Has Elizabeth Warren made Mark Zuckerberg her whipping boy?
Last night in San Diego, Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren, making her left-populist spiel against a sort of vaguely defined "corruption," came out with a surprisingly strong dig aimed at Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. This local CBS report has it:
It was obviously in response to remarks Zuckerberg made in a leaked video of a company meeting a few days ago, where he indicated concern — and a will to fight off — Warren's vow to break up big tech.
What made Warren's remark leap out is the context of the rest of her remarks — careful, polished, determined not to appear to be an extremist, saying nothing otherwise controversial, focusing on her personal story at the start, and sugarcoating her extreme-left proposals in a language of caring for everyone's dignity. This report from the San Diego Union-Tribune is neutral and accurate, so far as it goes.
But since I was there, too, watching and waiting for any rude remarks on Trump, I also noted that not once during Warren's actual speech did she so much as mention President Trump's name, which to the hate-Trump San Diego crowd of 8,000 or so below the stage was probably a bummer. The one thing that got them excited, at least based on standing with them in line for three hours, was hating Trump. The hate-Trump buttons on sale were the hot sellers. But Warren didn't feed that at all. She mentioned, in a muffled tone, part of Trump's name once, briefly in response to a question, to huge cheers. She was definitely moving to the center for the general election at this point.
But she did go after Zuckerberg, by name, in a fiery way, and got cheers for that, too.
"Yes, Mark Zuckerberg, I'm lookin' at youuuuuu...," she said. You can see it for yourself at about the 1:36 mark of the CBS video, either above or here.
Zuckerberg commented the same day earlier by saying he didn't want to antagonize her.
This rather suggests that her strike-back that evening meant she might just be more in for fighting Zuckerberg than she is for fighting Trump.
Could it be that as the clear Democratic frontrunner now, she's decided she would do better with voters of all stripes by fighting Zuckerberg more than Trump as the Democratic nomination process continues to play out?
If so, that would testify to Trump's political strength. Much easier to go after a weaker — and slightly apologetic — enemy than a powerful leader like Trump. So Zuckerberg becomes more of a target.
I get the sense she's not only not going to back down on this, but come out swinging harder against Zuckerberg now. She seems to relish hitting him more than hitting Trump.
And that might just make Zuckerberg, who's seeing an existential threat, hit back even more. Keep an eye on this. The war of words between Warren and her whipping boy is quite likely bound to escalate.
Image credit: CBS 8 via YouTube, screen shot.