Elizabeth Warren: A Populist for the Professional Class


In Nevada, she again struggled among those who never attended college, earning about half as much support as Tom Steyer, the billionaire businessman who, according to entrance polling, was a nonfactor in the overall race before he dropped out Saturday. Her best demographic groups? Those with advanced degrees and regular users of Twitter.

In South Carolina, exit polls showed Ms. Warren garnering only 3 percent support among those who never attended college (the same level as Mr. Buttigieg).

From the start, Ms. Warren’s campaign has made efforts to connect with working-class and nonwhite voters. There was an early trip to the Mississippi Delta, a visit to Kermit, W.Va., to talk about the opioid crisis there, and, on the eve of Super Tuesday, a last stop in California in heavily Latino East Los Angeles.

Her own story — she waited tables at 13, dropped out of college and got married at 19, had a child at 22, was divorced at 30 — has been woven into her stump speech, too. But only a tiny fraction of the electorate will ever see a candidate in person.

“She does talk about her story on the trail, but think about who goes to rallies — well-educated activists, not noncollege voters,” said Meredith Kelly, who served as communications director for Senator Kirsten Gillibrand during her presidential campaign. “A bigger and earlier spend on television to talk about her working-class roots would likely have gone a long way.”

Ms. Warren’s most visible branding, instead, became around her many plans.

“She speaks my love language,” as Representative Ayanna S. Pressley, a top surrogate and national co-chair, liked to say when introducing Ms. Warren. “Policy.”

Some allies grumbled that such framing was an effective way to win over only postdoctoral students, not a broad-based political coalition.



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