Via the Free Beacon, he’s quick to add “I understand that” to soften the blow of his insinuation. But the fact remains that if Joe Biden had lost ground to Warren in the polls and then claimed that it was because she’s a woman, he’d be shredded by the progressive commentariat. “Why didn’t Biden attribute her growing popularity to her policy ideas? He went out of his way to demean her by implying that her gender is the prime reason people support her.”
Surely that’d be worth a pissy AOC tweet or two.
But because Bernie is the Great Socialist Hope, whose every last rhetorical fart smells like roses and lavender, the left will lay off him and so will Warren. She’s hoping to win over the fanatics in his base, after all, starting by landing his endorsement if he flames out in the early states and she performs well. She’ll simply have to endure these early jabs in silence as Sanders tries to cope with flop sweat.
For now, the Democratic civil war will be largely one-sided.
Sanders-Warren, though, has the potential to get bitter. If Biden pulls two or three more of these verbal gaffes, Democratic insiders are going to start worrying that he just can’t go the distance, and they’ll probably settle on Warren, at least as things stand now, because she has earned it (though it’s way too early to count out Kamala Harris and two or maybe three others).
And if it really is the case that the party starts to close ranks around Warren, how will Sanders and his devoted base react? The bottom line here is the same thing it was in 2016. Sanders is not a Democrat. He hates Trump as much as the rest of them and wants to see Trump lose; no doubt of that. But he has no loyalty to the Democratic Party in the way all the rest of them do. If he loses, he will not act in as predictable a fashion.
Yeah, there’s another response Bernie might have given when asked why Warren’s gaining on him in Democratic polls. “Well, unlike me, she’s a Democrat.”
The punchline here, as you know if you read last night’s post, is that Warren’s gender is likely more of a liability to her than an asset. Maybe that wouldn’t have been true in 2016, but in 2019 there’s data to suggest that she’s regarded as less electable because she’s a woman. That could be a “Trump thing,” with Dems who were spooked by Hillary’s surprise defeat now convinced that only an alpha male will appeal sufficiently to Rust Belt voters to wrest back those states from Trump. Or it could be a more straightforward matter in which some Dems hold the sexist belief that a woman as commander-in-chief would lack the requisite “toughness” for the job. Either way, it makes Bernie’s claim much more dubious. Contra his belief that it’s helping her, her gender may be the one thing that’s keeping her from passing him in most polls right now.
Exit question: Why didn’t Cuomo ask him, “If this is all about gender, why aren’t the other women candidates gaining too?”