Does Elizabeth Warren really want to be president?

During the last presidential debate, Elizabeth Warren did an amazing job going after the wrong guy.

Warren’s campaign needed a serious infusion of cash, fast, or her she couldn’t stay in the race for the long haul, and she got it — by targeting Mike Bloomberg. So, there’s an argument to be made that Warren had no choice but to go after Bloomberg in that debate. But what about tonight’s debate? What does Warren need to achieve tonight?

While money is the lifeblood of any campaign, so it’s certain Warren will attempt to reprise her attack on Bloomberg in tonight’s South Carolina debate, cash isn’t the only thing Warren needs to become our nominee. She needs to defeat Bernie Sanders, really soon, but she’s not showing any sign of directing her righteous thunder in his direction. The question is why?

A few possibilities:

Warren doesn’t want to risk angering Bernie’s base.

But why? How does it help Warren become our nominee if she tries to appease Bernie’s base by letting him off the hook as he races to getting the most delegates? Now, Warren knows that Sanders is 78 years old, going on 79 in September, and just had a serious heart attack. It’s possible she’s wondering if Sanders might have to step down at some point between now and the convention, due to health reasons. If that happens, Sanders’ voters and delegates will be up for grabs, and Warren is arguably best positioned to get them — as the leftiest of the candidates, other than Sanders himself –provided she doesn’t tick them off between now and the convention.

But, that’s one heck of a gamble. If Sanders’ health holds out, Warren loses, at least according to the current math.

Warren wants to be Bernie’s VP.

That’s certainly a thought in the back of her mind, to become Sanders’ VP, or Treasury Secretary. But I’m not convinced Sanders would pick Warren as VP — he might go for a woman of color from somewhere more diverse than his backyard (Massachusetts), say Kamala Harris or Stacey Abrams. But, Sanders definitely could pick Warren for his cabinet.

But again, the question arises as to whether Warren actually wants to be president in 2021, or just a cabinet secretary. Warren is 70 years old. She could certainly run again in four years at age 74, considering Sanders is running at 78, and Biden at 77. And Sanders’ age and health — he’d be 83 at re-election time in 2024 — suggests the likely possibility he wouldn’t run for re-election. So his VP would be well-positioned, assuming Sanders’ presidency isn’t a Jimmy Carter redux. (We all love Jimmy Carter today, but his do-good presidency was considered an abject failure.)

Or there’s a simpler explanation:

Elizabeth Warren simply doesn’t like “punching left.”

There’s a rule among some elements of the left that you’re not supposed to criticize anyone further to your left. It’s a convenient means for the far left — Sanders and his socialist brethren like the Chapo podcast, for example — to avoid all criticism, since, after all, there’s no one (in America, at least) to their left. So they can criticize everyone else on the left with abandon, while avoiding all criticism directed back at them. It’s entirely possible that Warren simply isn’t as comfortable going after a socialist as she is a billionaire.

Again, it was tactically smart of Warren to go after Bloomberg in the last debate, for the cash infusion and knocking a potential rival down a few pegs in his first debate appearance. But at some point soon, Elizabeth Warren needs to decide if she really wants to be president next year. Because if she does, there is a very small window in which to beat Bernie Sanders, and it’s closing fast.


Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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