THOSE WHO are bemoaning the speed with which Elizabeth Warren’s arrival in the Democratic Senate primary prompted others to drop out are at least half right. Warren’s fundraising success and the endorsements from party bigwigs soured the atmosphere for other candidates; Alan Khazei, the latest once-promising candidate to drop out, said it became much harder for him to raise money.
Voters are the losers if good candidates fail to get past the starting gate because of a lack of money and endorsements. Party bosses shouldn’t be able to stamp out grass-roots fervor. But that’s not quite what’s happening here. Warren is clearing the field because she’s managed to excite both the party mandarins and the masses. Her earthy sound bites — “the ragged edge of the middle class’’ — and confident defense of corporate taxation have made her a folk hero to many in the Democratic base. Money and endorsements don’t, by themselves, carry the day (witness the 2006 Reilly for governor campaign), but money and endorsements combined with grass-roots appeal creates a juggernaut.