For the past few days, the blogosphere on both sides of the aisles have been discussing the potential of an Elizabeth Warren presidential bid in 2016. It is safe to say that if you are a member of the progressive base, a Warren Presidency would be nothing short of astounding.
Now Warren’s rockstar appeal amongst the left is widely-documented and it recently culminated with her winning a 2016 Straw Poll at the Take Back American Dream conference over Hillary Clinton. To be fair though, and you can ask any Ron Paul supporter, straw polls usually don’t mean anything other than a gauge of the party’s hardcore activists and are famously non-binding.
But the 2016 buzz has now focused on not just Warren’s appeal but (as PolliticsToday recently mentioned) the Democrats lack of big stars in their party. Sure, there are plenty of potential candidates that could make a splash but there just seems to be an “enthusiasm gap” between the voters and the party’s likely candidates. I just can’t envision many progressives going completely wild over an Andrew Cuomo presidential bid given his more moderate record.
So the question remains, is Elizabeth Warren a viable 2016 candidate or are we just engaging in some political fantasy that is rooted in party activism as opposed to electoral success?
The first thing that Warren needs to do if she has any shot at convincing the world that she is the rockstar the Democratic Party craves for, is to beat Scott Brown. Most blogs keep forgetting the obvious fact that Warren is a political newcomer who is learning how chaotic the campaign trail can be. While Brown is a savvy campaigner he does have a challenge on his hand given Massachusetts’s dark blue history and Warren’s overall appeal.
I do feel that Brown, for all of his “secret meetings with kings and queens” and his rather bizarre fixation on MSNBC host Rachel Maddow, is a talented politician who will not be beat easily. Brown’s main political gift lies in his retail politicking of the state that includes his running mate, his pickup truck. However, let’s not forget that the main reason he won the special election to replace the late Ted Kennedy, was the horrific campaigning of Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley.
If Warren can unseat Brown and take back the “Kennedy seat” for the Democratic Party, then we see her potential candidacy as a likely reality as opposed to a pipe dream. Still, Warren would have to deal with the same questions Barack Obama received in 2008 with the “inexperience” questions and even continued questions about her heritage. Those questions that appear during a Senate candidacy only get magnified 100x in a Presidential bid, especially if it starts looking like you are a frontrunner for the nomination.
Warren’s main appeal is her ability to communicate with the plight of the working middle class and depending on how the economic situation looks in four year, it could be a huge boon to her. Yet Warren would be going from progressive folk hero to national figure in less than six years. She is highly intelligent and a great communicator but it’s a huge jump to make as everything you do gets thrown under the microscope.
Warren would also have to build a national campaign and say Hillary Clinton nor Joe Biden run, she’d have to convince people she is more viable than the well-connected Andrew Cuomo or Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley who has all but started campaigning.
I believe Warren is the only member of this year’s potential “freshman” group of legislators for the Democrats when it comes to a 2016 bid. However, her success in Massachusetts dictates where she goes next. I am not squashing the likelihood of a 2016 bid, but I think this November will tell us all we need to know when it comes to potential “Warren ’16″ banners.