The Jacobin line has long been to pretend that Bernie Sanders’s New Deal left-liberalism is categorically different than Elizabeth Warren’s New Deal left-liberalism. Unfortunately for the line, Bernie gave a speech explicitly defining his socialism as…New Deal left-liberalism. So the new party line has to be to write Elizabeth Warren out of the New Deal tradition with results that are just sad:
Her coalition is richer and whiter than Sanders’s — in fact, Warren’s support is whiter than any of the other front-runners in the primary. If anything, the game has, all things considered, worked out fairly well for them. They are never going to seize the shop floor. They are never going to occupy the steps of Capitol Hill for Medicare for All or a jobs guarantee or even a grand a month.
Yup, a piece co-written by Connor Kilpatrick is arguing that Democratic primary candidates should be judged by the racial diversity of their primary constituency. Leaving aside the fact that Warren’s primary constituency will be much more diverse if she is the nominee, if you took this argument seriously it would mean you should support…Joe Biden. (You should not.)
Most of the piece is spent claiming that Sanders wants the support of a labor-driven mass movement and Warren does not. Leaving aside the fundamental incoherence of the top-down bottom-up theory of social change, there’s the problem again that this is simply false. And so the inevitable claim that Warren is just a big phony:
Sure, Warren calls for a “grassroots” movement, but so did Obama. So do most presidents. In a recent profile on Warren, Walter Shapiro made a blunt appraisal of her rapt audience: “unlike a Bernie Sanders crowd, say, there was little sense that these L.L. Bean-clad revolutionaries really want to go to the barricades . . . that may well be enough.”
Sanders is different. He really and truly means it.
Well, that one quote of Halperinesque theater criticism certainly convinces me! Warren is also compared unfavorably to, er, Ronald Reagan:
With Warren, it’s the early 1990s, when technocratic reforms at the top still had a fighting chance of changing the ugly realities below. But with Sanders, it’s the raw, nothing-to-lose populism of the 1930s and ’40s, when mass strikes were a fact of American life and a still New Dealin’ Ronald Reagan recorded campaign ads that today sound more crassly Berniecrat than Bernie himself: “the profits of corporations have doubled,” said the Gipper in 1948, “while workers’ wages have increased by only one quarter!” Such talk sounded pretty fringe as recently as ten or fifteen years ago. Today, it’s pretty standard fare from the socialist running for president — the man who remains the most beloved politician in America.
Yes, Warren would never talk about corporate profits or stagnating wages like radical old Dutch! Indeed, the first politician to talk this way after Reagan was Bernie Sanders, who also invented Ted Kennedy’s health care plan.
Do be sure to click the “most beloved politician” link, which is to one (1) poll showing Sanders as having a very marginally higher net approval rating than Biden or Warren among Democratic primary voters (although also trailing Biden by 12 points, which seems to complicate the narrative.) Anyway, by this very solid methodology I can prove that Elizabeth Warren is most definitely the Most Beloved Politician in America:
Finally, Warren’s favorable rating has caught up to Biden’s and Sanders’s while her *unfavorable* rating remains considerably lower than theirs. This is just one poll so please keep that in mind (we’ll have a 2nd wave on Monday). But a pretty robustly good one for Warren so far. pic.twitter.com/IAw8wW5Nhe— Nate Silver (@NateSilver538) September 13, 2019
Things finally descend into pure gibberish:
And while the 1990s wasn’t that long ago, just ask yourself: What do the brutal realities of life on the margins today look more like to you — an episode of Friends, or a Charlie Chaplin film?
Bernie’s plan to expand Social Security is like Modern Times, and Warren’s plan to expand Social Security is like Suddenly Susan! CHECKMATE LIBS EXCEPT FOR BERNIE SANDERS THE ONLY NEW DEAL LIBERAL SINCE RONALD REAGAN SHIFTED TO THE RIGHT!
Still, this argument is too silly to persuade anybody, and I think Sunkara at least will support Warren if she’s the nominee. This is the really pernicious stuff:
It’s actually far from obvious that this would be an effective tool for Trump — the media already seems bored by it — but at any rate the right approach if you were actually worried about it rather than concern trolling would be to point out that it’s completely discredited bullshit rather than amplifying it. And removing any doubt about her bad faith, Day uncritically repeats a right-wing talking point that is completely false — Warren never “passed herself off”as the “first woman of color tenured professor at Harvard law”; she neither said that nor was she the source of the claim. But in a way it’s a good sign that they’re scared of Warren enough to get their pretexts for not supporting her in the general started in advance!