Never make yourself into a meme

So as the race for the Democratic nomination in 2020 starts to heat up, I have a very simple question: What on Earth is Elizabeth Warren doing?

She rose to prominence as a financial reform and consumer protection advocate. She was denied a position in the Obama administration and used that as a platform to run for U.S. Senate in 2012. She became one of the Democrats’ smarter and more serious voices on policy. Financial reform and consumer protection is where Warren is good. That is her bread and butter and a policy platform to run on.

Now it seems Warren is doing all she can to appear totally insincere and inauthentic. Drinking beer on Instagram was the latest thing that harmed her, making her look like an “old person” trying to be “cool.” It is always better to be yourself than to try to be something you are not. That just brings more mockery.

Before that, Warren used a DNA test to “prove” she is Native American… or 1/1024th Native American. That was a spectacular self-own. Warren was annoyed at being ridiculed over her claims of ancestry, but once you see those test results why would you ever release them? Did she actually think this was going to be politically helpful? Sure, the mainstream news media covered for her, but it is not 1985. The internet exists.

So here is the lesson for aspiring political candidates: Never make yourself into a meme. One of the most effective ways of derailing a candidate is mockery and ridicule. This is why this tool is used constantly by both sides, but it is especially devastating when someone makes himself or herself into a meme. Donald Trump is the exception to that rule, but for someone like Warren (who has always made an effort to be taken seriously on policy) becoming a meme is very harmful.

Warren should have ran against Hillary Clinton in the 2016 primary. She likely would have won the nomination, and would have been a stronger general election candidate against Donald Trump. Unlike Mrs. Clinton, Warren did not have 25 years of political baggage dragging her down, and actually excited people in the Democratic Party base. There was no excitement for Mrs. Clinton as a person. Warren’s moment is gone, and it is highly unlikely she would make it out of a Democratic primary next year.

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