The question was asked during an election campaign in April 2019, just a few months after Elizabeth Warren’s announcement of her presidential candidacy: how would she respond to “the urge to flee to the safety of a white candidate?” “
After a question-and-answer session devoted to presenting his plans to tackle maternal mortality, criminal justice, housing, redlining and tribal sovereignty, this remark became “a big bucket of cold water,” writes Ms. Warren, the Senator from Massachusetts in a new brief on her failed campaign.
“We all knew the fear she was talking about,” she wrote. “Can we – should we – support a woman?”
Her book, “Persist,” discusses Ms. Warren’s efforts to tackle this issue. Obtained by The New York Times ahead of its release next week, it offers a glimpse of Ms Warren’s personal perspective on her loss – a defeat she attributes in large part to her inability to explain how she would pay for her health care plan. health, the established sequel to Senator Bernie Sanders, name recognition for Joseph R. Biden Jr. – and its own shortcomings.
“There is always another possibility, much more painful,” she writes. “Right now, against this president, in this field of candidates, I may not have been good enough to reassure voters, to bring skeptics, to embolden hopes.
Ms Warren is determined not to wallow in defeat, focusing most of the book on her political prescriptions, some of which have been adopted by the new Biden administration. She offers reflections on the racial justice protests that rocked the country after primary, devoting a significant portion of a race chapter to her decision to identify as Native American earlier in her career – a “bad mistake. “, she says. And she’s writing a moving tribute to her older brother, Don Reed Herring, attributing his death from the coronavirus last year to a government failure.
“This book is not a campaign memoir,” she wrote. “This is not a rehearsal for large public events. It’s a book about the fight that awaits us. “
Still, a candid discussion of her gender – and the obstacles it poses – runs through the 304-page book. While she never directly attributes the sexism to her loss, she provides ample evidence that it has remained a serious factor in the race. Stories of discrimination against women run throughout her book, as she recounts the difficulties of her own career trajectory and offers recommendations for changes such as paid time off and affordable child care.
Time and time again, Ms Warren suggests Democratic voters were reluctant to nominate a second woman, fearing another loss to Donald J. Trump. She “must have run against the shadow of Martha and Hillary,” she writes, referring to Martha Coakley, who lost two campaigns across the state of Massachusetts, and Hillary Clinton.
While Ms Warren expected to face some sexism, she details in the book, her plan was simply to meet those expectations with a strong team, a vibrant local organization and plenty of political plans.
“I would do more,” she said. “I would fill every space with ideas, energy and optimism. I hope that being a woman wouldn’t matter so much.
This idea came up against the reality of the competition fairly quickly. When calling donors at the start of her campaign, Ms Warren was surprised at the number of times potential supporters have mentioned Ms Clinton’s defeat.
“I wondered if anyone had said to Bernie Sanders when he asked for their support, ‘Gore lost, so how can you win?’ I was wondering if anyone had said to Joe Biden, ‘Kerry lost, so clearly America is just not ready for a man to be president,’ ”she said, thinking as she thought that she was lying in bed after her first day of fundraising for her presidential candidacy. “I tried to laugh, but the joke didn’t sound very funny to me.”
After being left out as Vice President and Secretary of the Treasury, Ms Warren has kept a low profile in recent months, preferring to exert her influence through private conversations with the White House. His main collaborators were asked for powerful positions in the administration and the Democratic National Committee.
She praises Mr Biden – “a good leader and a basically decent man” – and most of his former rivals throughout the book. A dusting off with Mr. Sanders – “fearless and determined” – on whether he told him in a private 2018 meeting that a woman couldn’t defeat Mr. Trump is largely ignored.
But a former adversary receives much more withering treatment. Ms Warren spends several pages detailing her determination to eliminate Michael R. Bloomberg, the former mayor of New York City, during a February 2020 debate, saying she believed his decision to spend nearly $ 1 billion in his personal fortune to skip the first primaries. “Undermined our democracy” by essentially handing over the nomination to the richest man.
Ms Warren describes herself as “stunned” when Mr Bloomberg ignored his first attacks: “Like so many women in so many contexts, I wondered if he even heard me,” she wrote.
His debate performance was widely credited with ending Mr Bloomberg’s offer. But Ms Warren couldn’t help but mention “an unexpected kick” in response to her attacks – a comment that she was too “mean and angry.”
“And there it was, the same damn remark made about every woman who ever stood up and threw a punch,” she wrote. “Repeat after me: fighting hard is ‘not beautiful’.”