Tuesday, December 10, 2019


When her fellow Democrat John Kerry, who once held the same Senate seat she does, made his pick for the 2020 Democratic primary, he chose Joe Biden. Not Bay State colleague Elizabeth Warren.

When Massachusetts Democrat Deval Patrick and (now former POTUS candidate) Seth Moulton were considering entering the presidential primary, Liz Warren was already campaigning. They jumped in, anyway.

According to analysis by FiveThirtyEight that factors in their state’s built-in partisan advantage, the single most underperforming incumbent U.S. senator in the 2018 midterms was … Elizabeth Warren.

And in three of the last four polls of Massachusetts Democratic primary voters, guess who is losing to Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders or both? You got it.

Sensing a pattern?

The lesson of her nearly eight years in politics is this: The more you know about Liz Warren, the less you like her.

Or at the least, it’s awfully easy to find someone you like more.

Sen. Warren always bristles when she hears the “L” word. (No, not that L word. That one that upsets Hillary Clinton. Just ask Howard Stern.)

Merely mention the notion of likeability, and she starts bristling away about sexism and gender bias and how she was forced to give up a teaching job in New Jersey when the school board noticed she was “visibly pregnant.”

That story’s completely untrue, of course — the board offered the baby-bumped Ms. Warren a contract that she declined. Ms. Warren bristles when asked about that, too. Oh, and her son attending expensive private academies — don’t ask about that either. Ms. Waren was caught lying about it to a school-choice activist in Georgia and she’s been bristling ever since.

Bring up the questionable economics of her $52 trillion Medicare For All scheme? Bristle. Questions about her plunging polls? Double bristle.

And even the most casual reference to her career as an “American Indian” turns her into a political porcupine. It’s bristles all the way down.

Which probably explains Ms. Warren’s struggle to get the people who know her to rally around her campaign. More than a year ago, New York magazine ran a cover featuring a trotting Liz Warren and the headline “Frontrunner?” And why not? The first attempt by progressive activists to push Ms. Warren into a POTUS race was in 2014 and raised more than $1 million.

Eighteen months ago, a Warren victory in New Hampshire was the conventional wisdom — and why not? As a Massachusetts senator, (as opposed to Vermont’s Mr. Sanders) her hometown media market — Boston — is also New Hampshire’s. She’s been on Granite Staters’ TVs every night for nearly eight years.

During the 2018 midterms, she loaned staffers to the NH Democratic Party. She formally launched her candidacy in Lawrence, Massachusetts, just minutes from the New Hampshire border and she’s made more than 50 visits to the Granite State since. Liz Warren is literally New Hampshire’s “girl next door,” and how’s it working out?

She’s losing to Pete Buttigieg.

And Bernie Sanders. And she’s basically tied with Joe Biden. In mid-October, Ms. Warren’s RealClearPolitics average in New Hampshire was 28 percent. Today, it’s down to 14 percent — a 50-percent plunge.

No wonder she’s bristling.

Ms. Warren has plenty of money, a fawning media and a Democratic primary electorate pumped up about nominating a woman to take on President Trump. And yet she’s quickly fading into a 2020 afterthought. Why?

We live in a moment when authenticity is prized more than perhaps any time in modern political memory. And if the Society of Inauthentic Politics held a meeting today, Liz Warren would be declared their president for life.

The old adage among political consultants is “It’s all about authenticity — once you can fake that, you’ve got it made.”

Alas, the only thing Liz Warren can fake is, well, you know …

• Michael Graham is politics editor of New Hampshire Journal.

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