Warren, post-debate: If Bloomberg wants to help Democrats beat Trump, he should drop out

A fun rejoinder to yesterday’s arrogant (but defensible!) memo from Team Bloomberg that he’s the only Democrat who can stop Bernie so it’s time for everyone else in the race to hit the bricks. Watch, then read on.

She really doesn’t like Mike, huh? I knew she’d come after him but I didn’t expect her to still be giving him the Billy Batts treatment during the post-debate cooldown. It paid off for her, though — literally.

To put that in perspective, her total fundraising for the ~90 days in the fourth quarter last year was a shade over $21 million. One week ago she was begging her supporters in a Facebook video to kick in to her campaign or else she couldn’t go much further. Now, thrilled by watching her slaughter the evil plutocrat Bloomberg, they’re emptying their wallets.

Which makes me wonder if her evisceration of Bloomberg over his company’s NDAs with women might end up being the coup de grace that ensures a Bernie nomination. I agree with Ed that Warren’s too late to revive her own chances; remember that Nevada and many Super Tuesday states are already holding early voting, which means much of her share there will reflect her pre-debate standing in the race. But by roundhousing Bloomy, she may have stalled his rise.

And by giving her fans a thrill, she may have given her own campaign just enough gas to keep going through Super Tuesday — which, I think, *helps* Bernie on balance more than hurts him at this point. By laying off Sanders, Warren seems to have wisely given up on winning over progressives, who aren’t about to ditch him when his campaign is peaking after having already abandoned her for him in October. Her only chance left is to become the Not Bernie in the race, and since momentarily that niche belongs to Bloomberg (especially with Biden’s lead in South Carolina tenuous), her strategy was to eviscerate him and try to claim the niche for herself. Warren has spent the past 15 months trying to get just far enough to Sanders’s right that moderates will prefer her to him in a one-on-one race while remaining far enough left that progressives will consider her acceptable-ish as nominee if she prevails in that race. Trying to knock out Bloomberg was her last shot to engineer that dynamic. It almost certainly won’t work.

But there’s a consolation prize: Even as she fades and drops out over the next few weeks, she’s proved that she’s a capable and eager attack dog for the left. Bernie will want more racial diversity in a running mate than a Sanders/Warren ticket will provide but after last night’s performance he’ll be sorely tempted to choose her as VP and turn her loose on Trump on the trail.

As for Bloomberg, I don’t think she knocked him out. He was terrible, but unless Biden surprises everyone by coming on strong in Nevada and South Carolina, Bloomy will effectively be the only game in town for centrists on Super Tuesday. He can always drown his bad debate performance in another $100 million worth of ads if need be. And it’s unclear how much the NDA issue that Warren hammered him on will matter to rank-and-file Democrats, especially the older Biden-friendly demographic that Bloomberg’s aiming for. Dominic Green wondered if non-woke Dems might even view his defiance on the issue favorably, as a signal that Bloomberg won’t genuflect to “political correctness” — or to any other unwelcome concern:

Bloomberg also shares with Trump a businessman’s awareness of the price of morals and the cost of moralizing. Elizabeth Warren affected outrage about Bloomberg’s alleged jokes about ‘horse-faced lesbians’ and transvestites, but Trump has already proven that these attitudes, fatal though they may be in the politically correct kingdom of the campus, are an inverse form of recommendation: the kind of candidate who refuses to bow to the puritans might also be the kind of president who could refuse the bribes of the donors.

Trump as president has not been immune to accepting “bribes” from donors, as his fundraising haul will attest, but you take the point. Conor Friedersdorf had a thought similar to Green’s: Maybe the sheer prevalence of “callout culture” on the left has desensitized some Democrats to the point where they can’t distinguish serious sins against progress, like the sort of workplace harassment Bloomberg’s accused of, from more venial ones like the outrage of the day on Twitter. In fact, this tweet from an NYT reporter shortly after the debate caught my eye as anecdotal evidence of which shots landed last night and which might not have:

Maybe the NDA exchange was a bigger deal to political junkies and the media chatterati than it was to the average viewer. Wouldn’t be the first time, or the eight millionth time, that that happened with some supposedly “significant” electoral development.

Here’s your exit quotation, Bloomberg’s roundhouse at Bernie.