Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), once a frontrunner for the 2020 Democrat nomination, ended her campaign for the presidency Thursday after failing to win a single Super Tuesday state.
“I will not be running for president in 2020 but I guarantee I will stay in the fight for the hardworking people across this country who’ve gotten the short end of the stick,” Warren told reporters outside her Cambridge, Massachusetts, home.
“One of the hardest parts of this is all those pinky promises and all those little girls who are going to have to wait 4 more years. That’s going to be hard,” she added.
Asked if she would make an endorsement, Warren said she has no immediate plans to do so.
“Let’s take a deep breath and spend a little time on that,” she said. “We don’t have to decide that this minute.”
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) confirmed that he had spoken to Warren on Wednesday and the two shared a “very cordial discussion,” but would not elaborate further. “It was a private conversation, But I think Senator Warren has worked really hard over the last year,” he told MSNBC host Rachel Maddow, adding: “I have a lot of respect for Senator Warren and would love to sit down and talk to her about what kind of role she can play in our administration.”
Akin to former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Warren’s departure follows a dismal performance on Super Tuesday. Warren lost every one of the 14 state primaries, even placing third in her home state of Massachusetts, while Bloomberg only won the territory of American Samoa. She collected just 65 delegates. Tuesday’s contests have sparked a comeback of sorts for former Vice President Joe Biden, who won Texas, Maine, North Carolina, Massachusetts, Alabama, Arkansas, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Virginia. Sanders took California, Colorado, Utah and his home state of Vermont.
President Trump reacted to Warren’s departure by accusing her of damaging Sanders’ prospects of winning the Democrat nomination, stating she should have dropped out prior to Super Tuesday, which would have freed up her supporters to vote for the Vermont senator instead. “Elizabeth “Pocahontas” Warren, who was going nowhere except into Mini Mike’s head, just dropped out of the Democrat Primary…THREE DAYS TOO LATE. She cost Crazy Bernie, at least, Massachusetts, Minnesota and Texas. Probably cost him the nomination! Came in third in Mass,” the president tweeted.
Elizabeth “Pocahontas” Warren, who was going nowhere except into Mini Mike’s head, just dropped out of the Democrat Primary…THREE DAYS TOO LATE. She cost Crazy Bernie, at least, Massachusetts, Minnesota and Texas. Probably cost him the nomination! Came in third in Mass.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 5, 2020
Warren’s decision came as her campaign faced mounting calls to get out of the race and support Sanders.
“Staying in is looking like a horrible, horrible idea for Elizabeth Warren. To place THIRD in her own state. This is one of the worst miscalculations I’ve seen in my life,” tweeted The Young Turks host John Iadarola.
Independent journalist Walker Bragman said: “Bernie Sanders was the only progressive with a path heading into Super Tuesday. Rather than accept that and fall in behind him to give him a boost, Elizabeth Warren and her team remained in the race, attacking him. That undeniably helped Joe Biden in MA–where she’s currently 3rd.”
“[C]ongratulations to elizabeth warren for showing no solidarity to the progressive movement and subsequently getting owned in her own fucking state. can’t believe i looked up to this person,” added another The Young Turks reporter, Hasan Piker.
Warren, who fashioned as herself as the candidate of “structural change” who always had a “plan,” saw her support ultimately evaporate due to her past claims of Native American heritage and softening on chief policy prescriptions, such as “Medicare for All.”
Her candidacy appeared seriously damaged almost before it started after she released a DNA test in response to goading by Trump to prove she had Native American ancestry. Instead of quieting critics who had questioned her claims, however, the test offended many tribal leaders who rejected undergoing the genetic test as culturally insensitive, and it didn’t stop Trump and other Republicans from gleefully deriding her as “Pocahontas.”
Warren also lost her finance director over her refusal to attend large fundraisers, long considered the financial life blood of national campaigns. Still, she distinguished herself by releasing dozens of detailed proposals on all sorts of policies from cancelling college debt to protecting oceans to containing the coronavirus. Warren also was able to build an impressive campaign war chest relying on mostly small donations that poured in from across the country — erasing the deficit created by refusing to court big, traditional donors.
As her polling began improving through the summer. Warren appeared to further hit her stride as she hammered the idea that more moderate Democratic candidates, including Biden, weren’t ambitious enough to roll back Trump’s policies and were too reliant on political consultants and fickle polling. And she drew strength in the #MeToo era, especially after a wave of female candidates helped Democrats take control of the U.S. House in 2018.
But Warren couldn’t consolidate the support of the Democratic Party’s most liberal wing against the race’s other top progressive, Sanders. Both supported universal, government-sponsored health care under a Medicare for All program, tuition-free public college and aggressive climate change fighting measures as part of the Green New Deal while forgoing big fundraisers in favor of small donations fueled by the internet.
Warren’s poll numbers began to slip after a series of debates when she repeatedly refused to answer direct questions about if she’d have to raise taxes on the middle class to pay for Medicare for All. Her top advisers were slow to catch on that not providing more details looked to voters like a major oversight for a candidate who proudly had so many other policy plans.
When Warren finally moved to correct the problem, her support eroded further. She moved away from a full endorsement of Medicare for All, announcing that she’d work with Congress to transition the country to the program over three years. In the meantime, she said, many Americans could “choose” to remain with their current, private health insurance plans, which most people have through their employers. Biden and other rivals pounced, calling Warren a flip-flopper, and her standing with progressives sagged.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.