Elizabeth Warren: Democratic party was reluctant to nominate a woman in 2020

In new book, Massachusetts senator reflects on why she lost the presidential nomination

In a new book, the Massachusetts senator Elizabeth Warren suggests part of the reason for her failure in the race for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination lay in the party’s reluctance to nominate another woman.

“I had to run against the shadows of Martha and Hillary,” Warren writes in Persist, which will be published on Tuesday, the Washington Post reported.

Hillary Clinton, a former New York senator and secretary of state, lost the 2016 presidential election to Donald Trump.

Martha Coakley, an attorney general of Massachusetts, lost a 2010 election for a US Senate seat long held by Ted Kennedy, to Scott Brown, and a 2014 gubernatorial election to Charlie Baker.

Both women started as favourites but suffered losses which dealt crushing blows to Democrats on the national stage.

Warren led the 2020 Democratic primary early on. In her book, the Post said, she repeats a conversation with her husband, Bruce Mann, who said: “Babe, you could actually do this. You could be president.” Warren also writes about she imagined her inauguration.

But she did not win any states and withdrew on 5 March. With most of the rest of the field, she endorsed Joe Biden against the progressive standard bearer, Bernie Sanders. Biden went on to beat Trump convincingly but Warren was passed over for vice-president and a cabinet post.

On the page, Warren attributes some of the blame for her defeat to a failure to explain how she would pay for her ambitious progressive proposals, particularly on expanding healthcare.

She also reportedly “offers a heavy dose of praise for allies and competitors and little score-settling or tale-telling”, calling Biden a “steady, decent man” and Sanders “fearless and determined”.

The Post said Warren’s book “glosses over” a clash with Sanders over whether he told her a woman could not beat Trump. Warren says he did. Sanders says he did not.

Warren considers a debate in Nevada in which she assailed the former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg over his behaviour towards women and compared him to Trump. Warren, the Post said, writes that she was surprised Bloomberg did not immediately respond.

Republicans silence Elizabeth Warren during Senate debate

“Like so many women in so many settings, I found myself wondering if he had even heard me,” she writes.

Warren’s book, her third, also considers a previously disclosed incident at the University of Houston when she says a male colleague tried to grope her, and its effect on her academic career.

The book’s title comes from a famous clash with Mitch McConnell in 2017. Attempting to silence Warren during debate, the then Republican majority leader said: “She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted.”

The Post said text on the back of Warren’s book says it is about “the fight that lies ahead”.

“Warren offers few hints on whether she might run again for president,” the paper said. “At 71, she is younger than Biden and could plausibly launch another campaign in 2024, particularly if he does not seek a second term.”


Martin Pengelly in New York

The GuardianTramp

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