“You don’t bring a knife to a gun fight”. We’ve all heard that adage. If the election were held today, I’d vote for Elizabeth Warren. And yes, these two statements can stand together. If a presidential debate for the general election were held today it’s likely that Elizabeth Warren would bring a policy proposal to a brawl. Yet I’m not concerned. There is a year for her to be battle tested and ready.
The Democratic presidential primary process has often been referred to as a quadrennial exercise in fratricide. Look back at the 1980 process between Carter and Kennedy. Kennedy took a losing cause through a convention battle, damaging an already fragile Carter presidency. It’s likely that Reagan would have won anyway considering the state of the economy and the ongoing Iran hostage crisis. Ted’s tilting at windmills damaged the Carter campaign so heavily that it could never recover. More recently, the Clinton / Bernie battles were a contributing factor to her loss to Trump. As a case in point? Two years after the primary ended Bernie’s supporters were still attacking her in Facebook postings. Considering that we have several credible women as candidates, we need to expand the lexicon to include “sororicide” since they are no longer all men. Perhaps even “patricide” considering Biden’s age and the likelihood of continuing future events like the Kamala Harris ambush at the earlier debates. Regardless of the words, it’s a battle to destroy others in the larger Democratic “family”. Yet this is why I’m not worried about Warren in a debate with Trump.
A credible case can be made that, at least at the national level, politicians are egos with ideas attached. We see this every day with the current President (OK, maybe with him it’s ego sans ideas). And it’s not unusual, during a long and arduous campaign, for a losing candidate to resort to outrageous behavior. In the past, the action would be ostracized. Trump has made it the norm. With twenty-odd candidates, most with no credible chance of winning, we can guarantee that one, if not many, will resort to personal and other attacks to garner attention. The fratricide/sororicide/patricide will damage the ultimate nominee while also making her or him stronger. It will serve two purposes, first providing a tested candidate a thicker coat of armor, a stronger will to resist. And second, it will take many of the attacks that Trump may use away from him. We will ait and see while a seemingly unified field against Trump becomes fractured and turns on itself as the egos in the room can’t admit that the voting public doesn’t see most of the twenty as a good nominee.
So, do I believe that Warren is ready today? No. I’m not sure that anyone, other than maybe Biden, is. When it will matter is a year from now. Regardless of who the candidate will be, they will be ready. Their fellow candidates are here to ensure it.