The guys have it
Elizabeth Warren, talking with reporters Thursday about the end of her presidential campaign, was asked if gender played a role in her defeat.
"That is the trap question for every woman," Warren said. "If you say, 'Yeah, there was sexism in this race,' everyone says, 'Whiner!' And if you say, 'No, there was no sexism,' about a bazillion women think, 'What planet do you live on?’ ”
The emergence of the #MeToo movement in 2017, not long after Hillary Clinton's historic White House bid came up short, spawned predictions that 2020 would be the "Year of the Woman." Far more women than ever before stepped up to run for president. Four were U.S. senators — Warren, Amy Klobuchar, Kamala Harris and Kirsten Gillibrand. (Spiritualist Marianne Williamson also ran, and Rep. Tulsi Gabbard is still in, though hardly any voters seem to notice.)
Gillibrand never gained traction. Harris won notice early after a strong debate performance but suffered from a muddled message. Klobuchar had a shining moment with a good finish in New Hampshire but flopped elsewhere.
Warren rode high in polls last year, but several factors set her back. There was wariness that her progressive agenda was too ambitious a sale for a general election, especially after she belatedly laid out her "Medicare for All" plan. The left's loyalty largely stayed with Bernie Sanders, and Warren was late in going after a longtime ally. With a support base of affluent white liberals, she failed to make inroads with blue-collar workers and minorities.
She didn't poll as well as her rivals did against President Donald Trump. She won plaudits for her selfie lines and “I have a plan for that” catchphrase, but she struck some voters, female as well as male, as sanctimonious and condescending. Finally, there were residual post-2016 worries about a woman's electability among a segment of voters desperate to beat Trump — an issue that sparked a blowup with Sanders when she accused him of privately voicing such doubts to her.
Warren’s voice cracked Thursday when she said, "One of the hardest parts of this is all those pinkie promises" that America would get its first female president "and all those little girls who are going to have to wait four more years." As for the question of gender bias, she said: "I promise you this: I will have a lot more to say on that subject later on."
She left her mark
Warren's biggest impact on the final shape of the Democratic race came in the past month, with her debate takedown of Mike Bloomberg over sexism in his and his company's past. Bloomberg, rising in the polls until then, never recovered, and his fade helped Joe Biden swing moderate Democrats to his side.
A statement from Warren, in vivid terms, celebrated Bloomberg's defeat as a trophy achievement: “We have been willing to fight, and, when necessary, we left plenty of blood and teeth on the floor. And I can think of one billionaire who has been denied the chance to buy this election,” she said.
Warren indicated Thursday that she would take her time before deciding whether to back Biden or Sanders.
She didn’t endorse Sanders in 2016 — something that infuriated some of his supporters — and backed Clinton only after she effectively won the nomination. As for her supporters, they may not be moving en masse to Sanders even though he also is from the progressive wing.
Bernie running scared?
Sanders has canceled a trip to Mississippi to campaign in Michigan, needing to notch a win against Biden for working-class voters in the industrial Midwest. Polls indicated a close race in the state, which Sanders won against Clinton in the 2016 primaries.
In dropping Mississippi from the schedule, Sanders seemed to be ceding another Southern state to Biden, who is getting overwhelming support from largely African American Democratic electorates in the region.
While not another Super Tuesday, there's a big primary calendar on March 10. Along with Michigan and Mississippi, delegates are being chosen in Missouri, Washington state, North Dakota and Idaho.
Klobuchar is going to Michigan on Friday and Saturday to campaign for her former rival Biden.
Janison: Schu on other foot
Wait, isn't attacking judges supposed to be Trump's thing?
Observers wondered whether Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer was taking a page from his foes' playbook on Wednesday when he sounded a vague warning to two of the Supreme Court justices hearing an abortion-rights case, writes Newsday's Dan Janison.
Singling out Trump picks Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh by name, Schumer said: "You have released the whirlwind, and you will pay the price," and "You won't know what hit you if you go forward with these awful decisions."
That got Schumer a rare public rebuke from Chief Justice John Roberts, and the New York Democrat semi-apologized from the Senate floor. Trump, of course, called him out on Twitter and said Schumer "must pay a severe price for this!" But Schumer also drew a dose of national attention to his abortion-rights stance he otherwise might not have had. It won't cost him politically.
Bloomberg's new spending spree
Ex-candidate Bloomberg is moving to fulfill his pledge to put more millions of dollars behind defeating Trump. Campaign aides said the billionaire will fund an anti-Trump operation in six battleground states — Arizona, Florida, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.
The effort will be done through some type of independent expenditure committee that won’t under the law be able to coordinate with any campaign. Aides are still figuring out the legal details and what the name and budget of the organization will be, The Associated Press reported.
Bloomberg taunted Trump with a video posted on social media Thursday using spliced-together film and TV clips.
“We are not going anywhere. We will haunt your dreams. We are in your head,” it declares. “Starting today, and every day after that, every morning, every night, we will be here watching you, always watching, just making sure everyone knows what a disaster you are for America and for all of us.”
What else is happening:
- A Florida Politics poll, conducted before Bloomberg and Warren left the race, showed Biden with 61% support from the state's Democrats to 12% for Sanders, whose recent comments on Fidel Castro and Israel riled some Cuban American and Jewish voters. Bloomberg had 13.5%; Warren, 5%.
- A federal judge in Washington sharply criticized Attorney General William Barr for a “lack of candor,” questioning whether his handling last year of the Russia investigation report by special counsel Robert Mueller was skewed to favor Trump. U.S. District Court Judge Reggie Walton, overseeing a lawsuit seeking to uncover redactions in the report, ruled that he would review them himself to see if they were appropriate.
- Facebook said it would take down Trump ads that directed people to fill out an "Official 2020 Congressional District Census" and sent them to a campaign website. The social media platform said the ads violated policies against causing confusion about the real census.
- Siding with business groups over immigration hard-liners, the Trump administration said Thursday it will allow an additional 35,000 temporary foreign workers into the U.S. this year to fill seasonal jobs amid a tight labor market.
- The Washington Post reports newly obtained documents show Trump’s company charged the Secret Service $157,000 more than was previously known — billing taxpayers at room rates far higher than his company has claimed. When added to data previously found, it shows the Secret Service had paid more than $628,000 since Trump took office in 2017.
- Trump was supposed to speak Monday in Orlando, Florida, at the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society's health-technology conference that typically draws tens of thousands of attendees, but the convention has been canceled because of the COVID-19 coronavirus.