Monday, July 17, 2017


I've been saying for a while that Nancy Pelosi shouldn't step down as House Democratic leader simply because she's regularly used in attack ads against other Democrats -- if Pelosi isn't the GOP's Antichrist, it's going to be someone else. A story in The Washington Times today tells us that the next Antichrist is -- surprise! -- another woman, Elizabeth Warren:
Sen. Elizabeth Warren isn’t as toxic as House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi — yet — but Republican operatives are laboring to change that, saying they will use the run-up to the elections next year to try to make the rising liberal star too poisonous for Democrats to handle.

The Republican National Committee, the National Republican Senatorial Committee and Republican-aligned groups such as American Rising are testing out the depth of the anti-Warren sentiment, hoping to inject her into Senate races the way Republican operatives have made Mrs. Pelosi a drag for House Democrats.

At the very least, they hope to make vulnerable Democrats have to declare whether they side with Ms. Warren on some of her most liberal causes.

“Just like Nancy Pelosi, Elizabeth Warren is deeply unpopular with voters and her policies are out of step with a vast majority of Americans, and we think that will be an effective way to brand vulnerable Democrats,” said RNC spokesman Rick Gorka.
Is Warren "deeply unpopular with voters"? That's news to me. Polling Report lists two national polls on Warren, both from 2014; one shows her with a 21%-17% favorable-unfavorable rating and one has her at 27%-17%. In those polls, the top response to Warren is "Never heard of." Her national profile just isn't that high.

The story cites no data, and confident assertions of Warren's unpopularity give way to GOP claims that, well, she's not unpopular yet, but she'll get there, just you wait:
Republicans said Ms. Warren appears to turn off voters more than Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer of New York, who does not register much in polls, and Sen. Bernard Sanders, the Vermont independent whose populist message resonates in Trump-friendly states.

Whit Ayres, a Republican Party pollster, said Ms. Warren is less known than Mrs. Pelosi, but a concentrated messaging campaign could change that.

“Elizabeth Warren has that potential, but she doesn’t have it yet,” Mr. Ayres said. “It is not unusual for her name ID to be a good 15 to 20 points lower than Pelosi’s. It is not that she is unknown, but she is not as universally known as the former speaker.”
Ads have been run attempting to link Trump-state Democratic senators with Warren on health care. But does saying OOGA BOOGA SINGLE-PAYER work these days?

On the other hand, once Fox and Sinclair and talk radio and Drudge and Breitbart and Gateway Pundit are all on board with the notion that Warren is an unnatural, grotesque wicked witch in favor of high taxes and socialism, then just asserting her awfulness might be enough for Republican base voters -- and negative impressions of her might be absorbed by more middle-of-the-road heartland voters.

It won't be long before Republicans other than Donald Trump play the "Pocahontas" card. She's asserted that she had a Native American ancestor, and has been mocked for that, first by Scott Brown in the 2012 Senate race, then later by Trump. A Republican who was born in India, Shiva Ayyadurai, has announced that he's running against her in 2018, saying, "I think only a real Indian can defeat a fake Indian." Ayyadurai sent Warren a DNA kit for her birthday. (What a class act the modern Republican Party is.) Ayyadurai has some serious baggage of his own -- he claims he invented email, and is undeterred by people who assert that email existed a decade before he says he invented it. (Many of these people are scientists who themselves were using what they quite sensibly regard as early email.) Ayyadurai sues news organizations that dispute his version of the facts. If he's Warren's general election opponent, he may not be terribly credible in a tech-friendly, deeply Democratic state. But after 2016, we should never underestimate the appeal of obnoxiousness to GOP voters.

In any case, Warren has a target on her back. For the GOP, some Democrat is always the embodiment of pure evil. This is what Republicans do instead of developing policies and learning how to govern.

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