On the trail: Warren bows out; holds off on endorsing

  • Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., with her husband Bruce Mann’s hand on her shoulder, speaks to the media outside her home Thursday in Cambridge, Mass., after she dropped out of the Democratic presidential race. AP

  • Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., with her husband Bruce Mann, acknowledge supporters outside her home, Thursday, March 5, 2020, in Cambridge, Mass., as she arrives to speak to the media after she dropped out of the Democratic presidential race. (AP Photo/Steven Senne) Steven Senne

  • Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., speaks outside her home, Thursday, March 5, 2020, in Cambridge, Mass., after she dropped out of the Democratic presidential race. (AP Photo/Steven Senne) Steven Senne

For the Monitor
Published: 3/5/2020 6:48:50 PM
Modified: 3/5/2020 6:48:39 PM

After 14 months with many highs and lows, Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s presidential campaign has come to a close.

Standing outside her home in Cambridge, the populist senator who unveiled one progressive policy proposal after another formally announced on Thursday that she was dropping out of the race for the Democratic nomination.

“I will not be running for president in 2020. But I guarantee I will stay in the fight for the hard-working folks across the country who’ve got the short end of the stick, over and over,” the senator told a throng of reporters, media, and supporters who packed the street and sidewalks outside her house.

Warren, once a co-front-runner along with former Vice President Joe Biden in the late summer and early autumn, had seen her fortunes slip in October and November amid attacks from her rivals and more scrutiny about her plans to implement and pay for a government-run Medicare for all health care system. Her hopes of winning the nomination plummeted after lackluster finishes last month in New Hampshire’s primary, the Nevada caucuses, and last weekend’s South Carolina primary.

The final straw was her poor performances on Super Tuesday – when 14 states from coast to coast held primaries. Her dilemma was best illustrated by a third-place finish on her home turf of Massachusetts, behind Biden and fellow progressive champion Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont.

“You know, I was told at the beginning of this whole undertaking that there are two lanes. A progressive lane that Bernie Sanders is the incumbent for and a moderate lane that Joe Biden is the incumbent for and there’s no room for anyone else in this. I thought that wasn’t right, but evidently, I was wrong,” Warren said.

No endorsement for now

Both Biden and Sanders – the last two major candidates in the Democratic nomination race – are hungry for an endorsement from Warren.

But the senator’s apparently in no rush to back anyone.

Asked if she’ll be endorsing one of her former rivals, Warren answered, “not today I need some space around this and want to take a little time to think a little more.”

Warren said she would tell supporters of her campaign who didn’t know whom to back now to “take a deep breath and spend a little time on that,” and that they “don’t have to decide this minute.”

Sanders, speaking to reporters soon after Warren’s announcement, said he’d “love to have her endorsement” but added “today what I am doing is reaching out to the millions of strong supporters she had and to tell them that you know while Senator Warren and I had nuances of differences, we did, that there was no question that her agenda – what she fought for in the campaign – was far closer to what I am fighting for than what Joe Biden believes in and we would welcome those supporters.”

Warren vows to speak out on sexism in 2020 race

Warren promised that she’ll have “a lot more to say” about the role gender’s played in the race for the White House.

Warren was the last major female candidate in the battle for the Democratic presidential nomination. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii remains in the race, but has no practical chance of winning the nomination.

Warren said the issue of gender discrimination in the race is a “trap question.”

“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.’ I promise you this, I’ll have a lot more to say on that subject.”

Warren also lamented that a field that was once the most diverse in presidential campaign history is now down to essentially two older white men – Biden and Sanders.

“One of the hardest parts of this is ... all those little girls who going to have to wait four more years” for a female in the White House, the senator said as she choked up.

Sanders denied during a January presidential nomination debate in Iowa that he told Warren during a private meeting between the two senators in December of 2018 before they both launched their White House campaigns that a woman could not win the 2020 presidential election.

Warren responded during the debate by touting female electability, saying “look at the men on this stage. Collectively, they have lost 10 elections.”

Then – pointing to Democratic presidential rival Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, Warren said “the only people on this stage who have won every single election that they have been in are the women – Amy and me.”

Klobuchar suspended her presidential campaign on Monday and endorsed Biden.

Sanders – at his news conference – was asked about Warren’s comments and how he thought sexism impacted the 2020 race.

“I think it is no great secret ... I think there is widespread sexism,” he said. “Women are caught in a difficult position in many ways. Sometimes if they’re too forceful, they’re attacked. If they’re not forceful enough, they are attacked. If they smile in a certain way they’re attacked. If they don’t smile. You know, so I think it is – sexism is a prevalent problem that we have in this country.”

Spotlight on Michigan

Five days before Michigan holds a crucial primary in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination, Biden landed the backing of the state’s governor.

Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced on Thursday that she is endorsing the former vice president, saying in a statement that “working families in Michigan need a president who will show up and fight for them, and Joe Biden has proven time and again that he has our backs.”

Michigan has the most delegates up for grabs and is the most important of the six states holding primaries Tuesday, March 10.

Sanders – who’s making his second straight presidential run – defeated eventual nominee Hillary Clinton in the 2016 Democratic primary in the state, thanks to a last-minute upset win. That foreshadowed Clinton’s narrow loss to Donald Trump in the November 2016 general election in Michigan. Trump’s victory with working-class white voters in the state, as well as narrow wins in two other crucial Rust Belt states – Pennsylvania and Wisconsin – propelled him into the White House.

The latest poll in the state – Detroit News/WDIV-TV survey conducted before Biden’s big night on Super Tuesday when he swept 10 of the 14 primaries – indicated the former vice president is topping Sanders by 6 percentage points.

With so much riding on the line in Michigan, Sanders on Thursday canceled a campaign stop scheduled for Friday in Mississippi – another March 10th state – and instead said he would travel to Michigan.

“We are bringing more staff into Mississippi,” he told reporters.

But he emphasized that “Michigan is where we’ll spend a bit of our time.”

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