When the email from Ready For Warren went out at 4:19 AM Iowa time, it landed in my spam folder.
A metaphor for the whole effort?
Sort of. I had decided two months ago that, despite devoted and sincere efforts, Elizabeth Warren really DIDN'T want to run for president. Right after that I made my decision to be neutral until caucus night and focus on writing and on organizing the caucuses themselves. (I need volunteers. Talk to me.)
But I was also convinced that the Move On led effort would not give up until Warren and Hillary Clinton struck the hand in hand victory pose at a rally in New Hampshire. I had visions of the plane on the tarmac in Albany in late 1991,waiting to take Mario Cuomo to Concord New Hampshire on the filing deadline, in another draft effort that was for naught.
But WAS Ready For Warren a show about nothing?
I don't think so. It showed, without even a candidate, that there was and is a gap on Hillary Clinton's left flank,and paved the ground somewhat for the candidate who was willing to run, Bernie Sanders.
The latent Warren support has already shifted, in part, to Sanders, but some of it had drifted to indecision.
Before Saturday's Sanders rally in Iowa City, I was waiting near the entrance by the button vendors. Two girls who looked to be about eight asked the seller, "do you have any for Joni?"
That illustrates just how powerful the gender dynamic is right now. Especially among Iowa Democrats, who are just seething that, after ages of effort, after years of being lumped in with Mississippi, that it was the Republicans who broke Iowa's gender ceiling first - and not with a Maggie Tinsman moderate but with a staunch conservative.
Part of why Warren was a stronger left alternative than Sanders was because she took the gender dynamic out of the equation. And the age dynamic as well - to many 60-something women, it was important not only to see First Woman President, but to see First Woman President come from their generation. With Warren, the only issue was the issues.
The field is set: Clinton, Sanders, O'Malley, Chaffee (announcing tomorrow) and Jim Webb. That's all there will be. Now, people hoping for a more progressive candidate than Clinton, but wanting it to be a woman, have to make a tradeoff.