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Responses to TPM Reader MRK, Part 2


1. She has no room to grow on her left. Like it or not, Warren’s main opponent on the left has fairly unwavering support from the people who support him. They’re not getting off the Bernie bus, ever.

2. She’s made choices that make it hard to grow on the right. Warren does appeal to people who also like the more moderate candidates. She’s sharp, articulate, decisive but also shows willingness to be flexible to attain her goals. However, by jumping in on Medicare for All, she lost a large slice of the electorate by flubbing and fudging on the numbers. This was a mystifying mistake that blunted her rise. And it reminded people of that other big mistake they’d been willing to overlook (me included): the whole DNA thing. Which leads us to:

3. There are serious questions whether she has the right stuff to run against Donald Trump in this election. This general election is going to be a chair-throwing bar-fight. Running against Trump is going to be like running against a golem. The normal rules won’t apply. Warren’s self-own on the Native American heritage question was a disaster, and Trump basically goaded her into it. It could not have gone much worse for her. That’s worrisome. Given that Trump is who he is, the question is who can be effective against him. Which leads us to:

4. Running a Harvard professor, who is for Trump practically a heaven-sent template of an east-coast liberal to run against, is just not the right person at this time. (The only one more heaven-sent being a guy who says, “Sure, call me a socialist.”)

Unfortunately, I haven’t figured out who will be effective against Trump, let alone most effective against him. All the even slightly plausibly viable candidates (Klobuchar and above, for purposes of this argument) have considerable vulnerabilities that Trump can and will exploit. This is a big problem for Warren, but even if that weren’t the case, her more immediate problem is that she’s already in checkmate because of the way this primary field has developed.

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Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.