Fed-up Warren supporters take on media blackout as her campaign prepares for Nevada

Fed-up Warren supporters take on media blackout as her campaign prepares for Nevada
Gage Skidmore

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren doesn't have time to grouse about the press coverage her campaign is getting from the pundit class. It's so last century. “This is what women face all the time," Warren told NBC's Ali Vitali when asked about the double standard for women. "It's always too much of this or too much of that. But you put your head down, do your job and you keep on going.”

Indeed, the only female candidate the media ever likes is the one they haven't yet had the opportunity to slice and dice with a thousand conflicting critiques. (Smile!/Don't! Attack!/Unite! Get aggressive!/Rude!) Thus, Sen. Amy Klobuchar's surprise No. 3 showing in New Hampshire was noteworthy to national journalists, while Warren's third-place finish in Iowa was a dud in their view. If Klobuchar starts breaking double digits in the national polls, her days on the cutting board will come. But to date, the Minnesota senator still has a pretty epic hill to climb in terms of building the type of national infrastructure that Warren's campaign has spent the last year ramping up.

As of late January, Warren had over a 1,000 staff members in 31 states in anticipation of a long drawn-out primary. For some perspective, only the staff size of former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg rivaled hers, while Vermont Sen. Sanders had 800-plus, former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg claimed 500-plus, and former Vice President Joe Biden sat at 400-plus.

Though Warren's fourth-place finish in New Hampshire dealt a blow to her campaign, she heads into Nevada still in 3rd place in terms of the delegate count, with 98% of delegates still "up for grabs," as Warren tweeted herself. She also continues to register either third or fourth in most national polls as Bloomberg's $300 million carpet bombing of the airwaves has started to encroach on her position. And in Nevada, which will weigh into the race on Saturday, Warren has a shot at a second-place finish, according to some polling in a caucus state that is notoriously difficult to poll.

Perhaps most important of all as the nation barrels toward Super Tuesday on March 3, Warren's loyal fan base refuses to count her out. After the Warren campaign sent out a video to supporters last week setting a goal of raising $7 million before Nevada votes, it raised $3.5 million in four days. And if the Warren camp meets its goal, it will represent the campaign's biggest single-month haul. That's not exactly the sign of a campaign that's on its last legs, especially when the whole idea was to position itself for Super Tuesday contests, where a third of the delegates will be on the line. But Warren’s resiliency, however muted, makes the pundit class' blind spot particularly baffling. More often than not over the last several weeks, every other campaign has been worthy of a narrative, except Warren's. Post-Iowa, Bernie, Buttigieg, and even Biden’s fourth-place finish behind Warren were all more enticing to national media. And here’s a post-New Hampshire sampling.

So on Presidents Day, Warren supporters took matters into their own hands and sent the hashtag #PresidentWarren straight to Twitter's No. 1 trending spot. That may sound gimmicky, but it reflects the deep well of grassroots support that is buoying Warren's campaign in leaner times. Indeed, Warren supporters have rallied around the senator as her campaign has weathered the blackout treatment from mainstream outlets. If journalists won’t deign to talk about Warren, her supporters still have the means to do so, and yes, they will.

Some outlets are starting to take note of the fact that perhaps Warren's campaign was built to outlast their gloomier expectations. The New York Times actually featured a Warren headline again Tuesday about her campaign's efforts to "regain the spotlight." And even more importantly, journalists in the Silver State are giving her campaign's early organizing there its due, as Warren has continued stumping across Nevada in spite of a nasty cold. As The Nevada Independent notes, Warren’s state polling is headed in the right direction, and a recent ad buy in the state includes a spot in which both President Barack Obama and former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid praise her work on creating the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Some of Warren’s Nevada supporters view Saturday as an opportunity for a reset precisely because the state is so different from New Hampshire.

“I feel like the West is different than the East Coast and that was just the very beginning of caucusing and everything,” Kerstin Kramer, a 49-year-old Reno resident, told the Independent Sunday at a local Warren rally. “So as they said, 98 percent of the delegates are still available and so I feel like she still has a great chance.”

Warren will also get another chance on the national stage to reclaim some of the spotlight during the Democratic debate Wednesday night. She seems to be looking forward to it.

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