Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Elizabeth Warren Has a Long Mountain to Climb

Eight years ago, Hillary Clinton looked like a lock for the Democratic Presidential nomination. After eight years of Bush, it also looked likely she might have a relatively smooth route to the White House, though any Clinton would be wary of taking anything for granted. But then an upstart Senator from Illinois came along and stole her thunder and chance at history; while making some of his own along the way.

So almost a decade later Hillary finds herself back in the same position more or less, with a strong hold on the nomination and a strong chance of beating out anyone the GOP can muster – though Jeb Bush might give her pause. But many progressives remember Clinton's support for the Iraq War, her positions to the right of her husband (who himself disappointed us on a host of issues from media consolidation and banking deregulation to welfare reform and the criminalization of drug use (aka being a black or brown youth)) and can’t help but notice that she would be one of the eldest Presidents entering office in history. And so enter Elizabeth Warren, a Senator who is one of the few truly progressive voice left in a body that was established to check the will of the people whenever they pushed the elites too hard for rights or equality.

Warren speaks the language of progressives but in a manner that generally quashes the elitism and firebrand populism of the past and includes a measured and intellectual quality that far too many progressives lack (at least since the passing of Wellstone). And so some progressives want her to challenge Clinton for the nomination, at minimum pushing her to the left as Nader did with Gore in 2000. But does she have a chance to win the nomination against such a popular brand? Will her intelligence and liberalism get in the way of a message that far more people in the country agree with than the mainstream media leads many to believe? Early polls seem to indicate the answer is no (TNR), though I think she would certainly have a chance to beat Clinton if she went after her aggressively (and indirectly). We shall have to wait and see …

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