Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren (shown), a Democratic candidate who many considered dead in the water after multiple missteps in the past year, is picking up speed as the Iowa Caucuses approach. That first nominating contest for Democrats is now less than six months away, and Warren’s ground game in the state is outpacing many of her rivals at this point.
The latest Real Clear Politics average in Iowa shows Warren still trailing frontrunner Joe Biden but now in second place in the state, ahead of such noteworthy challengers as Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.). Biden leads with 25.3 percent while Warren is surging at 16.3 percent. Harris (14.3 percent) and Sanders (12.3 percent) are the only other candidates above 10 percent at this juncture in the race.
Last October, Warren, who famously claimed Native-American ancestry in order to gain employment opportunities, released the results of a DNA test, which revealed she might be 1/1,024th Native-American. That gaffe was followed up by a cringeworthy New Year’s Eve video in which she announces her intention to run for president, while drinking a beer.
Warren, along with the dozens of other Democrat hopefuls, was in Iowa this week for the Iowa State Fair, considered a must-attend event for presidential hopefuls. The Iowa State Fair is, historically, the point at which the field begins to narrow as the race to the February 3 caucuses in the state takes shape.
Warren has a large and engaged ground operation in Iowa, which is fueling her surge in the polls. Veteran Democrat strategist David Axelrod is among those who have noticed. “Elizabeth has a super organization and her campaign is hot,” Axelrod said before cautioning, “But we’ve seen hot candidates before. August is no guarantee of what happens in February.”
Warren is trailing only Biden in the state and, according to many observers, Biden is already showing signs of wearing down. The former vice-president, who has always been a gaffe machine, slipped up again on August 10, when he claimed he was still the vice-president when the mass shooting at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, occurred in February of 2018.
“Those kids in Parkland came up to me when I was vice president,” Biden told Iowa reporters.
Additionally, on August 9, Biden told a Turning Point USA staffer that “there are at least three,” genders. Biden then grabbed the young female staffer and threatened, “Don’t play games with me kid.”
And the day before that, Biden told the Asian and Latino Coalition in Des Moines that, “poor kids are just as bright and just as talented as white kids.”
That was all in just three consecutive days in Iowa. So, Biden seems almost destined to self-destruct at some point, especially as the race becomes more serious and the attacks against him become more pointed.
“[Biden’s] always been prone to gaffes. That was true when he was in his 40s, 50s and 60s,” Axelrod said. “The difference is because people are looking for signs of potential deterioration, gaffes that should be written off as Joe being Joe can become much more damaging to him.”
Especially with several potential attack dogs biting at his heels. Not only Harris, Sanders and Warren, but any of the remaining Democrats looking to make a name for themselves are lying in wait for opportunities to bring Biden down. And Biden has the longest record to defend of any of the candidates, more fodder for his opponents to dig up.
The question remains, should Biden end up faltering, which of the remaining candidates has the potential to replace him at the top of the race? In Iowa, at least, Warren is going all-in, hoping that some early momentum will lead to big opportunities in other states.
Should that happen, a Trump vs. Pocahontas general election could be very entertaining.
Photo of Sen. Elizabeth Warren: AP Images