Hillary Clinton eked out a narrow victory over Bernie Sanders last night in the Iowa caucuses, which has led to a lot of punditry. There’s one branch of that punditry that I think ought to be examined a bit more rigorously before it spreads. Here’s Ezra Klein, last night:
Something I believe now that I didn't believe a year ago: if Elizabeth Warren had run, she would've won the Democratic nomination— Ezra Klein (@ezraklein) February 2, 2016
This seems to rely on the assumption that Sen. Elizabeth Warren is a more mainstream or “electable” populist than Bernie Sanders, which she may well be. But is she actually a better politician? She’s certainly a much less experienced one: In her entire political career, Elizabeth Warren has won one election. Unless I’m miscounting, Bernie Sanders has won fourteen.
Had she decided to run, Elizabeth Warren might have been a serious contender for the presidency, and she might have dominated in Iowa last night. But she’s also still a political novice—and there’s evidence to suggest that Sanders is a better-than-average politician.