The Twitterization of Elizabeth Warren: What the F**k Happened to the Flag Bearer of Progressive Politics?
(Previously posted on Tremr.com.)
In the waning months of a momentous presidential primary season, there is plenty of political weight to be hefted around. Never mind for a minute the clusterf**k that is the Republican primary; that has earned the attention of every significant and non-significant actor on the world stage. You couldn’t throw a rock across any ocean without hitting someone — with or without clout — articulating an opinion about Donald Orange Glowy Face Trump and the dysfunctional vomitorium that is the Republican party. And of course the media showers us with its golden coverage of the man daily, whether we need it or not.
No, let’s take a close look at the supposedly (per the media and the DNC itself) functional and coherent Democratic party. Currently, Hillary Clinton holds an almost (but not entirely) insurmountable lead in pledged delegates over Bernie Sanders, despite having lost most of their contests in the last two months. She is the most likely nominee, by the numbers, assuming no seismic shift occurs among superdelegates at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia this summer.
That Warren took on this task, however, is a mystery that Scooby and Shaggy couldn’t solve with a year’s sobriety and assistance from the CIA.
As a result of this advantage, Clinton and her campaign have shifted much of their attention to addressing Orange Glowy Face’s many political flaws and personal grotesqueries. To that end, it would seem, they have enlisted a political bulldog, Elizabeth Warren, whose skill set is above reproach. That Warren took on this task, however, is a mystery that Scooby and Shaggy couldn’t solve with a year’s sobriety and assistance from the CIA.
Back on March 21st, Warren posted a lengthy attack of Trump on Facebook. It was what you would expect, and what you’ve probably read among your friends’ posts if you are the least bit progressive. It was articulate, pointed and accurate. Trump is exactly the embarrassingly insecure bully and loser that she describes.
In that same Facebook post, however, Warren said some things that betray the problem with her late-to-the-party comments.
“People talk about how ‘this is the most important election’ in our lifetime every four years, and it gets stale. But consider what hangs in the balance. Affordable college. Accountability for Wall Street. Healthcare for millions of Americans. The Supreme Court. Big corporations and billionaires paying their fair share of taxes. Expanded Social Security. Investments in infrastructure and medical research and jobs right here in America. The chance to turn our back on the ugliness of hatred, sexism, racism and xenophobia. The chance to be a better people.”
Take a moment to consider what she just said. This election is about:
1. Affordable college
2. Wall Street accountability
3. Healthcare for millions of Americans (presumably who don’t already have it)
4. Supreme Court appointments
5. Corporations and billionaires paying their fair share of taxes
6. Expanding Social Security
7. Creating jobs in America
8. Fighting racism and xenophobia
Precisely whose platform does this sound like? If you said Bernie Sanders, you were paying attention. If you said Hillary Clinton, you need to lower your Xanax prescription by half and ease off the after-work cocktails when taking medication.
Three days after this, Warren told reporters that she is “still cheering Bernie on” but did not officially endorse him. Warren has been going about doing her job as a senator every day, the stuff we pay her for. That’s great, and far more than most senators or representatives can say they do. If more of our elected officials did their jobs as diligently, we’d be in a pretty good place politically.
I’m not going to condemn Warren for not officially endorsing Sanders. Rumors have swirled that she is navigating toward a Democratically controlled Senate that she could be leader of. We’ll see how that pans out. My befuddlement is the larger arc of her social media attacks on Trump.
On May 6th, on Twitter, Warren and Trump exchanged tweets. It was what you might expect from both of them, incisive criticism from Warren and adolescent name-calling by Trump. Imagine the brightest and most passionate professor at a prestigious university debating the 11-year-old bully who gave you a wedgie in 7th grade and you have an accurate sense of it. The question isn’t what happened or how it played out. The question is why in living hell was Elizabeth Warren using her hard-earned political clout now and here?
I’m not going to condemn Warren for not officially endorsing Sanders. My befuddlement is the larger arc of her social media attacks on Trump.
For months, mind you, Hillary Clinton has been condescending to progressive voters, lying about her opponent’s record, publicly mischaracterizing his supporters as nothing but misogynistic white men, evading transparency of her obvious support for Wall Street fat cats, taking credit for a minimum wage battle that she didn’t support, and benefiting from the support of huge amounts of Super PAC money and an unscrupulous DNC. In that time, Sanders has had to fight against Clinton, her surrogates, and the mainstream corporate media almost single-handedly. He’s a fighter, of course, and he’s held his own. The amount of people attending his rallies is testament to how well he’s done, but he has had almost zero support from Democrats. Tulsi Gabbard’s very public and heartfelt endorsement was an extreme rarity; most of his endorsements have come from activist celebrities instead. Sanders could have used a little more help from the other most progressive member of the Senate, even this late in the game.
And in this situation, Warren opts to trade insults on social media with the bloated neo-fascist megalomaniac whose stunningly successful campaign has been about trading insults on social media. The very same Elizabeth Warren who only weeks before stated that the issues at stake in this election are the very same issues for which Bernie Sanders, not Hillary Clinton, is fighting.
Warren’s “Twitterstorm,” as the media dubbed it, quickly exploded across the media. “Elizabeth Warren Slams ‘Loser’ Donald Trump in Twitter Tirade,” “Donald Trump and Elizabeth Warren Spar on Twitter,” “Sen. Elizabeth Warren Goes on Anti-Trump Tweet Storm,” “Elizabeth Warren Emerges to Attack Donald Trump on Twitter,” “Elizabeth Warren Calls Donald Trump ‘a loser’ in Epic Twitter Rant,” “Donald Trump and Elizabeth Warren Wage ‘Glorious’ Twitter Battle,” “Elizabeth Warren Erupts into Twitter Feud with Donald Trump,” etc., etc. The headlines started clogging social media feeds and brain cells almost immediately afterwards. This was a story corporate media could tell, and it didn’t scuff Clinton, their anointed candidate. In fact, spun the way it was, it was the strongest message they could convey to the public that Elizabeth Warren was now fighting squarely on the side of the Democratic establishment…and Hillary Clinton.
Warren hasn’t endorsed Clinton or Sanders. Before the primaries started, she said she would “most likely” make an endorsement, but none has been forthcoming. Speculation about her support was a big question throughout those early months, but Sanders’ supporters are now resigned to her lack of involvement. That resignation, for some, is tinged with the cynical belief that somehow the DNC and Clinton’s campaign have muzzled Warren.
That the muzzle has come off in order to trade insults with Donald F**king Trump on Twitter is perhaps the most disheartening aspect of Warren’s part in the 2016 presidential election. I mean, seriously? Is Orange Glowy Face a dangerous racist, xenophobic asshole with an ego built to tamp down gargantuan insecurities? Of course, he is. Does he deserve to be ridiculed in public? Yep. Is beating him in the general election essential? Very possibly.
Beating Trump isn’t going to be about coming up with the best put-down or “dank meme.” So for Warren to tread down that well-worn, shit-bespattered path strikes me as an unnecessary redundancy…and a toothless one.
But was Warren, the well-respected and well-known progressive who has done so much to educate the public on the corruption of Wall Street and big corporations, the one who needed to perform this pedestrian political task? If so, why? Was this some stunt to unify progressives after months of cynical politics from Clinton and the DNC? I mean, telling the world and Trump himself that he is a loser, blah blah blah, was that something we needed to hear from Elizabeth Warren? The choir, I believe, has already been preached to. Clinton supporters are tentatively suspicious of Warren, or likely were until this weird outburst. Exactly what did Warren’s reductive social media “rant” accomplish? Did someone think she could help Republican voters see reason? What the literal f**k?
I’m willing to give Warren the benefit of the doubt. Perhaps she’d just had it with Trump’s bullshit. But at this point in the game, Trump’s bullshit is utterly immune to logic and shame. Like I said, virtually everywhere on Earth you can find someone with an opinion about Trump, and they have articulated it, most likely on air or in print. Beating Trump isn’t going to be about coming up with the best put-down or “dank meme.” So for Warren to tread down that well-worn, shit-bespattered path strikes me as an unnecessary redundancy…and a toothless one.
If Warren wanted to stop Trump, she had better options. Standing on the sidelines of the presidential primaries wasn’t one of them. Meeting after school with Trump in his favorite social media insult-arena wasn’t one of them either.
If Warren wanted to stop Trump, she had better options. Standing on the sidelines of the presidential primaries wasn’t one of them. Meeting after school with Trump in his favorite social media insult-arena wasn’t one of them either. The best way to stop Trump is the Brooklyn Jew still fighting nobly to remain in a nearly lost race for the Democratic presidential nomination. Poll after poll, for month after month, has pointed out that Bernie Sanders would beat Trump in the general election. This isn’t new information, nor has it wavered. The most recent polls show Sanders beating Trump by 13 points, and Clinton winning by only 5 points. If Warren was aware of this — and how could she not be — why pin your hopes of beating Trump on waiting until the last second, when things for Sanders are so dire, to chip in this useless gesture?
I won’t hazard a guess. All I can do is express disappointment on a grand scale. In our politicians. In our media. In the people who stand idly by while corporations and billionaires plunge our country further into the reeking mire of a cruel and indifferent oligarchy. And in Warren, the one-time “champion of the people,” who chose to fight the wrong bully, the wrong way, at the wrong time.