So grateful to have had @MauriceWFP with me at our Washington Square Park event. @WorkingFamilies has been on the front line of the fight for racial and economic justice, and I'm honored to have their support. We're going to build this grassroots movement together. pic.twitter.com/WMxCY62IZF
— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) September 20, 2019
Tip O’Neill always warned candidates not to neglect the voters who could be assumed to be on their side: People like to be asked.
Elaine Godfrey, at the Atlantic:
In 2016, Bernie Sanders described the Working Families Party (WFP), a grassroots progressive organization, as “the closest thing there is” to his “vision of democratic socialism.” The group endorsed him in his primary race against Hillary Clinton, and it’s grown more powerful in the past three years, as it has sought to build a multiracial populist movement nationwide. But this time around, with Sanders taking another shot for the White House, the group is throwing its weight behind someone else: Elizabeth Warren. The group’s surprising decision could be an early indicator of how progressives—including those who backed Sanders in the past—are planning to organize and vote next year.
“The political conditions are different” in this election, Maurice Mitchell, the national director of the WFP, told me earlier this week, after the group announced that Warren defeated Sanders in a vote of WFP members and leadership, earning 61 percent compared to Sanders’s 36 percent. Unlike in 2016, there is more than one progressive candidate in the race to choose from, Mitchell said. Warren “has a track record of finding that nexus between visionary structural change and also the tools to operationalize it.”
Mitchell’s reasoning echoed the sentiments of other progressive voters I’ve spoken with recently. They have affection for Sanders and appreciate what he’s done for the movement, as roughly one dozen voters explained to me this week. But Warren, they argued, is proffering a kinder, gentler version of progressivism—one that is rooted in her experience, simple to understand, and compelling enough to attract a broad swath of voters.
“She’s everything Bernie is—but a bit more electable,” said Joe Piluso, a 71-year-old former Sanders supporter and former social-services worker living in San Diego…
For many of the voters I spoke with for this story, their preference for Warren boils down to one core conclusion: She’s likable. I heard the same thing in July at Netroots Nation, an annual convention for progressive activists, where the cardigan-wearing former public-school teacher was the clear 2020 favorite. “I really feel like she would throw herself in front of a bus for us,” one attendee told me at the time. “There’s nobody who’s more earnest.”
Barbara Helmick, the director of programs at DC Vote, an organization advocating for Washington, D.C., statehood, told me this week that she feels a connection to Warren. “There’s a level of warmth and confidence and just such true passion that it really inspires me in a way that none of the other candidates do,” Helmick said. Sanders, by contrast, has developed a reputation as the prickly grandfather of the progressive movement, constantly finger-wagging and shouting himself hoarse. “He’s very strong and didactic and opinionated,” said Linda Day, a 78-year-old retiree from Houston. But while she supported Sanders in 2016, she now views him as a “polarizing figure.”…
For the WFP’s part, Warren’s candidacy has been a long time coming. Though the group endorsed Sanders in 2016, it only did so after an unsuccessful push to draft Warren into the race. “Warren has always been a dream candidate for progressives,” says Heather McGhee, the former president of the progressive think tank Demos. She views the WFP, with its wide-ranging network of grassroots activists, as a bellwether for the organizing base of the left. If she’s right, Sanders and his supporters could be faced with disappointing news this spring.
“I think Bernie is Moses,” said Day, the former Sanders supporter, with a chuckle. “He’s led progressives to the promised land, but I don’t see him crossing over and being president.”
Thank you to everyone who passed me a note in the selfie line in New York City—they mean the world to me. pic.twitter.com/adfH8In2lq
— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) September 19, 2019
Senator Elizabeth Warren: "Yeah, I was there [on the selfie line] four hours, but I'll tell you what: so was the last guy in line." pic.twitter.com/YCs5xYV9vO
— Maddow Blog (@MaddowBlog) September 18, 2019
This is good and interesting. Though, for Warren, the more important constituency in her rise hasn't been converting ex Sanders supporters, but old Hillary supporters who were skeptical of progressive agenda just last cycle. A much bigger pothttps://t.co/G6G73Gede5
— Steadman™ (@AsteadWesley) September 20, 2019
— Kevin Robillard (@Robillard) September 19, 2019