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Identity politics didn't work for Warren, either

Froma Harrop on

Was being a woman Elizabeth Warren's problem? That's the wrong question. Here's a better question: Was playing the protector of all damsels from that infamous rake, Mike Bloomberg, her problem? It was one of them, for certain.

Look what's happening in the world. Warren was a candidate of ideas with a strong understanding of the financial system. Her candidacy could have thrived in today's chaos. But she threw her advantages away to work the inquisitional end of the #MeToo movement.

We saw it unfold. In early February, the former New York City mayor was surging in the polls, and Warren was sliding. So she used the Nevada debate to go right for the billionaire's throat in a blatantly opportunistic manner. With scant evidence, she accused Bloomberg of a multitude of depredations against women.

For her trouble, Warren placed fourth in the Nevada caucuses, winning zero delegates. Last week, she left the race.

Yes, Bloomberg is believed to have engaged in bawdy talk and some ungentlemanly comments. This happened in the past and in the rowdy culture of New York finance. And verbal remarks were the entire rap.

Warren strongly implied far greater crimes. She spoke of the "drip, drip, drip of stories" in which women were pressed -- "dozens, who knows" -- to sign nondisclosure agreements involving harassment or discrimination in the workplace.

 

It would appear that the NDAs numbered only three. This was over several decades in a vast company that employs about 20,000 people. In his defense, Bloomberg pointed out that 40 percent of his commissioners were women as was his deputy mayor -- to little avail.

Most of the political punditry declared Warren winner of the debate. "Warren dominated the night," a reporter for Politico opined. "Progressive activists said this was the Warren they knew and loved."

A political writer for Vox enthused, "Warren dominated the stage, delivering striking answers in one of the best performances I've seen from a presidential candidate -- not just in this cycle, but ever." He went on: "She got Bloomberg to say that 'none of (the women) accuse me of doing anything other than maybe they didn't like a joke I told' -- which is practically admitting on national television that he created a hostile workplace for women."

Oh, what frail creatures these New York women are.

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