Liberal journalist realizes what was wrong with Elizabeth Warren

Wonkish scribbler Matthew Yglesias of Vox.com has, by dint of introspection or pure satori, come to a realization: not everyone in the U.S. of A. is a well-to-do master's degree–holder.  And because every American didn't spend his 20s in grad school reading Howard Zinn and deconstructing the Federalist Papers, between binge-watching "The West Wing," Elizabeth Warren lost the presidential race.

Yes, Yglesias is that unembarrassingly blunt: if voters were as intelligent as he and his friends, the bookish Massachusetts senator would be jogging like a rheumatic gazelle down the royal road to sweeping the Milwaukee convention. 

Instead, the former Harvard Law professor placed at a pitiful third in her home state's primary and decamped shortly after from the race.  She now returns to the cold confines of the Hart Senate Office Building and warm embrace of the D.C. class, a martyr for the beloved cause of electing the first female president.

Journalists, whom Yglesias refers to as the more enlightened members of the American species, wailed dirges in honor of her campaign predeceasing their expectant hopes. An amuse-bouche of headlines to give you a taste of the despair: "America Punished Elizabeth Warren for Her Competence"; "It Will Be Hard to Get Over What Happened to Elizabeth Warren"; "Like So Many Women, Elizabeth Warren Turned Invisible."

The last is an amusing form of overwrought-ness, in light of the media overexposure Warren's campaign received over its 390-day lifespan.  Then there's the crème de la crème of high dudgeon: "I Am Burning With Fury and Grief Over Elizabeth Warren. And I Am Not Alone."

Such objurgation, delivered undressed in full emotion, used to be the kind of inner anguish too embarrassing to publicly share, especially on the pages of the world's biggest newspaper.  Not so now — emoting is the vulgate of our day, and the less one demonstrates forbearance, the more "authentic" he appears, and the better he is received.

It's also why Yglesias feels the need to unburden himself of his profession's parti pris.  That Warren was the newsie's favorite wasn't a secret.  Other than her slightly more socialist confrère, Senator Bernie Sanders, candidate Warren was given an in-kind payment of glowing admiration from verified Twitter users — a de facto endorsement from the punditocracy.

With Warren out, her pumped up ego in convalescence and her prop-dog Bailey licking her wounds, Yglesias is comfortable admitting what every observer already guessed: Senator Liz was the go-to pick of white college graduates cloistered in Washington, D.C. and New York City.

"A lot of people I know are voting for Elizabeth Warren on Super Tuesday," Yglesias reveals to his empathetic readership."  But Warren's "supporters feel somewhat baffled: How did she evaporate from the top tier of contention, especially since so many of the people they know also like her?"

Yglesias's inquiry brings to mind the fabricated Pauline Kael quote following Nixon's '72 landslide: "I can't believe Nixon won.  I don't know anyone who voted for him."  What Kael might have said was more along the lines of "I live in a rather special world.  I only know one person who voted for Nixon."

Special world, indeed.  That special world was, and continues to be, filled by credentialed elites who measure life in university-certified certificates.  Or, as Yglesias explains, "[i]n my friend group, it's not unusual for someone to be a lawyer or a doctor or to have a master's degree in something or other."

Citing data from The Economist, Yglesias shows that Warren's support came mostly from those with post-graduate degrees and college-educated whites.  But America isn't a seminar on ekphrastic interpretations of 18th-century veduta landscapes.  It is, as Yglesias acknowledges, mostly a "working-class country" with "more high school dropouts than people with master's degrees."

One of Warren's biggest sells on the campaign trail was her student loan debt cancelation plan.  This proposed abrogation of collegiate profligacy endeared her to urbanites paying back a mortgage's worth of debt, but it meant little to the rest of the country.  Only 15% of American adults have student loan debt, including just a third of those between ages 18 and 29.  The median amount owed by bachelor's degree–holders is $25,000 — the price of a new mid-sized car.  It's manageable, in other words.

"If you feel like Warren is very impressive and lots of people you know feel the same way, you're not imagining it — lots of people just like you all across the country feel the same way," Yglesias writes, soothing his readers' dashed hopes.  But being impressive to a highly educated minority doesn't win nationwide elections.  Warren represents the most educated state in the union.  She is the model preceptor incarnate: donnish, bespectacled, always draped in a cardigan, speaking in the excited dulcet tones of Charlie Brown's teacher.

She was the perfect candidate for those who ritually watched John Stewart freshman year in their Ivy League dorms.  Now she's just another also-ran.  Like Yglesias and his fellow credentialed elite, Warren learned a lesson not taught in higher education: she wasn't that special all along.

Image: Gage Skidmore via Flickr.

Wonkish scribbler Matthew Yglesias of Vox.com has, by dint of introspection or pure satori, come to a realization: not everyone in the U.S. of A. is a well-to-do master's degree–holder.  And because every American didn't spend his 20s in grad school reading Howard Zinn and deconstructing the Federalist Papers, between binge-watching "The West Wing," Elizabeth Warren lost the presidential race.

Yes, Yglesias is that unembarrassingly blunt: if voters were as intelligent as he and his friends, the bookish Massachusetts senator would be jogging like a rheumatic gazelle down the royal road to sweeping the Milwaukee convention. 

Instead, the former Harvard Law professor placed at a pitiful third in her home state's primary and decamped shortly after from the race.  She now returns to the cold confines of the Hart Senate Office Building and warm embrace of the D.C. class, a martyr for the beloved cause of electing the first female president.

Journalists, whom Yglesias refers to as the more enlightened members of the American species, wailed dirges in honor of her campaign predeceasing their expectant hopes. An amuse-bouche of headlines to give you a taste of the despair: "America Punished Elizabeth Warren for Her Competence"; "It Will Be Hard to Get Over What Happened to Elizabeth Warren"; "Like So Many Women, Elizabeth Warren Turned Invisible."

The last is an amusing form of overwrought-ness, in light of the media overexposure Warren's campaign received over its 390-day lifespan.  Then there's the crème de la crème of high dudgeon: "I Am Burning With Fury and Grief Over Elizabeth Warren. And I Am Not Alone."

Such objurgation, delivered undressed in full emotion, used to be the kind of inner anguish too embarrassing to publicly share, especially on the pages of the world's biggest newspaper.  Not so now — emoting is the vulgate of our day, and the less one demonstrates forbearance, the more "authentic" he appears, and the better he is received.

It's also why Yglesias feels the need to unburden himself of his profession's parti pris.  That Warren was the newsie's favorite wasn't a secret.  Other than her slightly more socialist confrère, Senator Bernie Sanders, candidate Warren was given an in-kind payment of glowing admiration from verified Twitter users — a de facto endorsement from the punditocracy.

With Warren out, her pumped up ego in convalescence and her prop-dog Bailey licking her wounds, Yglesias is comfortable admitting what every observer already guessed: Senator Liz was the go-to pick of white college graduates cloistered in Washington, D.C. and New York City.

"A lot of people I know are voting for Elizabeth Warren on Super Tuesday," Yglesias reveals to his empathetic readership."  But Warren's "supporters feel somewhat baffled: How did she evaporate from the top tier of contention, especially since so many of the people they know also like her?"

Yglesias's inquiry brings to mind the fabricated Pauline Kael quote following Nixon's '72 landslide: "I can't believe Nixon won.  I don't know anyone who voted for him."  What Kael might have said was more along the lines of "I live in a rather special world.  I only know one person who voted for Nixon."

Special world, indeed.  That special world was, and continues to be, filled by credentialed elites who measure life in university-certified certificates.  Or, as Yglesias explains, "[i]n my friend group, it's not unusual for someone to be a lawyer or a doctor or to have a master's degree in something or other."

Citing data from The Economist, Yglesias shows that Warren's support came mostly from those with post-graduate degrees and college-educated whites.  But America isn't a seminar on ekphrastic interpretations of 18th-century veduta landscapes.  It is, as Yglesias acknowledges, mostly a "working-class country" with "more high school dropouts than people with master's degrees."

One of Warren's biggest sells on the campaign trail was her student loan debt cancelation plan.  This proposed abrogation of collegiate profligacy endeared her to urbanites paying back a mortgage's worth of debt, but it meant little to the rest of the country.  Only 15% of American adults have student loan debt, including just a third of those between ages 18 and 29.  The median amount owed by bachelor's degree–holders is $25,000 — the price of a new mid-sized car.  It's manageable, in other words.

"If you feel like Warren is very impressive and lots of people you know feel the same way, you're not imagining it — lots of people just like you all across the country feel the same way," Yglesias writes, soothing his readers' dashed hopes.  But being impressive to a highly educated minority doesn't win nationwide elections.  Warren represents the most educated state in the union.  She is the model preceptor incarnate: donnish, bespectacled, always draped in a cardigan, speaking in the excited dulcet tones of Charlie Brown's teacher.

She was the perfect candidate for those who ritually watched John Stewart freshman year in their Ivy League dorms.  Now she's just another also-ran.  Like Yglesias and his fellow credentialed elite, Warren learned a lesson not taught in higher education: she wasn't that special all along.

Image: Gage Skidmore via Flickr.