Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) took a page out of her presidential predecessor, Hillary Clinton over the weekend, accusing critics who say she’s “condescending” and “divisive’ and that her “Medicare for All” plan is poorly thought-out, of being sexist.
Both former Vice President Joe Biden and South Bend mayor Pete Buttigieg — two of Warren’s rivals for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination — accused Warren of being hard to relate to in public forums last week.
Biden accused Warren of having an “angry unyielding viewpoint,” and of being “representative of an elitism that working and middle class people do not share: ‘We know best; you know nothing,’” after Warren criticized him for not embracing her unworkable, expensive “Medicare for All” health plan.
Buttigieg echoed Biden’s assessment of Warren on ABC’s “This Week,” adding that Warren has a “my way or the highway” approach to improving Americans’ access to health care that lacked “humility.”
Warren’s supporters were the first to call the attacks “sexist,” telling the Boston Globe that Warren’s male rivals just can’t handle a woman with strong ideas.
“I think that’s just very sexist,” Peggy Mormann, a Warren supporter, told Warren’s home paper. “They realize she’s a huge threat to them.
“That happens when women lead. Men are afraid of strong women,” said another.
Warren, who has mostly avoided openly attacking her rivals for the presidential nomination, implied sexism herself in a fundraising email released last week.
“I’m angry and I own it,” Warren wrote to supporters, according to the women’s site, Refinery 29.
“Over and over, we are told that women are not allowed to be angry,” Warren went on. “It makes us unattractive to powerful men who want us to be quiet.” But, Warren added, she can’t help not being angry in the face of a student loan debt crisis and an unworkable health care system.
“When we see these injustices in the wealthiest country in the history of the world,” the email contined, “we should be angry.”
She coyly reiterated her claims of sexism in an interview with the New York Times Saturday. When she was asked whether she thought Biden’s “angry” comments were misogynistic.
“Why don’t you ask him that?” she quipped.
Biden, of course, contends that he’s not attacking Warren, he’s attacking her Medicare for All plan, which seems to have no basis in reality. Warren’s plan to pay for the massive government-run healthcare program still makes no sense, days later.
“I’m responding to her attack, her comments,” Biden told CNN.
Warren, like Clinton (and even Warren’s 2020 rival, Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA)), clearly sees some value in charges of sexism, and it’s certainly working with her female supporters, but it may not be working with Democratic primary voters — or, at least, it may not be enough to make up for Warren’s recent polling troubles.
According to a New York Times poll last week, a more moderate, populist message is resonating for Democrats in key “battleground” states. Biden is currently the only Democratic front-runner giving President Donald Trump a run for his money in places like Wisconsin and Michigan, which Trump needs to hold on to to win re-election. Warren and Sanders are falling behind the President, and the New York Times analysts believe that it’s because Rust Belt and “battleground” state voters simply aren’t responding to their progressive agendas.
Hillary Clinton piled on Warren’s claims over the weekend, too, not to be outdone by her 2020 successors. She told a crowd in London that “social media abuse” and modern sexism are still to blame for her own loss, and could jeopardize the careers of other female politicians, according to Reuters.