What Happens If Elizabeth Warren Loses Massachusetts?

Printed from: https://newbostonpost.com/2020/03/02/what-happens-if-elizabeth-warren-loses-massachusetts/

Elizabeth Warren has not won a state yet in the Democratic presidential primary, and she might not win even her own state tomorrow.

A recent WBUR poll had the Massachusetts senator trailing Bernie Sanders in the Bay State. The poll showed Sanders with 25 percent support and Warren with 18 percent.

So what happens if she loses Massachusetts on Super Tuesday?

In past elections, some candidates have immediately dropped out when they lost their home states. That was the case for Florida Senator Marco Rubio in the 2016 Republican primary and former Colorado Senator Gary Hart in the 1988 Democratic primary.

There have also been candidates who lost their home state but  stayed in the race all the way to the convention — like former U.S. Representative Ron Paul of Texas in the 2012 Republican primary and paleoconservative Pat Buchanan in the 1996 Republican primary.

New Boston Post spoke with a few political scientists to see what they think Warren will do if she loses the Bay State.

Veteran political scientist and New England College vice president of academic affairs Wayne Lesperance said a loss in Massachusetts would most likely sink Warren.

“Sen. Warren has the resources to continue her campaign through the convention,” Lesperance said in an email message. “But, having the resources is not the same as having the support from primary voters to continue. Massachusetts looms large for her as part of Super Tuesday. Losing or just barely winning her home state will be devastating to a campaign that would, at that point, have no clear path forward to the nomination.”

“What’s more, the pressure from progressive voters to coalesce around the Sanders campaign would be immense,” he added. “I believe should she lose Massachusetts Sen. Warren would have no choice but to suspend her campaign and lend her support to another candidate.”

Dave Hopkins, a Boston College political science professor, noted that Warren, who recently announced she will be accepting Super PAC money, would be wise to drop out if she loses Massachusetts, but that doesn’t mean she’ll do it.

“If Warren loses her home state, it makes it harder for her to justify staying in the race,” he told New Boston Post in an email message. “But those decisions are mostly made on the basis of money, so the real question will be whether a disappointing Super Tuesday performance (whether or not she wins Massachusetts) will mean that her fundraising will dry up.”

Massachusetts will not be the only Super Tuesday state that factors into Warren’s decision making, UMass Boston political scientist Erin O’Brien says.

The Bay State is one of 14 states voting on Tuesday. Whether Warren stays in the race after the results come in could depend on how well candidates not named Bernie Sanders perform, O’Brien said.

“I think it really depends on if a clear candidate emerges from Super Tuesday that’s gonna get enough delegates to seal the nomination,” she told New Boston Post in a telephone interview. “If it’s gonna be a brokered convention, it behooves her to stay in and get as many delegates as she can, even if it’s a small number, because it’s leverage. But if it looks like Sanders or another candidate is going to hit the requisite, I think she would drop out.”

According to FiveThirtyEight, Warren is projected to win zero states on Super Tuesday.