AFT president goes rogue, endorses Warren ahead of Super Tuesday

Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) introduced Elizabeth Warren at her rally in Houston Saturday. Weingarten’s decision to go out on her own and endorse Warren made weekend headlines. Is Weingarten coming to the rescue for the former teacher, Elizabeth Warren?

Little more than a week ago, AFT union leaders made the decision to endorse three Democrats running for the party’s nomination for president instead of picking one candidate – at least for now. They chose Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, and Joe Biden. I wrote at the time that it was less than a courageous decision. Clearly the union wanted to get on the record that they don’t support the Bloomberg campaign. Bloomberg is an advocate for charter schools and school choice.

So, with Super Tuesday upon us, all three of the candidates are making appearances in Texas. During a Warren rally Saturday, Weingarten introduced Warren and announced her personal endorsement. She was careful to mention that it is her own endorsement, not that of the union. “That’s why I am here in my personal capacity,” she said. Ahead of the actual endorsement, she explained her decision to break away and do her own endorsement with a post on Medium.

Any of these three Democrats would be a transformational improvement over Donald Trump. And the AFT is encouraging our members and our affiliates, including all our leaders, to support — actively and vocally — any of them.

But when I am asked which candidate I will vote for, I’ve personally concluded that there is one who has the life experience that brings an understanding of what families — all families — need today to have a better future, the bold agenda to achieve that better life, and the wherewithal to work with others to turn her ideas into reality. And, of course, the toughness and persistence to take on Donald Trump.
That’s why today I am announcing my personal support for our champion, my friend, former teacher and professor — Sen. Elizabeth Warren. I will vote for her in the New York primary on April 28.

It’s a big deal that there’s a former special education teacher running for president. Being a teacher means being fearless and flexible, loving and compassionate, hardworking and resilient, and dedicated and devoted to making life better for all kids and families. Being a teacher means having an innate understanding of the value of public education and what is needed to help all children succeed and to support all educators.

Ironically, when Elizabeth Warren was a special education teacher, she was a Republican. The post on Medium makes clear that the AFT is supportive of the socialist far left – Weingarten touts Medicaid for All, throwing tons more taxpayer dollars at America’s failing public school system, and most importantly, defeating the bad Orange Man in November.

I will end where I started: We confront an existential crisis for our democracy and our very way of life. And I will, like so many others, support the person the Democrats ultimately nominate. I will work harder than I ever have, as I know our union will, to change the direction of our country and defeat Donald Trump.

At the same time in this moment, we can and must ensure that hope wins over despair, compassion over cruelty, fairness over inequality, and that justice and freedom become a lived experience for all. Elizabeth Warren is the candidate who can bring us together and bring out the best in America.

Warren is in fourth place in Texas, according to Real Clear Politics. Bernie Sanders has the lead wrapped up if polls are to be believed. Biden is in second place and Bloomberg is third. Biden began the race with a strong double-digit lead – some had him up by 30 points in the very beginning, but that early lead seems to have worked against Biden. Biden has little presence in Texas and is only now, on Monday, the day before Super Tuesday, making campaign stops in Houston. He fundraises (mostly in private settings) in Texas but hasn’t been holding rallies. Both Warren and Sanders put in a lot of resources – campaign staff and offices – early on, and once Bloomberg entered the race with his Super Tuesday strategy, he has been a regular visitor to Texas.

Julian Castro, a Warren surrogate, may help her with the Latino vote, though Bernie is popular with that demographic, especially the younger voters. Biden has the older Hispanic vote. I don’t see Warren breaking out and winning big in Texas on Super Tuesday and I’m not sure what her path forward will look like. Sunday Team Warren posted the campaign’s plan on Medium. It touts her performance in Nevada and raises expectations for her on Super Tuesday. They claim strong, enthusiastic grassroots support and fundraising success. They are ramping up paid media “investment” and I will say that I saw the first television ads for her that I’ve seen over the last couple of days. The campaign is counting on a brokered convention.

We believe that Super Tuesday will greatly winnow this field and it will become clear that only a few candidates will have a viable path to the Democratic nomination — and Elizabeth Warren will be one of them.

Our internal projections continue to show Elizabeth winning delegates in nearly every state in play on Super Tuesday, and in a strong position to earn a sizable delegate haul coming out of the night.

But as the dust settles after March 3, the reality of this race will be clear: no candidate will likely have a path to the majority of delegates needed to win an outright claim to the Democratic nomination.

Super Tuesday is the first test in March to amass delegates, but a week later we will be competing in six states, and a week after that another four that represent over 500 delegates up for grabs. By the time all of California’s votes from mail-in ballots are counted, likely in mid-March, we will still only be halfway to the overall number of pledged delegates up for grabs.

From there we will be competing in contests in the rest of March: Georgia, the Northern Mariana Islands, and Puerto Rico, and early April: Alaska, Hawaii, Louisiana, Wyoming, and Wisconsin. All of our 400 Super Tuesday organizing staffers will be re-deployed to states voting in March or April.

After Wisconsin nearly one-third of the pledged delegates will still be waiting to be elected, and there will be a three-week gap between electing delegates for the first time since voting began. In the road to the nomination, the Wisconsin primary is halftime, and the convention in Milwaukee is the final play.

We’ll see how it all shakes out Tuesday night. At this point, though, it seems her best hope is to cut a deal with Bernie Sanders. She could be his vice-presidential choice, since AOC is too young, and it’s been reported that he’s open to choosing her. He’s even considered choosing her in a dual role as vice-president and treasury secretary.