Krystal Ball: 'Warren is an insider posing as an outsider'

 Opinion by: Krystal Ball 

Alright we're getting ready for debate night 4 and it'll be a packed stage of course. Everyone from Tom SteyerThomas (Tom) Fahr SteyerKrystal Ball: Billionaires panicking over Sanders candidacy Steyer scores endorsement from key New Hampshire activist Excitement over Bloomberg's trial balloon should concern Democrats MORE and Amy KlobucharAmy Jean KlobucharHillicon Valley: Federal inquiry opened into Google health data deal | Facebook reports millions of post takedowns | Microsoft shakes up privacy debate | Disney plus tops 10M sign-ups in first day Federal inquiry opened into Google health data deal Google sparks new privacy fears over health care data MORE to Biden and Sanders will line up tonight. Shameless plug, we are doing live pre-game and post-game for the first time, so make sure you subscribe and sign up for our Youtube notifications so that you can watch us instead of the purveyors of conventional wisdom over there on the cable nets.

This will be a big night for Sanders to show he's back and better than ever. For Biden to try to explain why it's ok for his son to make 50k per month on the board of a Ukrainian gas company while Biden is handling the Ukraine portfolio for the Obama administration. And for Tom Steyer to explain why billionaires should exist.

But by far, the candidate with the most on the line tonight is Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenWarren goes local in race to build 2020 movement 2020 Democrats make play for veterans' votes 2020 Dems put focus on stemming veteran suicides MORE.

This is her first time on stage in a frontrunner role. The support she has picked up from a falling Buttigieg and Harris could just as easily flit away to whoever the next establishment friendly darling of the moment is. Now obviously, the media isn't going to challenge Warren in a meaningful way. If you want to know how in the tank they are for her. Just check this out. That viral moment she had at the LGBTQ townhall?

Well apparently CNN forgot to disclose that the questioner was a max out donor to Warren's Senate campaign. So I'm sure tonight, CNN will probably have their questions about the grueling pace of Warren's selfie lines all cued up and ready to go.

But, the other candidates may not be in the mood to play so nice. Kamala and Pete may want the voters back that Warren won from them. And if Amy Klobuchar's Bill MaherWilliam (Bill) MaherLindsey Graham basks in the impeachment spotlight If Trump was such a dictator, Donny Deutsch would be in prison Maher: The Clintons need to 'go away' for 2020 election MORE performance is any indication, she's swinging wildly at anything and everything to the left of Joe Lieberman. Honestly though, I don't expect any of those attacks from relative centrists to land. When Amy Klobuchar attacks Warren on Medicare for All, it only helps Warren. Kamala took her one real shot at Biden and it ultimately only strengthened him. Pete may as well have written a check to Bernie and Warren's campaigns when he recently derided grassroots donors as "pocket change."

No. There are only three candidates on the stage who have the credibility to hit Warren where it hurts, Bernie, Tulsi, and Yang. Because Warren's vulnerability isn't that she's too far left or too centrist, it's that she's too establishment. Too cozy with the system that everyone hates. That she plays too many of the Washington games that voters are utterly disgusted with.

Washington games are why when Warren's asked about Biden's soft-corruption she gets flustered. Do I say what I actually believe or do I preserve the chance to be Biden's VP or Treasury Secretary?

That's why she's a crusader against corporate greed except when it comes to the medical device manufacturers who bring home the bacon in her own home state. Instead, Warren repeatedly pushed loopholes for them and was a primary mover behind repealing the medical device tax that was passed with Obamacare. That's why Warren calls herself a progressive but endorsed HRC once it was clear she'd be the nominee. That's why Warren promised the party that all this grassroots donor stuff would not apply to them. Her campaign made sure to make clear that Warren will still do high dollar fundraisers for the DNC. It's why she opposed single payer when she was running for Senate, but says I'm with Bernie now that the base wants to hear that. She's a more progressive version of the same old Washington stuff. But it would probably be pretty hard for Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisWarren goes local in race to build 2020 movement 2020 Dems put focus on stemming veteran suicides The Memo: Democrats confront prospect of long primary MORE or another centrist to make that case.

So although it's not fair, the task falls to the only three true anti-establishment candidates on the stage. Bernie, Yang, and Tulsi. Now we all know Tulsi for sure has the stomach to do it. I don't know if I have ever met a woman as tough as Tulsi GabbardTulsi GabbardThe Hill's Morning Report - Diplomats kick off public evidence about Trump, Ukraine Outsider candidates outpoll insider candidates Krystal Ball: Tulsi Gabbard surges, is she the most electable? MORE. She's also previewed a potential attack on Warren's fitness to be commander in chief with us here at Rising.

Much as I think Andrew could make an effective case against Warren and has the credibility to do it, I doubt he'll go that route. First of all, the moderators will probably never call on him and second of all, it would be totally out of character for a guy who has run a relentlessly positive campaign.

So that leaves Bernie. He previewed a critique of Warren over the weekend that essentially revolved around her being an institutionalist, a capitalist to her bones who would not challenge the "ruling class" as he would. Will he say it on stage tonight? Will he make clear that bending to the Washington way is not pragmatism, it's opportunism?

One thing I have no use for whatsoever is this dumb argument that the candidates shouldn't critique each other because it will help Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpGOP senators balk at lengthy impeachment trial Warren goes local in race to build 2020 movement 2020 Democrats make play for veterans' votes MORE. Ladies and gentlemen, if you're not ready for Julian CastroJulian CastroCastro unveils sweeping disability plan Saagar Enjeti rips Buttigieg for praising Obama after misquote Buttigieg praises Obama after Los Angeles Times corrects misquote MORE's attack then drop out. Seriously. But I digress.

Going into tonight, Warren's got momentum. There's no doubt about it. But those dynamics can change in an instant. Just ask Kamala or Beto or Pete. All past media darlings. All past affluent liberal darlings. Although really I repeat myself. Warren is an insider posing as an outsider. The phoniness of it all readily apparent, if anyone with credibility actually bothers to point it out.