For most of the Democratic primary, the two most progressive candidates, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, have had a sort of unspoken truce. That truce ended when Warren chose to smear Sanders as sexist. Democratic voters are now left with a he-said-she-said conundrum, seeking evidence in an evidenceless issue. Voters are left to weigh the records of the candidates against one another, and, when one does so, it becomes clear that this controversy is a stunt from Warren’s failing campaign in an effort to slander Sanders.
On Monday, Jan. 13, members of the Warren campaign leaked information about a conversation that Warren and Sanders had in 2018, accusing Sanders of telling Warren that “a woman can’t win in 2020.” Warren has since personally confirmed this version of events while Sanders has emphatically denied it. What makes Warren’s version of events suspect is the fact that Sanders has been documented as an advocate for women for over 40 years, while Warren has developed a pattern of lying about important issues.
Sanders has been a known advocate for equality and equity for all people throughout his decades-long political career. He is well known for his consistency on issues and, most importantly, his honesty. In 1987, Bernie spoke to a classroom of third graders and said there aren’t enough women in politics and encouraged the little girls to consider politics as their career. He pointed out that times are changing, but they aren’t changing fast enough. In 1988, Bernie appeared on television saying that, in his opinion, a woman could be elected president. Warren’s version of events is further weakened by the fact that Bernie encouraged Warren to run in 2016, only stepping up himself when she decided not to. Bernie clearly believes a woman can win a presidential election.
Elizabeth Warren has developed a pattern of lying for personal gain both during and before her political career. More than one of Warren’s lies surround her infamous claim of Native American heritage. In 1986, she listed herself as Native American on her Texas bar card, and was hired by Harvard as a professor in 1995 and is still touted as their first woman of color on the faculty. These claims are, of course, false. Elizabeth Warren is a white woman. A genetics test done at Stanford showed that if Warren had any Native heritage at all, it was 6-10 generations ago. Warren’s lies about her heritage go so deep that she claims her parents had to elope because of the racism against the “interracial nature” of their relationship. This is also false. The Warren marriage was celebrated openly in the town it occurred in, even being written about in the local newspaper.
Warren also worked for the Dow Chemical Company, representing them as legal counsel during a class action lawsuit suing Dow for their products’ links to breast cancer. Warren lied about her involvement, saying she set up a trust fund for the victims, but she actually defended Dow, working to limit their liability in compensating the claimants. Warren has also been very critical of politicians working with lobbyists, yet hired one to her campaign in September. In light of these integrity issues, Warren’s credibility is suspect at best.
Unfortunately, despite the hearsay nature of this sexism controversy, CNN ran the story, treating Warren’s version of events as fact. This is suspect, as the original story was released on the morning of the debate, leading many to believe this was a coordinated effort between Warren’s campaign and the network. CNN went on that evening to chastise Sanders during the debate, again making the assumption that Sanders must be lying. CNN has treated this story as if it has reliable sources, and has received criticism even from outlets such as MSNBC for their terrible handling of the story. CNN should be ashamed of their shoddy journalism.
It is time for the Democratic voter to make their choice. While comparing the records of Sanders and Warren would typically lead one to take Sanders’ side, the choice must be made voter to voter. What is undebatable is that Warren has a history of lying and may have colluded with CNN, a major network holding democratic debates, to release this story. Sanders is an advocate to the end.