This week has seen a flurry of stories on Elizabeth Warren as a possible presidential candidate in 2016. The context seems to typically be an analysis of what candidate could take down Hillary Clinton – the seemingly inevitable Democratic nominee for 2008 2016. Warren is seen as the candidate in touch with the base of the Democratic Party and its desire to return to more middle class friendly policies in opposition to the neoliberal policies implemented by Reagan Revolution fellow travelers like presidents Clinton and Obama.
It’s hard to look at the Democratic Party these days and not feel as if all the energy is behind Warren. Before she was even elected, her fund-raising e-mails would net the party more cash than any Democrat’s besides Obama or Hillary Clinton… The poll numbers also suggest the Democratic Party is becoming Elizabeth Warren’s party. Gallup finds that the percentage of Democrats with “very negative” views of the banking industry increased more than fivefold since 2007, while the percentage who have positive views fell from 51 to 31. Between 2001 and 2011, the percentage of Democrats who were dissatisfied with the “size and influence of major corporations” rose from 51 to a remarkable 79.
That is certainly bad news for Hillary Clinton who is thoroughly in the tank for Wall Street. But does that necessarily translate into an opening for Warren?
The answer seems to be yes. Warren is closely identified with the populist insurgency within the Democratic Party. And like 2008 Senator Obama she has not had to do too many sleazy deals in the Senate yet to poison her candidacy with an embarrassing voting record. So combine that broad party ideological alignment with Hillary Clinton’s baggage and Warren’s name recognition in New Hampshire due to running state-wide in Massachusetts and suddenly the odds don’t look so bad.
Obviously the ultimate question is whether or not Senator Warren would be interested. But if her goal is truly to advance the cause of the middle class even a short lived presidential campaign could do wonders for giving the issue more visibility among the political class and public at large. And the sheer terror her candidacy would cause on Wall Street would almost be enough to justify the effort – they might even behave themselves for awhile.
Is 2016 Elizabeth Warren’s year?