Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren entered the race for the Democratic presidential nomination with all the makings of a political super star: a no-nonsense progressive patriot with a plan for every problem plaguing the republic.
“Elizabeth Warren has a plan for that,” read the text on the front cover of the May edition of Time Magazine with Warren’s face glossing over the cover.
The profile chronicled Warren’s life and career, and outlined her strategy to run on a platform of complex plans to solve seemingly every issue of the day, from broad issues like health care and student debt to expanding rural internet access.
The piece was just a sample of what was to come from a media landscape made up of journalists living near people that fit the key demographics of Warren’s appeal, which are generally wealthy white liberals. Her middle-school principal-style lecturing and signature “selfie (non-selfie) line” became wildly popular among supporters with a taste for the former Harvard professor’s condescension.
There was GQ’s “Summer of Warren,” New York Magazine’s “Classroom Strategy,” countless broadcast interviews and friendly debate moderators who famously propped up Warren in a dispute with Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders when CNN’s Abby Phillip posed an unsubstantiated allegation of sexism against her progressive rival as a fact.
“Sen. Warren, what did you think when Senator Sanders told you a woman could not win the election?” Phillip asked.
Not in one debate throughout the entire race did any moderator ask Warren about her made up Native American ancestry, where Warren pretended to be a Cherokee Indian for years to gain political and professional leverage throughout her career. Even as recent as last month, the controversy is still drawing sharp criticism from members of the tribe.
Elites loved her. Hollywood loved her. The media loved her. Liberals loved her. It still wasn’t enough to propel the progressive champion to the top of the Democratic ticket, and on Super Tuesday, Warren flunked out as a top-tier candidate, placing third in her home state of Massachusetts behind Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and former Vice President Joe Biden who took first without even campaigning there.
To her credit, Warren outlasted more than 20 other candidates in the field, including Democratic power players who were once thought to go all the way such as California Sen. Kamala Harris and New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker. A candidate who consistently polled in the top five and who participated with a strong performance in every debate, Warren’s campaign at one point surged to compete with Biden for frontrunner status in October before slowly cascading to a point of no recovery.
Warren’s peak however came too early, and she was unable to maintain the level of support she had built when she was forced to admit that when it came to funding her signature proposal “Medicare for all,” she didn’t in fact, have a plan for that.
“So, it’s not that I have a plan that says we’re going to do this part and then we’re going to do this part and then we’re going to do this part,” Warren was caught saying about her proposal for socialized medicine in leaked footage to Mediaite published in mid-October.
Throughout the month, Warren’s height in the polls continued to slide and by the end of November, Sanders had reclaimed second place as the OG progressive flag-bearer to offer a left-wing alternative to the establishment “moderate” in Biden.
Once voting began, Warren’s decline as a top-tier candidate only became more apparent. In Iowa, Warren did fine, but nothing more. Just fine. She placed third and left the Hawkeye state with eight delegates. In New Hampshire however, the neighboring senator placed a distant fourth and did so poorly that she didn’t land a single delegate. In Nevada and South Carolina, Warren did no better.
Now, Warren must grapple with an embarrassing loss in her home state on Super Tuesday with the fact that she didn’t win anywhere in the 16 states and territories that voted. With former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg dropping out the contest on Wednesday, the race is quickly narrowing to a two-way match between Biden and Sanders.