Was Elizabeth Warren's scathing attack on Bloomberg enough to turn her campaign around?

Sirena Bergman@SirenaBergman
Thursday 20 February 2020 10:45
news

After months of pretty boring (and wildly crowded) Democratic debates, we're finally seeing an actual uptick in the excitement factor.

Last night's debate was always going to be a rivetting watch, partly because the two bellwether states (Iowa and New Hampshire) are done and dusted and now we have a clear understanding of who's leading the pack (Sanders).

But also because it was billionnaire Michael Bloomberg's first appearance on a debate stage since he announced his candidacy, and the rest of the hopefuls were keen to make the most of it... starting with Elizabeth Warren.

She was here to pull absolutely no punches last night, coming for Bloomberg from the first moment, where she got her scathing opening statement in over both Bloomberg and Sanders, who were standing either side of her looking like they thought owning the stage was their right:

I'd like to talk about who we're running against: a billionnaire who calls women 'fat broads' and 'horse-faced lesbians'. And no, I'm not talking about Donald Trump, I'm talking about Mayor Bloomberg. 

Democrats are not going to win if we have a nominee who has a history of hiding his tax returns, of harrassing women, of supporting racist policies like redlining and stop-and-frisk.

Look, I'll support whoever the Democratic nominee is, but understand this: Democrats take a huge risk if we just substitute one arrogant billionnaire for another.

Her iconic monologue set the tone for the entire debate, which largely involved all the candidates coming for Bloomberg with Warren spearheading the attacks.

For Buttigieg, Klobuchar and Biden, it would be dangerous to see Bloomberg's huge TV ad spending lead to a real increase in support, given it would even further split the centrist vote. For Sanders, the name of the game was to repeat his message to death and avoid any controversy to not alienate the majority support he already has.

When it comes to Warren, the attacks are more personal. She made her name aggressively campaigning for strict banking regulations after the 2008 financial crash. She also proposed and established the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Meanwhile Bloomberg made his billions selling software to essentially help investment bankers. It's no surprised they don't see eye to eye.

While some have called her "mean" for her so-called attacks, the visibility can only help her at this point, as she was fast becoming the least relevant person in the race, with the possible exception of Tom Steyer and Joe Biden. Now, her campaign has been envigorated and her supporters have something to rally against. Democratic voters don't love an "arrogant billionnaire" the way Republicans proved they did, so her overt disdain for all he stands for could win her points both with those voting on policy and economics, and those focussing on identity issues.

And people were quick to label her the absolute winner of last night's debate.

As we've all learnt all too well, loud support on Twitter does not necessarily translate into votes in a primary, let alone in a presidential election. But it certainly can't hurt.

MORE: Placard claiming 'God bows down to President Donald Trump' compared to a cult

MORE: 'Gun girl' mocked and chased out of Ohio University by hundreds of students

Trending