“So…the voters of New Hampshire just made a terrible mistake.”
That’s the first line of a press release from the Progressive Change Campaign Committee (PCCC) on Monday attacking Granite State voters for boosting the candidacy of Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar.
“Exit polls show that Amy Klobuchar picked over 10 points in the final couple days before the New Hampshire primary because of…a couple good zingers in the last debate,” the PCCC said. “Klobuchar has faced no scrutiny this year. New Hampshire voters didn’t know that Klobuchar voted to confirm two-thirds of Trump judges to lifetime appointments -— and has one of the most conservative records of any Democrat.”
The press release also included a tweet from “a progressive voice:”
“Time for Tina Fey to polish off that Sarah Palin impression and tweak it for Amy. #NotPresidential.”
The group, which claims to be “a nearly-million member grassroots organization” and “the first national organization to endorse Elizabeth Warren,” makes no secret of its advocacy for progressive issues like Medicare For All — and for candidates who promote them. As a result, they see the rise of a center-left candidate like Klobuchar as an obstacle to their agenda.
Unfortunately for Warren and her PCCC allies, most New Hampshire Democrats did not agree. Despite her nearly 100 percent name ID and years as a U.S. senator next door in Massachusetts, Warren came in an embarrassing fourth place with just 9 percent of the vote.
Klobuchar, whose polling had rarely broken double digits in the Granite State, got just over 20 percent in the First in the Nation primary, behind winner Bernie Sanders and second-place finisher Pete Buttigieg.
Now, Warren’s allies are on the attack and, interestingly, they’re attacking the Democratic voters as well as candidates. And it’s not just Klobuchar supporters, either.
“I’m confounded why some people think it’s compelling to say that they are consistently fighting for the exact same thing for 30 years. When the end of that sentence is ‘and losing,'” PCCC co-founder Adam Green told The Hill. “I would just say to most Bernie Sanders voters, if you agree with his values, your best bet to actually get them done is Elizabeth Warren.”
Warren has recently re-tooled her message from “fighter” to “uniter,” a message that didn’t prevent her disappointing defeats in Iowa and New Hampshire, and one that won’t benefit from attacks on Klobuchar and Sanders from allies like the PCCC. And some political analysts believe it’s an effort destined to fail, with or without the attacks.
“The problem that Warren has is all of the Bernie people think she’s a neoliberal shill and all of the centrists think she’s a raging Maoist,” progressive data analyst Sean McElwee told NBC News. “The people who want Medicare for All don’t believe she wants it, and the people who don’t want Medicare for All do believe she wants it.”
Green told NHJournal that the lesson of New Hampshire is “how much debates matter.”
“The New Hampshire debate was the first debate that immediately preceded voting, and nobody knew that nearly half of the voters would make their decision in the final couple of days.”
But why were New Hampshire Democrats still shopping on the eve of the primary, and a year after Warren entered the race? After months of Warren at or near the top of New Hampshire polls? As recently as October there were polls showing Warren with 25 percent or more of the vote. She got nine percent.
Did Klobuchar really do all that damage in a single debate? Or was the problem Warren’s failure as a candidate to keep Democrats on board?
Instead of an answer, Green gave NHJournal a prediction about Wednesday night’s debate in Las Vegas: “Watch for the next debate,” he said. “It will be interesting to compare and contrast it with the one in New Hampshire.”