have fun when Hillary feeds you with no more than more empty rhetoric -as empty as her campaign talks.

  • March 5, 2016 at 10:29 pm

    She is ‘just another politician’, no different from the rest, she talks the talk.

  • March 5, 2016 at 10:30 pm

    What a bunch of garbage!!! Elections zabeth is ” allowed” to support who she wants in the Primary– we all need to be united in the general’,, we have 2 great candidates— they are both qualified and ready to take on Trump!! This is a Democratic ParIMARY — not the general election! Some folks remember how long Bernie refused to be known as a Democrat– but we will support him like crazy should he win the nomination… Too bad we don’t have the same pledge from Bernie supporters!!

    • March 6, 2016 at 6:32 am

      Because Hillary is too dangerous to support. If you want a WW3 and endless war in the Middle East and Asia – you can certainly get that from Hillary – but you won’t get anything else from her. That is precisely why she cannot be supported. And why thousands already affirmed that they will not vote for Hillary if Bernie is prevented from winning. Seldom has a primary been so overshadowed by the MSM – and who tells the MSM what to write and who to support? The State Department! I.e. Obama’s circle. Trump is the Republican frontrunner because he gets all the publicity from the media – for free. Hillary is the frontrunner because the MSM is completely unfair to Bernie, spreads false information about debates and Bernie’s platform and bias against Bernie’s issues.

      Burt why are you all so willing to let the MSM elect the next president? Why do you have so little capacity to think on your own and make the effort to listen to debates, to stump speeches and compare the substance of the two Democratic candidates? Surely, you would see very fast that Hillary tosses out nothing but rhetoric. She won’t do any of what she says – it is in complete conflict with her corporate interests. Go look at this youtube video about Hillary not being influenced by big money!
      And then look at the youtube video of “Bernie takes on Greenspan”. It will give you a sense of who is truthful and who is not. But why would anybody want a president who lies up front?

  • March 5, 2016 at 11:38 pm

    Took the words right out of my mouth!

  • March 6, 2016 at 6:40 am

    In politics, it is “every man for himself and god against all”.

    Elisabeth Warren likely wants to run for president in the future. No, I don’t think she would want to work under Hillary. The reason she didn’t run in this round is likely that she didn’t want to take on the Clinton machine – it is very difficult to win against such entrenched wealth, Wall St. money and corporate interests. Her standpoints are essentially the same as those of Bernie and she could well have endorsed him – but that would not leave her the freedom to change her mind down the road when she does run for president, should by then the circumstances be different. And she doesn’t want to be seen later on as a “second” run of Bernie, or a copy of Bernie. So she keeps herself neutral. She didn’t endorse Clinton either. That is merely foresight from her part. Alan Grayson made his decision as to who to endorse a matter of public vote on his website and he endorses Bernie, as the vote for Bernie far outpaced Hillary. Warren could have had such an idea. But as said, she wants to keep a third standpoint for herself open to leave the future not yet decided for her.


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