Elizabeth Warren doesn't want to talk about Medicare for All anymore

Elizabeth Warren’s campaign appears to be struggling. Her polling numbers are down, her fundraising is expected to be lower than last quarter, and she seems to be doing her best to veer back toward the center after months spent pushing a hard-left agenda. In particular, the NY Times notes that Warren has quietly backed away from a focus on her big-ticket policy: Medicare for All.

After months of attacks from other candidates, and questions and some blowback from both liberals and moderates, the most ambitious and expensive of Ms. Warren’s many plans — and the one most likely to transform the lives of voters — is just a passing mention in her standard stump speech, rarely explored in depth unless a questioner brings it up.

“I expected her to talk more about the health care for all stuff, definitely,” said Max Goldman, 53, who attended Ms. Warren’s rally in Clarinda. Referring to her campaign, he added, “I think they know it’s controversial.”…

…a health care-size hole can sometimes seem missing from her speeches, as when she listed the top priorities of her prospective administration in her closing remarks in Des Moines.

“After we win in 2020, nobody gets to go home,” Ms. Warren told the crowd. “We all come back to push. Push on the anti-corruption bills. Push to get rid of the filibuster. Push to make changes in our immigration system. Push for a 2 cent wealth tax. To push for a Green New Deal. You push and I pull and we will make real change.”

No mention of Medicare for all.

It’s not just the polls and the stump speech where Warren’s campaign is in trouble. Warren’s fundraising is expected to be down somewhat this quarter. Her campaign announced a goal that was significantly less than what it brought in last quarter:

Senator Elizabeth Warren’s slip in the 2020 primary polls has been accompanied by a dip in donations, with her campaign setting a rare public goal: aiming to raise $20 million for the fourth quarter of 2019 ending Tuesday, or about 20 percent less than what she raised in the previous three-month period…
Ms. Warren was the No. 2 fund-raiser in the field in the third quarter, when she raised $24.6 million. But her campaign said on Friday that she was “a good chunk behind” that mark this time, with a little more than $17 million collected with four days left in the quarter.

“It will be nearly impossible to match last quarter at this point. But we need to start closing the gap,” read one Warren solicitation for donations.

The Boston Herald published an editorial today laying the blame for Warren’s recent decline on her far-left turn in the primaries toward a “free-everything” approach:

Elizabeth Warren, the occasional senator from Massachusetts, is watching her presidential campaign hit the skids. She’s down in the polls, and her fourth-quarter fundraising trailed previous cash inflows.

Naturally, Warren’s doing what she can to reverse her fortunes and spur momentum, such as Tuesday’s rally at the Old South Meeting House in Boston.

The problem is, you can’t gain momentum when you have to keep backpedaling.

And that is what the senator faces as her free-everything platform wears out its welcome with skeptical voters.

In particular, the Herald says Warren’s admission that in addition to costing trillions per year her M4A plan would wipe out nearly two million jobs is a problem for her campaign. “It’s easy to be dispassionate about social engineering when you’re not facing foreclosure after a layoff,” the editorial board writes.

There’s no doubt that Warren seems to have lost some of her momentum. The Real Clear Politics polling average shows her down 11 points since her peak in early October. Still, Sanders hasn’t backed away from M4A and he’s still doing well in the polls. Maybe it’s not the issue so much as the fact that Warren seems to want to be all things to all people.

Maybe she’ll just continue to quietly tack toward the center in hopes of a late boost from more moderate Dems. At the moment, that plan looks like a long shot. She’s too moderate for the Bernie Bros and too hard left for the Biden wing. Unless one or the other drops out, she doesn’t seem to have her own lane to run in.