It’s the Elizabeth Warren moment. She has risen in the polls and is now tied with Joe Biden atop the Real Clear Politics average. And that rise will likely continue, since she is bound to benefit from Bernie Sanders’ health crisis.

She and Sanders have spent the year so far splitting the progressive Democratic vote, and his heart attack last week, as well as the three days of prevaricating his campaign did about it, will likely hasten his polling decline.

Sanders did not appear in the CNN town hall dedicated to gay issues due to his ongoing recovery, which surely raises questions about whether he will actually be on the stage Tuesday when the Democratic field meets for its October debate.

Warren was there, though, and her performance revealed both why she delights her base in the elite media — and why Donald Trump is so eager to run against her he was willing to play an incredibly high-risk game by trying any means necessary to knock Joe Biden’s candidacy off its course.

You could watch in real time as the media simply melted into a puddle of excited goo when Warren delivered a well-rehearsed zinger Thursday night — a line so perfectly delivered it just seems impossible it came to her spontaneously.

She was asked what she would do if a supporter of hers said marriage was between one man and one woman — which is kind of an odd question for a forum in which candidates were supposed to detail just what new goodies they might provide to a rock-solid Democratic constituency.

Her answer: “Well, I’m going to assume it’s a guy who said that, and I’m going to say, ‘Then just marry one woman. I’m cool with that.’” So far, so good — a clever and polite way of handling a question with a very deep and complex root.

But she wasn’t done. With the timing of a good stand-up, she paused for laughter and then added: “Assuming you can find one.” Meaning a woman.

In other words, a man who believes in traditional marriage is someone no woman would, or should, want to touch.

It went viral, of course, which was its purpose. Now let’s unpack it. Without question, no social question has moved more quickly in public opinion than gay marriage. In 2004, according to Gallup, it was opposed by three out of five people, and now it is supported by three out of five people. That’s a huge shift.

But it’s still the case that about a third of the country opposes gay marriage and therefore believes marriage is between a man and a woman. Even more notable, the barest majority of African Americans in 2019 say they support gay marriage.

Remember that Democrats need really high black turnout to win the election in 2020. Now, every candidate in the Democratic field supports gay marriage, so it’s not as though there is any debate on that score inside Warren’s party.

But did Warren really have to disrespect every person who believes in traditional marriage by caricaturing them as incels so that she would receive the worshipful applause of a crowd at a CNN town hall whose audience was somewhere around 11 people? Evidently she did, or thinks she did, or thinks there is a reward down the road for her in doing so.

Support for traditional marriage correlates closely with religious faith. Gallup polling says only 40% of those who attend religious services once a week support gay marriage. Doubtless many of the others might still cast a ballot for a Democrat because they are likely not single-issue voters. Warren can secure their votes despite her support for gay marriage.

Yet she threatens her own efforts to get their vote by mocking and demeaning them in a pretty surprising way. She might as well just call them … deplorable. Why not? She already called them ugly.

If you think this is something Donald Trump wouldn’t use against her in the general election to potent effect, you don’t know Trump — and you don’t know America.

jpodhoretz@gmail.com


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