Senator Elizabeth Warren entered the 2020 race with expansive plans to use the federal government to remake American society, pressing to strip power and wealth from a moneyed class that she saw as fundamentally corrupting the country’s economic and political order.
She exited on Thursday after her avalanche of progressive policy proposals, which briefly elevated her to front-runner status last fall, failed to attract a broader political coalition in a Democratic Party increasingly, if not singularly, focused on defeating President Trump.
Her departure means that a Democratic field that began as the most diverse in American history — and included six women — is now essentially down to two white men: former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and Senator Bernie Sanders.
Ms. Warren said that from the start, she had been told there were only two true lanes in the 2020 contest: a liberal one dominated by Mr. Sanders, 78, and a moderate one led by Mr. Biden, 77.
“I thought that wasn’t right,” Ms. Warren said in front of her house in Cambridge as she suspended her campaign, “But evidently I was wrong.”
Though her vision energized many liberals — the unlikely chant of “big, structural change” rang out at her rallies — it did not find a wide enough audience among the party’s working-class and diverse base. Now her potential endorsement is highly sought, and both Mr. Sanders and Mr. Biden have spoken with her in the days since Super Tuesday losses sealed her political fate, though she revealed precious little of her intentions on Thursday.
“I need some space around this,” she said.
Ms. Warren’s impact on the race was far greater than just the outcome for her own candidacy. Her policy plans drove the agenda. She effectively pushed former Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg of New York, a centrist billionaire, out of the race with a dominant debate performance last month.
And her ability to raise well over $100 million and fully fund a presidential campaign without holding high-dollar fund-raisers demonstrated that other candidates, beyond Mr. Sanders and his intensely loyal small-dollar donors, could do so in the future.
Warren had the best mix of policies, temperament, and experience in my judgment of the folks left in the race. It doesn't mean she would have won the primary or beaten Trump though.
I hate to say that beating Trump is the only thing that matters, but...beating Trump is the only thing that matters. That and flipping the Senate.
As to who she will endorse, she is wisely keeping those cards close to her vest for now. That may be end up being her biggest mark on this race.