Right now, a vote for Warren in Washington is a vote for a contested convention, which could blow up the Democratic party and lead to a second term for Trump. That's not all it is, of course! But that's the effect the vote may have. Washington's 89 delegates don't make a huge difference in the grand scheme of things, but every delegate counts when the race is this jumbled.
Personally, I hope Warren smashes expectations and comes out of Super Tuesday way ahead of the moderates in the delegate race, but that looks highly unlikely at this point.
After the first three contests, Warren has won 8 delegates, which puts her in fourth place. Despite her impressive ground game in Iowa, she came in third. Her fourth-place finishes in New Hampshire and Nevada didn't even crack 10% of the vote share.
Warren's campaign manager argued "momentum" from her debate performance in Nevada would have "more impact on the structure of the race than the Nevada result," but that "momentum" didn't show up in the Nevada entrance polls. In fact, Sanders edged out Warren by a couple points among voters who had made up their mind the week before the caucus.
Though I thought she had another pretty good debate last night, a 538 analysis shows she probably lost support. And anyway, any momentum she gains from the debates will likely be slowed by a poor showing in South Carolina, where the Palmetto Poll has her running at 8%, well behind Joe Biden and fucking Tom Steyer.
It's possible that Warren's new super PAC and increased ad spending may save her campaign. So, even though 538 gives her less than a 1 in 100 chance of winning the nom, it's prudent to wait to see how well she does next week before casting the vote. But if she only meets expectations next week, progressives in Washington would be wise to cast their vote for Sanders and reduce the risk of a potentially disastrous brokered convention.
That said, pledged delegates aren't legally bound to their candidates. If Warren ends up losing steam and dropping out, her delegates could end up going to Sanders before the convention, making a Washington vote for Warren less risky for those of us worried about the consequences of splitting the progressive vote for the next few months. But if you care about putting a progressive in the White House, why even take that risk? (I'm sure you'll let me know in the comments!)
Some might say a vote for Warren is a vote for Sanders at a contested convention, since Warren delegates would be free to back Sanders after the first round of voting. While Warren voters overwhelmingly back Sanders as their second choice, the 771 superdelegates who would be in play in a second round of voting likely do not. Those superdelegates are basically the "Democratic establishment,"—sitting electeds, DNC members, and former party leaders—who don't seem particularly keen on Sanders at the moment. They may very well band together and hand the nomination to one of the candidates who didn't enter the convention with the most votes, but there's little reason to think Warren would be that candidate. She ranks third in the endorsement race so far, and if she continues splitting the vote with Sanders all the way to the convention, she probably won't have enough votes to make a good enough case as the "unity" candidate.
Anyhow, if you're undecided, all I'm saying is wait until after March 3 to make your decision. If Warren takes the lead on Super Tuesday, fire away for Warren! If Sanders maintains his commanding lead, support him instead.