Warren About to Learn that Crowd Size Means Nothing; Credibility Means Everything

Aug. 28, 2019
Bob Adelmann

Elizabeth Warren has a credibility problem that simply won't go away. The label Donald Trump tattooed on her public persona back in 2016 has stuck. If she wins the Democrat Party's nomination for president, he can be counted upon to remind voters of her inability to escape the moniker he so skillfully applied: "Pocahontas."

As Bill Scher, the liberal counterpart to a conservative foil on his Bloggingheads TV show, wrote in Politico: "If she becomes the Democratic nominee for president, Warren would still face a 'Pocahontas' problem, one that threatens the core of her candidacy."

That core would be credibility, most of which she lost when reports surfaced that she used her family history to back her claim of a Native background in order to burnish her professional credentials for her position at Harvard. She buried the rest of it when she took up Trump's million-dollar challenge to take a DNA test to prove it, and it came back false.

Republicans are already gearing up for that potential encounter with the president. Shortly before Warren's appearance at a Native American presidential forum in Sioux City, Iowa, last week, the Republican National Committee (RNC) released an opposition research memo titled, "1/1024th Native American, 100% Liar." It quoted RNC's deputy chief Mike Reed, who said that Warren "lied about being [Native American] to gain minority status at a time when Ivy League law schools were desperate to add diversity to their ranks."

No matter how much time has elapsed since her declaration and her failed DNA test, voters will remember, wrote Scher. "She remains vulnerable," he said, "to charges of dishonest opportunism."

Other Republican Party campaign strategists are readying their campaigns to remind independent voters of her history of pandering and self-serving. Chuck Warren (no relation) of the political consulting firm September Group, said "Everything she is presenting is 'buy me a vote'. She is willing to say, or put on any hat, to get ahead." Dan Hazelwood, owner of another political consulting firm, Targeted Creative Communications, warned Warren: "If you give Trump a tool to equalize the playing field, which is what this does, he will do [to you] exactly what he did to Hillary Clinton."

That's the challenge Warren faces despite a recent surge in crowd size. Following Sunday's speech in Seattle to a crowd estimated by her campaign staff to be 15,000, Democrat presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren exuded: "I just think it's a sign that people are ready for change in Washington." Chris Cillizza, CNN's Editor-at-large, called that number "pretty impressive," that it was an "indicator of organic energy" by her followers, and "suggests [that] Warren is on the rise."

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Cillizza also warned that, "the 15,000 number came from Warren's campaign so take it with a grain of salt."

A large grain of salt. A week earlier she drew an estimated 12,000 to a meeting on the campus of Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota – an estimate that turned out to overstate the real numbers by a factor of two. Breitbart News learned that Warren's campaign staff made that estimate by counting the number of people who texted to register for the event. Further, Breitbart reporters learned that the initial locale – the Leonard Center on campus – held 4,000 people, which proved to be too small for the expected crowd. So they moved the event outside to Shaw Field, which has a capacity of 3,000 plus "spillover" of approximately another 3,000. They thus concluded that "a generous estimate" of Warren's crowd "would be 6,000."

But does crowd size really mean anything this early in the campaign? After all, the first nominating contest won't take place for another five months.

Crowd size this early can be very misleading. Ask Howard Dean. Big crowds early in his 2004 presidential campaign meant nothing later on. Or ask Mitt Romney, who, during his run for the presidency in 2012, was convinced he would beat incumbent Barack Obama based on the size of the crowds he was drawing. Or ask Bernie Sanders, who drew massive crowds across California in 2016 but lost the state to Hillary Clinton.

Or ask Kamala Harris, who began her campaign by drawing massive crowds while her poll numbers have actually declined to single digits since the middle of July. And this during the same time when Joe Biden's numbers were cascading from the high 30s to the low 20s.

Warren's political positions – "I have a plan for that" – haven't changed: more gun control through red flag laws, open borders, support for the Green New Deal, universal health insurance and child care, her "ultra-millionaires' wealth tax" plan, and her steadfast support of abortion and LGBTQ "rights."

Little of this matters to the critical independent voter, a large percentage of whom Warren needs to have any chance of overcoming the enormous advantage the president currently enjoys. What matters is character – credibility, honesty, wholesomeness, forthrightness. What Trump has done with his tattoo is remove from Warren's quiver of arrows any opportunity for her to challenge the president over his credibility, suffering mightily as she does with credibility challenges of her own.

With Joe Biden's polling numbers in freefall, Warren is the best of a sorry lot.



Washington Post: Trump's 'Pocahontas' attack leaves fellow Republicans squirming (again)

CNN: What Elizabeth Warren's massive crowds tell us

Seattle Times: Elizabeth Warren tells crowd of 15,000 in Seattle, 'Nobody gets to stay on the sidelines'

Huffington Post: Elizabeth Warren's First Campaign Event In Minnesota Draws Massive Crowd

Business Insider: The 2020 Democratic field is slowly narrowing. Elizabeth Warren supporters tell us why they think she can go the distance.

CNN: Monmouth poll: Bernie Sanders, Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren in three-way lead for Democratic bid

Yahoo.com: Elizabeth Warren Draws Record Crowd of 15,000 in Seattle

Light background on Elizabeth Warren

Deep background on Elizabeth Warren

Political positions of Elizabeth Warren

Politico: 'Pocahontas' Could Still Be Elizabeth Warren's Biggest Vulnerability

Background on Bill Scher of Bloggingheads TV

RealClearPolitics: All 2020 Democratic Presidential Nomination polling results from 6/10 through 8/25

Breitbart: Fact Check: Elizabeth Warren Crowd Was 6,000 at Most, not 12,000

The New York TimesOn Politics With Lisa Lerer: Warren's Growing Crowds

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