It’s only natural that as the 2020 presidential race heats up, the gloves would come off, and the hits between candidates would get harder. And it would seem that for Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, here and now is when it begins to get particularly ugly.
What it all boils down to essentially is that Bernie has been accused of calling Warren a liar on national television, something he naturally denies, which also means that Warren is calling him a liar.
It all started on Tuesday during the last Democratic primary debate. Somehow CNN got a hold of a story about Warren and Sanders having a private conversation in 2018 in which Sander stated that he didn’t think a woman could win the White House, or at least against President Trump.
It is presumed that someone on Warren’s campaign leaked this story, whether its true or not, to the media, allowing CNN debate moderator Abby Phillip to use it in Tuesday night’s debate. But what she proceeded to do with it caused quite the scene, both on and off stage.
First, she asked Senator Sanders about the conversation and why he would say that? When Sanders denied having said anything of the sort, she asked him again. And she got the same response.
Phillip then, apparently unsatisfied with the answers, took the question to Warren. She asked, “Senator Warren, what did you think when Senator Sanders told you a woman could not win the election?”
Rather than asking Warren if Sanders said this at all, she asserted that he had indeed said it and instead asked about how Warren felt about it.
Naturally, and in an all-too rehearsed fashion, Warren replied that she disagreed and then proceeded to explain that of all the candidates on the debate stage, only the women, her and Senator Amy Klobuchar, had won every election they had entered.
“Can a woman beat Donald Trump? Look at the men on this stage. Collectively, they have lost 10 elections. The only people on stage who have won every single election they’ve been in are the women. Amy and me. And the only person on this stage who has beaten an incumbent Republican anytime in the past 30 years is me.”
But that was not the end of the discussion, at least not that was aired. Though Warren seemed to get the better of Sanders on camera, when it turned off, she riled against him again, according to a New York Times report.
They wrote, “People familiar with the exchange said Ms. Warren walked over and told Mr. Sanders that she was concerned that, during the debate, he had mischaracterized a conversation they had in 2018 about whether a woman could win the presidency… Appearing frustrated, Mr. Sanders asked to discuss the matter at a different time.” Sanders walked away after pointing his finger at her and then back at himself.
The question is, who is lying?
If the conversation did happen as Warren suggests, Bernie most understandably would want to cover it up. But what if it never occurred and this is all just a ploy to hurt the self-pronounced socialist and steal some of his votes? But then why wouldn’t Warren simply make it into an even bigger deal and confront him with the cameras on, rather than waiting until later?
In either case, I don’t think the outcome is quite what Warren expected it to be. Rather than gathering voters to her side, it has only seemed to alienate them further. Instead of arousing suspicion about Bernie’s credibility, ideas on sexism, or even his values, supporters have only rallied around more, turning their hatred onto Warren and CNN.
Although, it doesn’t speak too well for Bernie either. As CNN commentator Chris Cillizza pointed out on Wednesday, “There are real consequences to all of these raw feelings. Sanders and Warren are the two most prominent liberals in the race, and for either one of them to beat former Vice President Joe Biden for the Democratic nomination this year, they will need the near-united support of the left. After Tuesday night, however, the idea of the Sanders people rallying around Warren… now seems fanciful. And vice versa for the Warren people being cool with the idea of Sanders as the liberal choice for 2020.”
To be sure, I don’t think this is what either candidate planned on their debate performances doing for their campaigns.