With Republicans embroiled in a civil war over the likely nomination of Donald Trump or Ted Cruz — both scorched-earth outsiders loathed by much of the GOP establishment — Elizabeth Warren has a message for the party: You brought this on yourselves.
"Republicans painted themselves into this corner," the Democratic senator from Massachusetts wrote in a Friday op-ed for the Boston Globe. Trump and Cruz, Warren argued, are "logical outgrowths" of the GOP's years-long strategy of obstructionism.
The latest case study, Warren observed, is the Senate GOP's refusal to take up President Barack Obama's nomination of Judge Merrick Garland to fill the Supreme Court vacancy left by Antonin Scalia's death.
In nominating Garland, "[t]he president has done his job, as directed by our Constitution — but Republican senators refuse to do theirs," Warren wrote.
"Barack Obama won two consecutive elections and has been president for seven years. But since the first day of his presidency, Republican leaders have rejected his legitimacy and abused the rules of the Senate in an all-out effort to cripple the government under his leadership," she contended, citing "artificial debt ceiling crises, deliberate government shutdowns and intentional confirmation blockades."
So what does this have to do with two leading Republican candidates?
"The campaigns of Donald Trump and Ted Cruz are the next logical outgrowth of the same attitude — if you can't get what you want, just ignore the obligations of governing, then divert attention and responsibility by wallowing in a toxic stew of attacks on Muslims, women, Latinos, and each other," Warren wrote.
An attack dog: Though Warren resisted calls to enter the presidential fray herself, she has become increasingly engaged in the 2016 campaign, even as she has pointedly refused to endorse either Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders.
The populist scourge of big banks and their political benefactors is now directing much of her ire at Republicans — particularly Trump. She's lately taken to calling the billionaire businessman a "loser," appropriating one of his signature insults, and has linked Trump to "history's worst authoritarians."
The controversial Republican frontrunner "stands ready to tear apart an America that was built on values like decency, community, and concern for our neighbors," she wrote in a recent tweet.
As Democrats grow uneasy over the acrimonious primary between Clinton and Sanders — fearing that it may weaken the party against the GOP — Warren's decision to keep the heat on the opposition may prove just as crucial as an endorsement.