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Barf BagWelcome to Barf Bag, a daily politics roundup to help you sort through the chaotic Trumpian news cycle.

In 2016, Bernie Sanders reportedly encouraged Elizabeth Warren to run for president; when she declined, he decided to run against Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primary. The two have been friends since before Warren entered the Senate, and while they have recently begun taking steps to distinguish themselves from each other as the days tick closer to the Iowa caucuses—they’re fucking trying to be president, after all!—it’s clear that the two are far more focused on their moderate challengers than on each other. Sanders and his surrogates have recently been going hard on Joe Biden’s support for the war in Iraq; Warren’s stump speech is littered with obvious references to Pete Buttigieg.

But a few recent news articles are attempting to paint the picture that Sanders and Warren are beefing—on Sunday, Politico published an article that framed a fairly mild Sanders campaign script for volunteers that references the other leading candidates as a hit on Warren, and on Monday, CNN came out with a story that claims that when Warren met Sanders in December of 2018 as both were contemplating a run for president, Sanders reportedly told Warren that, in the words of CNN, “he did not believe a woman could win.” This account, which Sanders vehemently denied, is based on four unnamed sources, none of whom were in the meeting (two of them apparently spoke with Warren after the meeting took place). Warren and her campaign, for their part, have yet to confirm or deny that Sanders made this statement.

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Do I know whether Sanders made this statement? Nope. Do I know that Joe Biden has not-so-subtly told voters that he’s more electable because he’s a man that won’t face sexist attacks? Yep! Do I know whether this account of their December 2018 meeting came directly from the Warren campaign? No. Does it seem likely that Warren would continue to publicly and warmly support Sanders if he said something like this? Maybe! Women smile through gritted teeth all the time! Do I think this has become a media-driven distraction meant to pit extremely online Sanders and Warren supporters against one another, even as they want largely the same things, and only serves to fracture the coalition necessary to nominate a progressive candidate? Yuuuuuuuuuuup.

Let’s keep our eyes on the prize, kiddos. [CNN]


The New York Times, meanwhile, is rolling out its endorsement for the Democratic primary like it’s the fucking Oscars. And like the Oscars, which continues to be hotly debated and discussed despite the Academy making shitty choices year after year, the Times endorsement process—which involves a series of Q&As with the candidates that will culminate with an announcement on Sunday—is proving to be not only extremely tedious, but a massive self-own.

Case in point, its lengthy Q&A with Bernie Sanders, which the Times published on Monday. Do we really need to know the name of one person who’s broken Sanders’s heart, or an app he has on his phone that would surprise people, which were actual questions asked of him? The only truly illuminating information to be gleaned from the Sanders Q&A is the New York Times’ own bias. Take the question asked by editorial board member Nick Fox, which is one of the strangest manifestations of bothsidesism I’ve ever seen in the wild: “Given what we’ve gone through over the last three years when Democrats hear about the president flying around the country holding rallies, they might cringe. And I’m wondering how you flying around the country in 2021 rallying the people would be different than what Donald Trump has been doing?”

Huh? So Bernie Sanders... holding a rally... like many candidates running for office do... is the same... as... Donald... Trump? A real headscratcher there.

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I did, admittedly, learn something important to me personally, which is that Sanders is anti-vaping. Here’s what he told the Times when asked if he believed that flavored e-cigarettes should be banned, and how he would tackle the “vaping-related health crisis:”

Yeah I do. I think that they already seem to be causing serious health problems. But I think, you know, the answer is yes, but I think that above and beyond that, you know, we have to look at things like the tobacco industry again, who are selling a product that kills people.

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Bernie, no!

[New York Times]


  • The high in Washington, D.C. was 70 degrees on Sunday, the day that the White House Twitter account shared this photo.
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  • The White House is increasingly worried that some Republican senators, namely Lisa Murkowski, Susan Collins, Mitt Romney, and Cory Gardner, will join up with Democrats and vote to call witnesses for Donald Trump’s upcoming impeachment trial. [CBS News]
  • Michael Bloomberg, who has already spent $200 million on ads during his short-lived presidential run, said he’d be willing to spend money to support Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren if either of them is the eventual nominee. “I really don’t agree with them, but I’d still support them, yes, because compared to Donald Trump that’s easy,” he said. Maybe just do that instead of running for president? [New York Times]
  • Here’s a nice reminder of Joe Biden’s longstanding passion for cutting Social Security. [The Intercept]
  • File this one under “no shit.”

Senior reporter, Jezebel

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