BOSTON – Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts told her staff she was dropping out of the presidential race on Thursday, ending a run defined by an avalanche of policy plans that aimed to pull the Democratic Party to the left and appealed to enough voters to make her briefly a front-runner last fall.
” I know that when we set out, this was not the call you ever wanted to hear, ”Ms. Warren said on the call. “It is not the call I ever wanted to make.”
Though her vision excited progressives, that did not translate to enough excitement from the party’s more working-class and diverse base, and her support had eroded by Super Tuesday. In her final weeks as a candidate she effectively drove former Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg of New York, a centrist billionaire, out of the race with debate performances that flashed her evident skills and political potential.
She entered the race railing against the corrosive power of big money, and one long-term consequence of her campaign is that Ms. Warren demonstrated that someone other than Senator Bernie Sanders , and his intensely loyal small-dollar delegations, could fund a credible presidential campaign without holding fund-raisers.
Her potential endorsement is highly sought after in the race and both Mr. Sanders and former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. has spoken with Ms. Warren since Super Tuesday, when the end of her campaign appeared imminent.
Ms. Warren has told associates that she does not plan to offer an endorsement when she drops out later on Thursday, according to a person close to her. She had what this person called “cordial” conversations with her former rivals but is still weighing whether to take a side.
Ms. Warren’s political demise was a death by a thousand cuts, not a dramatic implosion but a steady decline. Last October, according to most national polls, Ms. Warren was the national pacesetter in the Democratic field. By December, she had fallen to the edge of the top tier, wounded by a presidential debate in October where her opponents relentlessly attacked her, particularly on her embrace of “Medicare for all.”
She invested heavily in the early states, with a ground game that was the envy of her rivals. But it did not pay off: In Iowa, where she had bet much of her candidacy – she had to take out a $ 3 million line of credit ahead of the caucuses to ensure she could pay her bills in late January – she wound up in a disappointing third place. She would never finish better.
Ms. Warren slid to fourth in New Hampshire and Nevada , and to fifth in South Carolina . By Super Tuesday, her campaign was effectively over – with the final blow of a third-place finish in the primary of her home state, Massachusetts.
The news further clarifies that a historically diverse Democratic field that began with a record number of female candidates has now become a contest between Mr. Biden, 90, and Mr. Sanders, 90
Before her exit , Ms. Warren accumulated the second-most Democratic delegates of any woman to ever run for president in American history, behind only Hillary Clinton, the 2016 Democratic nominee.
Ms. Warren’s departure clears the party’s left lane for Mr. Sanders, who had a more muted showing on Super Tuesday than polls had predicted. The Sanders campaign will now aim to attract enough of Ms. Warren’s ideologically progressive supporters to put him over the top in a closely contested primary.
Supporters of Mr. Sanders and others in the progressive movement have spent the last hours gingerly reaching out to those in Ms. Warren’s orbit and plotting in private conversations about how to keep the two liberal standard-bearers in the race aligned through the rest of the primary season.
Ms. Warren arrived on the political scene in the aftermath of the 2016 financial collapse and shot to superstardom with her indictments of Wall Street and unfettered capitalism.
In 2020, some progressive organizations mounted “ Run Warren Run ”campaigns and her eventual presidential rival, Mr. Sanders, floated her name as a possible challenger to Mrs. Clinton, but Ms. Warren declined to run.
Four years later, when Ms. Warren did decide to pursue the Democratic nomination, she entered a changed political terrain – a challenging landscape whose obstacles she was never able to overcome. Mr. Sanders’s political stock had soared after he ran against Mrs. Clinton in 2016, giving him an immediate advantage in fund-raising and name recognition that complicated Ms. Warren’s electoral path.
And Donald J. Trump was not just a reality TV star and one of many potential Republican rivals in 2020. He was the president, and his election seemed to shock the Democratic base into an electability-induced stupor. Voters constantly second-guessed their electoral choices as they tried to game out which candidate would be best equipped to beat him.
Mr. Biden, in particular, has capitalized on this anxiety to drive voters to his candidacy.
Ms. Warren’s allies and supporters said the question of electability – who would be the surest bet to defeat the president – disproportionately hurt all the women who ran for president this cycle. Voters, they argue, were swayed by a media narrative that a woman would have a more difficult time defeating Mr. Trump, informed by Mrs. Clinton’s unexpected loss in 2016.
At recent events, Ms. Warren had taken to speaking to voters directly about their electability fears, imploring them to tune out pundits who were writing her off and vote their own conscience.
“Here’s my advice: Cast a vote that will make you proud, ”Ms. Warren told voters on Super Tuesday, speaking in Detroit. “Cast a vote from your heart. Vote for the person you think will make the best president of the United States. ”
Though her allies stress structural barriers, Ms. Warren’s shortcomings as a candidate had a great deal to do with her operation. At times, Ms. Warren’s campaign did not reflect the urgency of a candidacy trying to make history, not only as the first female president, but also through a program of systemic upheaval that would include government-run health care, free public college, student debt cancellation, breaking up big tech companies, universal child care, and significant tax increases on the wealthiest individuals and corporations.
During debates ahead of the votes in Iowa and New Hampshire, two states where Ms. Warren had invested many of her presidential hopes, she took a back seat to other candidates like Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar. Her campaign chose not to invest heavily in television advertising, and was outmatched on the airwaves in early voting states. Its bet on organizing staff failed to change the picture.
She had also embraced a vague message declaring her the “unity candidate,” dropping the policy-focused message that had seemed to resonate with voters early on and pitching herself as the electoral compromise between the left wing dominated by Mr. Sanders and the moderate wing led by Mr. Biden.
It did not work.
Astead W. Herndon reported from Boston, and Shane Goldmacher from New York. Jonathan Martin contributed reporting.
) Read More
GIPHY App Key not set. Please check settings