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After all, Warren has been trying to get out of the Senate for the past two years: the presidential campaign, her audition for vice president, and then the urge to become Biden’s Treasury Secretary.
The failure of these recent efforts seems to weigh heavily on Warren today, who addresses some of her disappointments in her new book, Persist.
The book is Warren’s attempt to grapple with a difficult few years while defending some of the positions she took during her presidential campaign. The book has a denominational tone, and it comes at a time when many people in the Democratic Party – including some Warren supporters – believe it is at a political crossroads.
“In 2012 I was new to politics. In 2020 I was new to losing, ”she writes in the book. She mentions her defeat in several places in the book self-deprecatingly: “Of course I did not win the presidency”; “Damn it, I would lost”; “And no, I didn’t win”; “I didn’t win my fight”; “I had set out my plans and fought as hard as I could. And I lost. “
The confirmations are not immune either. “Campaigns are hard – losing campaigns is even harder,” she writes Many thanks to various friends and helpers.
But when asked if she would do anything differently, Warren says “not really”.
Does that mean she believes there was never a way to win? “Look, we know the result, but I didn’t make it. I know that, ”she said in an interview about Zoom and wore a light brown hooded sweater with a zipper.
In the book she admits she made some strategic mistakes. “I was wrong about taking the test,” she writes of the DNA test she took to clear up questions about her previous claims about Native American ancestry.
And she mentions other factors that hurt her but don’t improve a single thing. She notes that she has never recovered from the Medicare for All debate and the headwinds of being the first woman president (“As far as I know, no one ever asked the men in the 2020 race if they felt they treated them differently to become because they were men ”).
She says both Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden had loyal supporters who made it difficult for any other candidate to break through in the race. Warren also writes: “There is always another possibility, a much more painful one: At that moment … maybe I was just not good enough.”
Warren’s defeat was followed by other changes that prompted her to find a way forward. Many of her long-time employees have moved on, some have joined the Biden administration, and there are many new faces in her office. Because of his second place in the presidential primary and his place on the budget committee Sanders has emerged as the leading progressive in the Senate. If Biden runs for re-election, as he expected, the window for another run at the White House wouldn’t open until 2028, when she turns 79.
Warren’s book is the latest evidence that despite Democrats’ control over the White House and Congress, there are still divisions arising from the 2020 primary, especially among progressives. The strong candidacies of Warren and Sanders raised hopes for progressives that one of them would lead the party, but the two candidates were at odds. And many former employees of both campaigns continue to blame the other, at least in part, for their loss. The current state of Sanders and Warren’s relationship seems more cordial than warm.
“Bernie and I are friends and we’re doing great,” Warren said in her POLITICO interview, while refusing to elaborate.
Tension between the two increased in Iowa just weeks before last year’s gatherings when Warren confronted Sanders after a debate over his rejection of her claim that he had told her he didn’t believe a woman could defeat Donald Trump.
“I think you called me a liar on national television,” she said.
“You called me a liar,” he replied.
Behind the scenes, however, the feud had escalated for months and the bitterness was only partially revealed. In September 2019, when Warren was peaking in the polls, she called Sanders personally and told him that she felt that his people, including the staff, were becoming increasingly toxic and would attack them. Sanders denied this and replied that her people were following him too, someone familiar with the argument.
“I’m not going there, I just don’t look back,” Warren said in her POLITICO interview when asked about the call. However, the recognition of her book contains a subtle hint of her frustration with Sanders’ staff. She writes of her former campaign team: “They have shown that it is possible … to be respectful and kind to those who work for rival campaigns.”
Warren doesn’t mention the fallout with Sanders much in her book, but the division between them remains clear. Warren writes in a passive voice, “It leaked that Bernie told me that a woman can’t win.”
Sanders denied this at the time. “It’s ridiculous to think that at the same meeting where Elizabeth Warren told me she was running for president, I would tell her that a woman can’t win,” he said. “What I said that night was that Donald Trump is a sexist, a racist and a liar who will arm whatever he can.”
His office did not immediately respond to a comment.
Soon after the debate, Liberal MP Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) Announced that she would support Sanders with Warren. Jayapal later told others that she felt Warren had questioned her feminism when she called the Massachusetts Senator to explain her decision, according to one person Jayapal told at the time. Jayapal’s office declined to comment.
Warren addresses other campaign controversies in the book. Commenting on creating the $ 14 million Super PAC that kept her afloat after Sanders surpassed her in early competitions, Warren writes, “An amazingly generous woman put $ 14 million into a Super PAC.” After a campaign against the influence of the rich and powerful in politics, Warren justified the existence of the Super-PAC on the fact that other candidates also had outside help or were self-financing.
Former Sanders officials remain angry that Warren did not support Sanders after leaving because of their shared progressive values. When asked in the interview why she initially decided not to support a candidate after her retirement, Warren sighed and gave an unusually slow, hesitant answer. “There were a few more states to choose from,” she said. “I knew I wanted to wait until there was only one person left and get 100 percent behind that person.”
It’s ironic that that person was Biden. Warren’s political career began in part because Biden supported a bankruptcy law reform that she long fought against. “Joe Biden was on the side of the credit card companies,” she said in 2019. In some ways, her career was defined as a non-Biden Democrat.
But Biden’s presidency came as a pleasant surprise to progressives like Warren. In the interview, Warren explains Biden’s development by “hitting the moment”.
“Twenty years ago we hadn’t had a pandemic. Twenty years ago we didn’t have Donald Trump, ”she said, referring to her dispute over the bankruptcy code.
While Warren has been encouraged by Biden’s presidency so far, it seems like the way he won seems to be keep frustrating her. Biden’s emphasis on personal characteristics and experiences contrasted with her focus on detailed plans and policy proposals. “This is really about character and values as opposed to issues and ideology,” Biden’s chief strategist Mike Donilon told the New York Times in July 2019.
Warren’s “plans” -based approach wowed many college graduates, but failed to appeal to much of the democratic grassroots. She still thinks it was right to publicize the 81 plans, but she wrestles with why voters didn’t reward her.
“I have often asked myself why other candidates did not have detailed plans for the future,” she writes in her book. “Perhaps the more puzzling question is why people who run for office so rarely advertise plans – and why that is apparently okay for millions of voters.”
It’s a frustration that keeps popping up. “If you had decided to run for president and you wanted to get a lot of things done, wouldn’t you need a lot of plans?” She writes. “To me, that means being a serious presidential candidate – you show your plans,” she continues.
She admits that politics can be difficult. “Plans force us to make decisions, but also to create goals – which we then have to defend,” she writes. When asked if she thinks detailed plans are bad politics, she said in an interview: “I don’t think so.”
When asked about Donilon’s theory that voters prefer values to ideology, she pushed back. “I don’t think there is any tension between solid, detailed plans and values,” she said. “The plans are the physical manifestation of these values.”
She warns in the book that if we don’t have good plans, the consequences will be catastrophic: “I write with the absolute certainty that we will plunge our nation and planet into an abyss that we cannot escape if we do make no significant changes. ”