Dogma feels so good: When Elizabeth Warren left the race, the dogma aggressively spread.
Peaches and Herb were once "reunited"—and it had "felt so good." So it was as mainstream reporters and liberal pundits rushed to spread the preferred tribal tale all around.
According to that tribal tale, the defeat of a giant like Candidate Warren simply had to stem from some nefarious cause. How else could a campaign which started with six female candidates possibly have ended up as a battle between "two old white men?"
The children stampeded into print and onto cable, reciting that mandated question. As they spread the debilitating dogma around, they sometimes even began to play games with their own prior reporting!
Consider what Annie Linskey wrote on the front page of the Washington Post. She started with a familiar question—how could a candidate as great as Warren possibly have lost?
LINSKEY (3/6/20): Elizabeth Warren attracted big crowds. She won rave reviews in nearly every debate. Her organization was second to none. She developed plans, a strategy and a message. Yet when voting started, she not only lost, she lost by a lot.How could a hopeful that great have lost? According to Linskey, "many believe" the fact that she's a woman "contributed to her loss."
Now as Warren, who ended her presidential campaign Thursday, decides whether to endorse either of the two male candidates remaining, her supporters are left to contemplate a factor that many believe contributed significantly to her loss: She’s female.
Indeed, they believe it "contributed significantly." This belief quickly rose to the level of dogma. But is that belief really true?
To what extent did sexism / misogyny contribute to Warren's loss? Such questions are hard to assess.
The dogmatist will always start by disappearing the ways in which a female candidate's gender may have brought her additional support. We're led to consider the possible losses in support. The possible gains disappear.
So the dogmatist reasons. But as she pleased the tribal hive, Linskey found other ways to put her thumb on the scale.
At one point she offered this, slip-sliding away her own reporting from only a few months before:
LINSKEY: It felt like an echo from 2016, when a high-profile female candidate with strong qualifications fell short, and the loss renews questions about the perceptions of women in American politics and if, or how, those perceptions can be changed.Did Warren'd defeat feel like an echo from 2016? Once the virus started to spread, yes, as if by rule of law, it most certainly did.
It’s not that Warren ran an error-free campaign. She had to apologize for previous claims of a Native American identity and struggled to explain her health-care plan and how it would be paid for, and her efforts to bridge the party’s liberal and centrist camps fell flat.
As people like Linskey spread the dogma, they recalled the fact that Hillary Clinton "fell short." They failed to mention the fact that 1) Clinton won her party's nomination, and 2) she won the popular vote, by three million votes, in the general election.
The Clinton example, in which a woman wins the popular vote, thus supports the pleasing claim that a woman could never win. In the case of the brilliant Warren, the woman had been mistreated again, and that mistreatment felt so good.
More striking is Linskey's account of one of Warren's "errors." Let's restate that account:
"It’s not that Warren ran an error-free campaign. She had to apologize for previous claims of a Native American identity..."
She had to apologize for previous claims "of a Native American identity?" Does anyone know what that serving of word salad is actually supposed to mean?
Back in December 2019, Linskey had been a bit more precise in her reporting. It wasn't that Warren had previously claimed "a Native American ancesrtry," whatever that's supposed to mean.
More precisely, and very strangely, Linskey reported that Warren had claimed that her official race was "American Indian." On that basis, she had officially reported that she was a "minority."
According to Linskey's previous reporting, Warren "had her race changed to Native American from white" while teaching at the Penn Law School. Later, "she requested that Harvard Law School list her as Native American."
That had been very strange behavior on Warren's part; presumably, Candidate Trump was once again waiting to strike. But now, with Warren leaving the race, it was time to reinforced tribal dogma.
Presumably for that reason, Linskey fuzzed her previous language up, refusing to tell tribal readers what Warren had actually done.
So it goes—so it has gone since the dawn of time—as acolytes agree to spread a preferred tribal virus around. The acolyte may also offer such foofaw as this:
LINSKEY: The exit by Warren, who spent much of 2019 leading in many polls, was a reminder of four years ago, when Hillary Clinton’s loss sparked a national debate over whether a woman could ever win election to the country’s highest political office. Her departure came just days after another prominent female senator, Amy Klobuchar, dropped out.Once again, Clinton's 2.9 million vote win suggested that a woman could never win. And the, you see the fiddle-faddle about all those lost elections.
Warren herself on occasion sought to defuse the issue by speaking about it bluntly.
“Look at the men on this stage. Collectively they have lost 10 elections,” Warren said during a January debate. “The only people on this stage who have won every single election that they’ve been in are the women, Amy and me!”
None of it worked.
For a listing of the ten elections the male candidates had lost, you can just look here. The list includes Biden's two lost attempts at nomination for president, along with Sanders' one, and six early defeats by Sanders in various races in Vermont as a third-party candidate.
The list included one defeat by Buttigieg as he ran for statewide office in red-state Indiana. With no disrespect to Klobuchar, neither Warren nor Klobuchar had ever won any such races as these.
Warren's two election wins had come in blue-state Massachusetts. Meanwhile, for what it's worth, she and Klobuchar can now boast of losses while seeking a presidential nomination, just like Biden and Sanders before them.
Warren's presentation was pure apples-to-oranges claptrap. But tribal leaders were now spreading a virus in the form of dogma, so Linskey chose to describe this silly bullroar as "blunt."
"None of it worked," Linskey added—not even bullroar like that! Warren had been "trying to defuse the issue." She certainly hadn't been seeking a silly advantage, the way many candidates do! But so it goes—so it has gone since dawn of time—when tribal messengers spread the latest tribal virus around.
Tribal dogma is very bad for the human brain. Over the past too many decades, our deeply self-impressed liberal tribe has routinely run on such fuel.
She claimed "a Native American identity?" Scribe, could you jumble it more?
Tomorrow: In search of The Greatest Candidate Ever