Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren placed third in the 2020 Democratic Party’s Presidential Primary Elections, securing only 58 of the 1,991 pledged delegates needed to secure the party’s nomination for president. She trailed fellow progressive hopeful, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, by 949 delegates.
This loss came despite her impressive performance in the Democratic Party primary debates, going to show that the televised contests fail to indicate the ultimate winners and losers of the elections. Nonetheless, her positioning throughout the primaries had a significant impact on the final results of the elections, ultimately helping Former Vice President Joe Biden to secure the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination.
On the debate stage, Warren excelled in conveying her stances on a variety of issues, laying out clear and detailed blueprints for her policies and approaches. Warren may well be seen as one of the most successful orators on the 2020 Democratic primaries. Unlike many of her competitors she more or less completely avoided embarrassing stumbles and gaffes. She was particularly adept at positioning herself in a way that prevented her from being the target of attacks while also setting herself up to strike at the most opportune moments.
Nonetheless, the looming question of progressives’ “electability” ultimately aided the victory of a more moderate candidate in the form of Biden. Even here, Sanders had better name recognition than Warren within the progressive wing of the Democratic Party. Thus, whereas Warren was forecast as the Democratic frontrunner in Fall 2019, she finished the race not only behind Biden but also behind Sanders.
While she didn’t win the nomination she did significantly impact the nomination process, both through her action and inaction.
Through her poignant offensive against former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s treatment of women and stance on income equality, Warren almost single-handedly laid waste to a campaign that was largely perceived as trying to buy the elections. Multibillionaire Bloomberg was one of the moderate candidates who had the potential to take votes from the Biden campaign. Nonetheless, his gamble to join the elections late didn’t pay off and Warren dealt his campaign a lethal blow on the debate stage.
Moreover, after dropping out of the race, Warren remained aloof, thereby helping Biden to defeat Sanders. While all moderate candidates united behind Biden before Super Tuesday, Warren failed to endorse fellow progressive Sanders. Moreover, the split of progressive votes also worked in Biden’s favor. Such is illustrated in the Massachusetts primary, where progressive votes outnumbered the moderates but were split between Warren and Sanders, thereby granting Biden the final victory. In these ways, many blame Warren for the failure of the progressive movement in the Democratic primaries.