Sen. Elizabeth Warren drew 60 p.c of the vote in 2018, however she lagged behind different Massachusetts Democrats in statewide elections. | Jessica Hill/AP Picture
Lawmakers within the Massachusetts senator’s residence state level to her previous election efficiency as an indication of weak point.
As Elizabeth Warren climbs within the polls, Joe Biden’s Massachusetts allies are warning that her election historical past suggests she runs weakest among the many varieties of voters Democrats have to win over to seize the White Home.
Whereas Warren gained reelection simply in 2018, Biden’s backers level to her efficiency amongst unbiased and blue-collar voters as proof she’ll fail to enchantment to related voters within the Rust Belt — simply as Hillary Clinton did in 2016.
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“The grave concern of many people Democrats in Massachusetts is that in most of the counties the place Sen. Warren underperforms, they’re demographically and culturally much like voters in key swing states,” mentioned state Rep. John Rogers, who backs Biden.
“The tangible concern right here,” Rogers mentioned, “is that these Massachusetts counties are bellwethers for states like Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio — key states that Democrats cannot afford to lose within the battle to beat President Trump.”
Warren’s critics have lengthy assailed the previous Harvard Legislation College professor for being too far liberal and too out-of-touch with blue-collar voters to beat Donald Trump, regardless of an financial message that speaks on to a lot of their issues. Electability, in the meantime, is the core of Biden’s argument for the nomination: his marketing campaign frames him because the Democrat greatest positioned to defeat Trump.
Skeptics of Warren’s “electability” sometimes haven’t hailed from Massachusetts, the place in 2018 she handily defeated Republican Geoff Diehl, who embraced Trump in a state the place the president is wildly unpopular. But even in victory — which she achieved with out shopping for any tv advertisements — Warren’s 60 p.c to 36 p.c profitable margin did not impress: She lagged behind the 4 different Democrats who gained statewide workplace that 12 months.
Whereas Warren racked up giant margins in Boston and different liberal bastions, she gained solely half of the 20 cities with essentially the most unbiased voters.
State Rep. Angelo M. Scaccia identified even Gov. Charlie Baker — the lone Republican to win final 12 months within the solidly blue state — obtained the next share of the vote than Warren in 2018, in addition to extra whole votes.
“The Republican governor was the highest vote-getter, and the secretary of state acquired extra votes than Warren, outscored her very badly,” mentioned Scaccia, a reasonable Democrat. He mentioned Warren ought to’ve “crushed” Diehl by a bigger margin contemplating he was operating as a proud Trump Republican in Massachusetts.
“It was the 12 months of the girl,” Scaccia mentioned. “She ought to’ve performed significantly better.”
Scaccia famous that Warren additionally ran nicely behind Massachusetts Legal professional Basic Maura Healey, one other girl operating statewide for reelection in 2018. Healey, who gained 70 p.c of the vote statewide, captured the next share of the vote than Warren in 337 of the state’s 351 cities and cities.
One other Democratic member of the Massachusetts Legislature who helps Biden however who didn’t wish to go on file criticizing Warren, mentioned the senator’s efficiency within the state was paying homage to Clinton’s struggles in opposition to Trump in 2016 amongst non-college-educated and white suburban voters.
Elizabeth Warren campaigns for reelection to the Senate at Belkin Household Lookout Farm in Natick, Mass., in 2018. | Steven Senne/AP Picture
“A vote for Elizabeth Warren within the major is a vote for Trump within the basic,” the self-described progressive Democrat mentioned. “We’re occupied with the swing voters in different states, and we don’t desire a repeat of what occurred final time.”
Some nationwide and state polls have discovered Biden operating stronger in opposition to Trump than Warren, partially due to his enchantment with unbiased voters. A latest Marquette College survey in swing-state Wisconsin, as an illustration, confirmed Biden beating Trump by 9 share factors whereas Warren tied him at 45 p.c every. With unbiased voters within the ballot, Biden leads Trump by 22 factors whereas Warren trails him by eight.
And a brand new ABC/Washington Publish ballot discovered that 42 p.c of Democrats nationally suppose Biden would fare greatest in opposition to Trump, 14 p.c mentioned Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and 12 p.c mentioned Warren. In head-to-head matchups, Biden beats Trump by 15 factors and Warren beats him by 7 within the ballot, which exhibits Biden head of the president by 14 factors amongst independents whereas Warren is up by solely four.
Non-college-educated voters — who strongly favored Trump in 2016 — favor Biden by 6 factors whereas Warren ties Trump with this group, the ballot exhibits.
Warren’s supporters accuse Biden’s Massachusetts backers of cherry-picking knowledge because the polls start to indicate her gaining traction. Whereas the senator’s marketing campaign declined to remark for this story, it referred to a postelection evaluation authored by state Democratic Occasion Chairman Gus Bickford, who lauded her win as “the best margin of victory of any Democratic Senate or Gubernatorial candidate in Massachusetts within the final 10 years.”
In keeping with Bickford’s evaluation, Warren additionally improved her standing with rural voters and in nonwhite communities.
State Sen. Eric Lesser, a Warren supporter, mentioned Warren is gaining floor with independently minded voters in his Springfield-based district, which has a mixture of rural and suburban voters the place 5 of the 9 communities voted for Trump.
“My district was residence to dozens of big manufacturing facilities,” he mentioned, ticking off the businesses that closed and moved out. “They left within the ’70s and ’80s, and folks in my neighborhood are searching for somebody for a solution to that. And Elizabeth Warren and her message connects with them.”
Mary Anne Marsh, a senior adviser to former Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry, mentioned the criticisms coming from Biden’s supporters make them sound “very nervous.”
“I’ve heard this as a part of typical knowledge, similar to I’ve heard Joe Biden can beat Trump. However since April [when he announced his candidacy], he’s been horrible,” she mentioned. “What, third time’s the appeal? He has run for president twice earlier than. What makes folks suppose this time can be any completely different?”
As for Warren’s blue-collar enchantment, Marsh identified that Warren beat incumbent GOP Sen. Scott Brown 54-46 p.c in 2012 — and did it with the assist of the firefighters’ union that has, in her estimation, too usually sided with Republicans.
Scott Ferson, a political guide who’s impartial within the race, mentioned Warren reminds him of his outdated boss, the late Sen. Ted Kennedy, who was perceived as too liberal in much less city components of the state.
“Elizabeth Warren will be polarizing a little bit bit, what some see as stridency, in additional conservative sections of the state, which is Kennedy-esque,” he mentioned. “However she beat Scott Brown, and he drove a pickup truck. I get the priority, however I believe these legislators could also be a little bit too delicate.”
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