FILE – In this May 18, 2019, file photo, Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., speaks at a house party campaign stop in Rochester, N.H. Rising disagreement among congressional Democrats over whether to pursue impeachment of President Donald Trump has had little effect on the party’s presidential candidates, who mostly are avoiding calls to start such an inquiry. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty, File)
To be sure, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) dealt some serious blows to former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg in last night’s Democratic presidential debate. In fact, her attacks were so effective that politicos have been wondering if he still has a shot at the nomination.
CNN’s Van Jones told colleagues that “Bloomberg went in as the Titanic — billion-dollar-machine Titanic. Titanic, meet iceberg Elizabeth Warren.”
In what was one of Warren’s most memorable soundbites, she said, “I’d like to talk about who we’re running against: a billionaire who calls women ‘fat broads’ and ‘horse-faced lesbians.’ And no, I’m not talking about Donald Trump. I’m talking about Mayor Bloomberg.”
Journalist Judd Legum tweeted: “Warren’s dismantling of Bloomberg over his treatment of women was one of the most precise and devastating political attacks I have witnessed in twenty years of following this stuff.”
Time of death: 9:45p. pic.twitter.com/ybN6MuZpQd
— Chris Geidner (@chrisgeidner) February 20, 2020
So, will Warren’s well-delivered swings against Bloomberg give her flagging campaign a much needed boost?
She will be disappointed to hear that The National Review’s Andy McCarthy and Fox News’ Brit Hume say ‘probably not.’
McCarthy tweeted on Thursday that “I get that comparisons to GOP 2016 can be overdone. But when Christie demolished Rubio, it didn’t make voters like Christie any better. It shredded much of credible opposition to Trump juggernaut. Doubt Warren will get much bounce out of clobbering Bloomberg. Bernie’s night.”
Shortly afterward, Hume, responding to McCarthy’s comment wrote: “It’s possible to damage another candidate with attacks, but it’s not easy to look good doing it. Often the beneficiary ends up not being the attacker. I think Andy’s doubts are well-founded.”
It’s possible to damage another candidate with attacks, but it’s not easy to look good doing it. Often the beneficiary ends up not being the attacker. I think Andy’s doubts are well-founded. https://t.co/pfE5PNhiKj
— Brit Hume (@brithume) February 20, 2020
Some of you may recall the exchange (in the clip below) between GOP presidential candidates Gov. Chris Christie (NJ) and Sen. Marco Rubio (FL). Christie absolutely humiliated Rubio during a February 2015 debate after a week in which Rubio had climbed in the polls by about eight points. Christie attacked him over his “memorized 30-second speech where you talk about how great America is…doesn’t solve anything.”
Unbelievably, when it was Rubio’s turn to speak, he launched into another memorized 30-second speech, and Christie interjected, “See, see, he’s doing it again.” The crowd began to boo Rubio.
This incident broke Rubio’s momentum and shortly after Super Tuesday, about a month after the exchange had taken place, Rubio withdrew from the race.
Christie, whose support had never gone higher than 5%, ended his candidacy one week after the attack. His support had fallen to 3%.
Then candidate Donald Trump was the beneficiary.
In the case of Elizabeth Warren’s attacks on Bloomberg, there may actually be multiple beneficiaries. I hesitate to call any of the candidates in the current Democratic field moderates, so I’ll call them “candidates who are less progressive than Bernie Sanders.” Supporters who had previously favored Bloomberg will likely support a candidate from this group rather than Sanders.
If Sanders were to win the Democratic nomination, Warren’s efforts would ultimately help Trump.
Unfortunately for Warren, she will probably not benefit.