I've largely stayed out of discussing the many candidates vying for the Democratic nomination because, frankly, most of them are so indistinguishable that it legitimately does not matter to me which one of them comes out ahead. Mayor Pete vs. Kamala Harris vs. a cup of tap water? Who cares, you'll get the same outcome from any of them. Harris's sole saving grace as a candidate is that it would be fun to watch her yell at Trump in a debate. Her presidency would make Obama look like Trotsky, though. So I can't bring myself to care.
Warren is the one candidate I've expressed support for in the past, and the rash of Thinkpieces about her more recently just haven't been interesting. Mainstream Democrat calls her the Messiah; Leftist criticizes her for not being as Left as some people once thought she might be. It's boring.
With the understand that Biden is terrible and will be an unmitigated disaster should he win the nomination, here is my take on the other two parts of the Three Leading Candidates right now.
I like Sanders' ideas, and while I don't expect him to win anything I think he is crucially important to the Party that he hates and that hates him. Do you think every candidate is talking about Medicare for All today because of, what, Hillary Clinton? Rahm Emanuel? Sanders pulls the discourse away from the center, which is important because it has been drifting toward the center for nearly 30 years. Someone needs to remind these people that the Democratic Party used to stand for some things it no longer stands for, and that it has lost voters because of that. Now they want those voters back, but they are reluctant to listen to the guy who seems to get *how* to do that.
Warren is, in my view, at the most leftward part of the mainstream Democratic Party. She's not a Socialist, she's not some bomb-throwing would-be Independent. She's a pretty liberal Democrat, given a Democratic Party that frankly isn't very liberal at all anymore. She is, again in my opinion, about as far left as any candidate can be without having no chance to win. That's less a compliment to her than an indictment of the Democratic Party.
She has some obvious flaws, namely that harebrained DNA test thing. The best way to deal with that – here is advice she absolutely will not take – is to ignore it. Say "I responded to that back in January and I do not have anything more to add to what I said." Instead she'll probably apologize and explain endlessly, which will cause the media to press her on it repeatedly because getting a response out of a candidate makes them feel powerful.
On the plus side, she seems to have broad appeal to voters who don't care much about policy (they think she's sassy, or whatever, which is great; whatever people need to get motivated to vote I guess). She also will convert more Bernard Brothers than any other candidate. For the 10,000th time, most of them came around in 2016 and (grudgingly) voted for HRC despite what people in Facebook comment sections insist. Are you going to get all of them? Of course not. But compared to, say, Biden, she has a better chance to get them to – again, maybe grudgingly – vote for her.
Grudging doesn't matter if you're a candidate. Voters being thrilled about voting for you doesn't help. Still counts as one vote.
Warren seems like the only one of these candidates smart enough to not completely, explicitly alienate the Left by replicating the 2016 strategy of screaming at disgruntled primary voters that they were obligated to vote for the Most Qualified Candidate Ever. HRC 2016 wasn't really about anything, policy-wise. The campaign was about how bad Trump is and how great HRC is. Warren seems more likely to throw some policy bone at voters she knows she needs. Like, give them one thing you can default to when making the case; "You like _____ don't you? She's gonna do it!" may not be the best argument ever posited but it beats the hell out of "You are a racist sexist Bro, you suck and you HAVE TO vote for her." Objectively it's a better argument.
Hardly a ringing "endorsement," obviously. I've simply repeatedly lowered my expectations about politics to the point at which I recognize the gap between what I like and what is likely to happen. At least a Warren presidency would result in some low-visibility bureaucratic stuff that would be positive (reviving CFPB?) if nothing else. Won't get that out of any of the others, who all seem poised to piss away four hypothetical years on playing nice with Mitch McConnell.
Remember the instrumental nature of voting that I've talked about on my podcast a lot – this isn't an act that belongs at the top of Maslow's hierarchy. This isn't your heart and soul. It's not self-actualization. It's just a process, one in which you make the best decision you can. If you want to vote for (insert candidate), vote for him or her. Whatever. At the end of the day, though, I struggle to see any of these other candidates as someone who will do anything, anything at all, beyond keeping the seat warm and wasting four years. Maybe that's enough for you, but my rapidly plummeting expectations haven't gotten that low yet.