Globe to Warren: Just say no
Is would-be White House run hitting the skids?
IF ELIZABETH WARREN wants some encouragement for what has seemed a likely presidential run, she’ll have to look beyond the dominant paper in her home state.
The Boston Globe runs out an editorial pouring ice cold water on a would-be Warren campaign. It comes in the wake of former governor Deval Patrick’s announcement that he won’t enter the 2020 sweepstakes. “The other Massachusetts political figures reportedly considering presidential runs should think carefully before jumping in, too,” says the paper.
But it’s just one Massachusetts political figure that the editorial focuses on, and the message isn’t just that Warren should think carefully about a run, it’s that she should give up on the idea. “Warren missed her moment in 2016, and there’s reason to be skeptical of her prospective candidacy in 2020,” says the paper, which claims she has become a “divisive figure” at a time when the country needs a unifier.
The editorial comes a day after a tough New York Times story by Astead Herndon suggesting something close to panic has taken hold in Warren world over negative fallout from her decision to have a DNA test done that showed distant Native American ancestry. Nearly two months after releasing the results, which drew critical blowback from some Native American tribal leaders, “the lingering cloud over her likely presidential campaign has only darkened,” writes Herndon, a former Globe reporter.
But is the DNA story, which certainly didn’t go well, the potentially fatal blunder some seem to be suggesting?
Liberal columnist Paul Waldman voiced exasperation at the legs the story seems to have, and at the selective outrage and media attention it’s receiving. “Welcome to ‘But her emails!’, version 2020,” he writes in the Washington Post, likening it to the onslaught of coverage of Hillary Clinton’s email server issue.
Waldman says the DNA test is perfectly fair game to report on, but he questions the amount of attention it’s getting and how relevant it is to Warren’s qualifications and character to serve as president. He says the DNA issue is playing out “against the backdrop of the most corrupt presidency in our lifetimes.” Waldman points to the exhaustively reported New York Times story in October documenting how “the president and his family engaged in a years-long conspiracy to commit tax fraud on an absolutely epic scale, to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars.” Waldman says Trump is no longer asked about it and there “have been no follow-up investigations by other news organizations.”
The Globe editorial is more focused on the idea of Warren as a polarizing figure, and it points to the fact that Republican Charlie Baker got more votes than she did in last month’s election, a warning sign of the ceiling to her popularity “from the voters who know her best.”
Nonsense, tweets MassINC Polling Group president Steve Koczela, who finds little of the Globe argument convincing. He says home state voters often don’t want favorite sons or daughters to run for president, and adds that Warren’s 24-point margin is in step with the margins by which recent Democratic presidential nominees have carried Massachusetts. And he says pointing out that more Bay State voters favored a Patrick run than a Warren bid in a recent poll ignores the fact that Patrick had poll numbers much worse than Warren’s during much of his time in office.“None of this is to say Elizabeth Warren should run or not run. But I don’t think any of these comparisons are very good evidence of whether or not she will be successful,” Koczela says.
Whether Warren will heed the Globe editorial message or not is unclear. But she is probably ready to second Patrick’s conclusion about “the cruelty of our elections process.”