Elizabeth Warren: I won't do a town hall on Fox News's "hate-for-profit machine"

Smart, if cynical. After all, Warren must have arrived at her allegedly principled objection to Fox’s “hate” outlet fairly recently: A rival campaign reminded journalist Yashar Ali today that she was still doing interviews on “Fox News Sunday” as recently as March 2018.

I wonder which campaign that was. Can we think of anyone who’s directly competing with Warren for the progressive vote, whose polling has looked shaky lately, and who somewhat famously appeared in a Fox News town hall of his own a few weeks ago, receiving lots of buzz from it?

Somewhere Shep Smith is reading that, fighting the urge to go on the air at 3 p.m. today and tell the audience that he agrees with every word.

Warren had a problem running for president this year. Bernie Sanders was going to run too and she simply can’t out-left Bernie. If she tried, she was destined to be seen as either a poseur or, in the best-case scenario, as a distant second choice for the party’s socialist vanguard. So she settled on a different strategy, one with two prongs. First, she was going to out-work (or out-wonk) him. That meant introducing splashy new policy programs every few weeks, like her student-debt bailout. The only way she’ll convince Berniebros to back her instead of him is by showing them that her agenda is as ambitious as his, if not more so.

Second, she was going to out-fight him. By “out-fight,” I don’t mean fight Bernie himself; that would be suicidal for her among progressives, who treat Sanders as an icon. I mean attacking the left’s enemies more vigorously than Sanders has, appealing to the left’s visceral loathing of various right-wing power centers. She’s now done that twice in the past week, first from the Senate floor when she made the case at length for impeaching Trump and now again today by flipping the bird to Fox News. The left tolerated Bernie’s town hall on Fox on the theory that he was making a play for some of Trump’s voters, but in practice it’s because he’s amassed enough goodwill with them that he won’t be punished for a minor heresy like that. His decision to “legitimize” Fox with his presence left Warren with an opening, though, to show his fans that she wouldn’t make nice with Rupert Murdoch’s evil behemoth even if she stood to gain something from doing so. Essentially, Bernie handed her an opportunity to take a purity test for the base. She did, and she passed.

A side benefit for her: *Maybe* this’ll make Warren a tiny bit more competitive for the Ocasio-Cortez endorsement.

Ocasio-Cortez’s work on Sanders’ 2016 campaign — and the fact that several staffers from that bid went on to work for her and the pro-Ocasio-Cortez group Justice Democrats — suggest the Vermont senator has the inside track for her coveted endorsement. But Sen. Elizabeth Warren is making an aggressive pitch for Ocasio-Cortez’s nod, too: She’s met with her privately and wrote a gushing essay about her for Time magazine. An aide to Warren said their teams have been in touch…

Landing Ocasio-Cortez’s endorsement would be a coup for Warren; even getting her to hold off on formally backing Sanders might be considered a win. For Sanders, an endorsement from her would symbolize that he was consolidating his grip on the left wing of the party even with Warren, a fellow progressive populist, in the race.

I can’t imagine that AOC would risk her cred with the DSA crowd by backing Warren, a self-proclaimed capitalist, over the socialist Bernie. But like Politico says, Warren’s probably not expecting to win her endorsement. What she wants from Ocasio-Cortez is enthusiasm for her candidacy, enough so that progressives will feel they have “permission” to prefer her to Sanders if that’s the way they’re personally inclined. I think Warren would happily accept this from AOC: “Although I’m supporting Sen. Sanders next year, I think we’d be very lucky to have Sen. Warren as our president. She’s certainly my second choice.” And telling Fox News to get bent might make that more likely, given how much unflattering attention FNC pays to AOC and how keenly aware of that Ocasio-Cortez is. Essentially Warren’s taking on the “bully” that keeps picking on poor Sandy.

Here’s Ocasio-Cortez last night making pretty clear that she won’t be endorsing Joe Biden in the primaries.