It has, to my knowledge, not yet been observed elsewhere that much of what can be said about the candidacy of Elizabeth Warren could also have been said about the 2016 Green Party candidacy of Jill Stein.
Both are Harvard faculty members associated with platforms most on the left would endorse. Both are (obviously) women and, according to many of their supporters ignored by the mainstream, corporate media on this basis.* Finally, both have significant weaknesses as candidates with national polls routinely showing single digit support.
The liabilities alluded to in the final point tend to be dismissed by Stein’s and Warren’s supporters but they are wrong to do so in that they fail to recognize that marginal campaigns inflict damage on the left. Stein’s tiny vote totals communicated in clear numerical terms a lack of support for issues on which she ran. Rather than helping to build the foundation for progressive politics as she claimed to be doing, she undermined it. Thus, her candidacy was mistaken regardless of the numerical possibility that her run drew votes away from Hillary Clinton thereby helping to elect Donald Trump.
Warren’s presence in the primary could also ultimately be destructive as its main consequence will be to draw support away from the progressive candidate who, by all polls, has a much greater level of small donor financing, volunteer organization and public support outside of left/liberal enclaves, namely Sanders. If Sanders does not obtain a majority of primary delegates-a likely outcome if Warren’s vote totals are significant-the result will be a brokered convention.
Should that occur, the usual bland, uninspiring centrist candidate will chosen by party insiders, probably Joe Biden. The result will, of course, be a defeat for the left. However, it will be worse in that, as has been repeatedly demonstrated, neoliberal corporatists make easy pickings for the populist right, and that includes Trump who will thereby have a greater chance of being re-elected.
The catastrophe of four more years of Republican dominance will not be limited to the left. It will be a disaster for the planet and the species attempting to inhabit it.
It is crucial that we choose the candidate who has the best chance to defeat Donald Trump.
It was not Jill Stein. It is not Elizabeth Warren.
It was and is Bernie Sanders.
*See here for a skeptical view on this point.