Elizabeth Warren’s third-place finish in Iowa was pretty bad for her, and if she comes in behind both Buttigieg and Sanders in New Hampshire, it’s extremely difficult to imagine her path to the nomination.
A comeback isn’t out of the question, of course: Hillary Clinton finished third in Iowa in 2008 and was able to win New Hampshire. But that type of performance is going to be very difficult for Warren, who doesn’t appear to have a good idea of how to fight either Buttigieg or Sanders.
Buttigieg proved that Warren had a glass jaw when he went after her on Medicare for All at the October debate. At the January 14 debate, Warren’s premeditated attack on Sanders involved suggesting he was kind of sexist. That attack — the last memorable moment in the Democratic primary before Iowa — has pretty clearly backfired, and she should have known it would. In Iowa, I couldn’t find any progressive voters — not even Warren supporters — who found her charge against Sanders to be devastating. Most seemed to think that, at worst, there had been an honest misunderstanding.
To compound Warren’s problems, Amy Klobuchar has survived to compete in New Hampshire, and those who really want a woman in the White House will be splitting their votes between the senators from Massachusetts and Minnesota. If Warren is going to turn things around, she probably needs to turn in a bravura performance at Friday’s debate in Manchester.