But party activists perhaps understand the organization they serve less than they think they do. Isn’t it just as possible, indeed maybe even likely, that Warren, like Cruz, is waiting for a day that will never come? Trump’s “implosions” were never reflected at the ballot box. Maybe so, it will also be with Biden.
Templates aren’t perfect, however. While Cruz did well with evangelicals, Warren has failed to make inroads among African Americans. And unlike Cruz, the establishment has warmed to Warren’s rise—her campaign doubles as a Harvard satellite campus.
But perhaps Warren’s greatest weakness as a candidate, as it was for Cruz, is that she is not the real voice of her party’s discontented. A well placed source told me that in 2012 he advised Mitt Romney, the Republican nominee, that the person who wins America’s big elections today is the most pessimistic of the two messengers.
Of the 2016 conservatives, Cruz was perhaps most polite to Trump, but in failing to ape the future president’s program, he never emerged as anything more than a poor imitation of the real estate mogul. Immigration and ennui over America’s international role were the orders of the day, and for a core contingent, no substitutes for Trumpian nationalism would do.