Trump’s reignition of the racially-charged slight reinforced his complete disregard for politically correct boundaries. It illustrated his affinity for branding his opponents with pithy nicknames in order to degrade their stature. But it also reopened a controversy for Warren that even some Democrats say she mishandled during her 2012 campaign.
And if she runs for the White House in 2020, the “Pocahontas” problem won’t go away. She’ll need a pithier, clear-throated response to those hearing the details for the first time and a way to turn the tables on Trump.
“Next time, with these nicknames, everybody will take it more seriously because there’s a chunk of the population that believes him no matter how ridiculous he sounds,” says Massachusetts-based Democratic consultant Dan Payne.