The Left is dreaming of Elizabeth Warren.
On Sunday, David Leonhardt of The New York Times wrote a fantasy piece about how Donald Trump will lose his re-election bid in 2020. The basic premise of the piece is that Trump’s 2016 victory was a political outlier, a blip; Trump will fall back to earth. Of course, this was the same theory that failed in 2016:
In hindsight, the extraordinary nature of the circumstances that propelled Trump in 2016 have become obvious: the unpopularity of his opponent, Hillary Clinton; the help from Russia; the late involvement of James Comey, the then-F.B.I. director who now hosts an ABC talk show; and Trump’s razor-thin victories in several states. … Exit polls showed disillusionment across the swing states that Trump won four years ago and lost this year, including Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania. In a sign of the country’s changing political map, he held on to Ohio and Iowa, two relatively old and white states — but became the first Republican since 1992 to lose Georgia.
Good luck with that one. Anyone who thinks Trump is losing Georgia is simply crazy.
Leonardt speculates that women will vote against Trump, and that a joint ticket of Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and former attorney general Eric Holder will be more relatable than a Trump-Pence re-elect. Good luck with this one, too:
Warren’s liberalism, meanwhile, did make some voters anxious, exit polls showed. But most swing voters do not follow the minutiae of policy debates, and many simply decided that she understood their problems better than Trump. She and Holder consciously borrowed from the populist strategy of Obama’s 2012 campaign against Mitt Romney. Rather than emphasize Trump’s personal behavior, as the 2016 Clinton campaign did, they cast him as a greedy billionaire who corruptly used the presidency to enrich himself further.
Except that Hillary Clinton tried this in 2016, and it failed.
Here’s the real question, though: what’s the peculiar charm of Elizabeth Warren? In 2020, she’ll be 71; she’s got only slightly more charisma than Hillary Clinton had; she has a history that hasn’t been examined publicly, from her ridiculous claims of Native American ancestry to her history of flipping properties. She doesn’t radiate political warmth; she radiates radicalism. And Trump has a history of dragging candidates down from their pedestals.
Some of this seems to be a wishful belief that Warren represents a sort of merger of Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. But she doesn’t have the lovable-old-nut persona of Sanders, and she’s got most of Hillary’s downsides (sans Bill). There’s little evidence of Warren’s blue collar appeal – she’s a Harvard Law professor worth some $7.5 million.
Yet Warren has become the de facto frontrunner – a candidate running on the same coalition Hillary used, with much of the same program, just slightly more populist. Perhaps Democrats hope that Trump will defeat himself. But Warren isn’t exactly the shoe-in candidate Democrats seem to believe she is.