Maddow to Warren: Was You Quitting ‘A Death Knell’ to a Woman Winning the WH?

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MSNBC pundit and left-wing heroine Rachel Maddow spent Thursday’s show interviewing failed 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren and, predictably, a portion centered on Maddow’s inference that her lack of support among voters was sexist and a sign that the president “can’t be any woman ever.” 

At minimum, she fretted that this was “a death knell in terms of the prospects of having a woman for president in our lifetimes,” having left women “bereft” and unable to “get off the couch.” Maddow also referred to herself as Warren’s “bullseye,” so there was that too.

 

 

Maddow pivoted to the gender discussion with her fourth question, which was more of a mini-monologue that began by asking if the Senator could talk “about the elephant in the room, which is a conversation you’ve had a number of different ways and you talked about it eloquently” and “in pretty blunt terms.”

She explained that she believes “a lot of women around the country right now feel differently about you dropping out” because, if Hillary Clinton couldn’t win the presidency and then Warren (or any of her competitors) couldn’t follow Clinton as the 2020 Democratic nominee, then women must be wondering if there ever will be a woman president.

Maddow continued to spiral (click “expand”):

MADDOW: [I]f it’s not going to be any of them, let’s get real, is it just — is it just that it can’t be any woman ever? Are we just going to run, you know, white men in their late 70s against each other, both parties, and that’s all we can agree to do? I think there’s a — there’s a feeling that your campaign ending is very specific to you and it also feels a little bit like a death knell in terms of the prospects of having a woman for president in our lifetimes.

WARREN: Oh, God, please, no. That can’t be right.

MADDOW: You know what I’m talking about. These feelings.

Warren tried to give her a pep talk, but it didn’t work. Maddow reminded everyone that she’s a 46-year-old New Englander with “an advanced degree” who not only represents Warren’s “stripe,” but “[m]y marching order is, like, is your bull’s eye.” Oof.

Maddow added that she’s heard from women personally and professionally that “are just bereft” and unable to “get off the couch” because of Warren’s departure after an “inspiring” campaign that’s left them feeling “crush[ed].” 

While this narrative was the norm across the liberal media, there were exceptions. Thankfully, MSNBC’s Steve Kornacki used the final four minutes and change of the hour formerly known as Hardball to, in an informative and sober manner, layout why Warren failed without mentioning gender.

Highlights can be found below, but Kornacki boiled it down to three factors with the first being her support among white voters wasn’t matched by minorities, the second was that she peaked in the polls too early, and the third being a failure to be clear in her Medicare for All plan (click “expand”):

So why didn't it work out for Elizabeth Warren? Well, there are all sorts of theories out there and there are some obvious explanations when you look at the numbers. One is the same basic problem that Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar both had, they were able to make noise in Iowa and in New Hampshire, but when the electorate got more diverse, their campaigns ran aground....In this day and age, the inability to build non-white support and especially support among black voters is probably too much of a hurdle for any Democratic presidential candidate to overcome and win the nomination. Warren is only the latest candidate to have this issue. But Warren's undoing may be bigger than this and I think ironically enough, it might have something to do with how successful she initially was. Think back to last fall. Warren was moving up in the polls....She actually got the lead in the Real Clear Politics poll average in early October and her numbers were looking good in Iowa and New Hampshire. At that moment, it seemed only too easy to see Warren winning early, building momentum, and then emerging as the Democratic nominee. But when you get ahead in a presidential race, you also suddenly start to get scrutiny and when Warren took that lead, Democrats suddenly had to confronting the possibility that she would actually be their nominee and ask themselves did they really want that to happen? 

Warren was running on a Medicare for All promise. In debates, she would be asked if taxes would go up to pay for it. Pointedly she refused to give a yes or no answer and eventually with the heat rising, she modulated, she adjusted her plan. The headlines called it a shift, a big shift. Now, think about this, poll after poll for a year has been telling us Democratic voters are thinking about one thing above everything else, electability....And when Warren got the lead last fall, she found herself fielding uncomfortable questions about her Medicare for All plan, like do you want to abolish private insurance? And it was in this moment that her polling stopped. She slipped back behind Biden....So the question becomes could it be the Democratic voters watched Warren in that spotlight, in that moment when it seemed like she might be on the verge of running away with it all. But they watched her as Medicare for All took over the conversation and that they decided this isn't the debate we want to be having next fall against Donald Trump. Maybe we should look for somewhere else. Maybe we should hit the brakes.

See? That wasn’t that hard.

To see the relevant MSNBC transcript from March 5, click “expand.”

MSNBC’s The Rachel Maddow Show
March 5, 2020
9:11 p.m. Eastern

RACHEL MADDOW: I would like to ask you about the elephant in the room, which is a conversation you’ve had a number of different ways and you talked about it eloquently today.

SENATOR ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA): Uh-huh.

MADDOW: I thought in pretty blunt terms today. I think that a lot of women around the country right now feel differently about you dropping out, whether or not they were supporting you, specifically, for president, you leaving the race feels different. If — if Hillary Clinton can’t win when she gets the nomination, and then you can’t get the nomination, and neither can Kamala Harris and neither can Amy Klobuchar and neither can Kirsten Gillibrand — I mean, I think part of what’s going on today is women around the country are like, okay, honestly, you know, if it’s not going to be any of them, let’s get real, is it just — is it just that it can’t be any woman ever? Are we just going to run, you know, white men in their late 70s against each other, both parties, and that’s all we can agree to do? I think there’s a — there’s a feeling that your campaign ending is very specific to you and it also feels a little bit like a death knell in terms of the prospects of having a woman for president in our lifetimes.

WARREN: Oh, God, please, no. That can’t be right.

MADDOW: You know what I’m talking about. These feelings.

WARREN: I know exactly what you’re talking about. I know exactly what you’re talking about. This cannot be the right answer and part of the way I know it is not the right answer is that I walked through my headquarters today and I saw all those strong, powerful, women. I saw all those women who said, thank you for standing up to Michael Bloomberg. I saw all those women who said, thank you for being smart and making that okay. Thank you for talking over men sometimes because I’m just damn tired of always having it go the other way. I’m so — it’s one of the hardest parts about this. All those pinky promises. All those little girls — we’re going to do this. It’s just going to be a little longer before we’re able to have a woman in the White House and — but it doesn’t mean it’s not going to happen. It doesn’t mean it’s not going to happen soon. It just — look, here’s how I see this. You get in this fight, you know when you go into it there were multiple people who just said, this will be part of the problem, but you get in the fight because you just got to keep beating at it until you finally break the thing. We’ll know that we can have a woman in the White House when we finally elect a woman to the White House.

MADDOW: Yeah.

WARREN: Right? That’s what it’s going to take.

MADDOW: I will tell — I am — I’m 46. I am professional. I’m — I live in New England. I have an advanced degree. Like, you have a lot of people of a lot of different stripes support you around the country but, like, I’m your stripe. My marching order is, like, is your bull’s eye and as such, and I recognize all the specificity of that — I don’t mean to be reductive about, but as such, I’ve been hearing all day today from people who I know in my personal life, people I know in my professional capacity, women who are just bereft.

WARREN: I know.

MADDOW: People telling me they can’t get off the couch.

WARREN: I know.

MADDOW: And these are not people working in your campaign —

WARREN: No, I know.

MADDOW: — or people particularly involved in politics, but there’s something about your fight and your qualifications and your qualifications, indeed, compared to the people who are still in that does feel — it was inspiring and now it feels crushing and I think you are embodying that, too, because it’s — I mean, I saw the emotion today in making the announcement, talking about those pinky swears. It’s just more work is the only answer, right?

WARREN: It is the only answer, and it’s — it’s that we can’t lose hope over this.

MADDOW: Yeah.

WARREN: You know, we can’t lose hope because the only way we make change is we get back up tomorrow and get back in the fight. We persist.

MADDOW: Yeah.

WARREN: That is how we make change and it feels like we’re never going to make change until we make change. We were never going to elect a Catholic until we elected a Catholic. We were never going to elect a black man until we elected a black man and we’re never going to elect a woman until we elect a woman. So we’re just going to stay in this.

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