Politico reports that Elizabeth Warren is sitting on a war chest of nearly $13 million, more money than nearly any Senator this far out from reelection. She has also hired a team of researchers to go over her own background for potential vulnerabilities. She has even made efforts to work with Republicans on a few issues to potentially soften her image as a progressive crusader. It appears she is thinking seriously about a run for President in 2020:
Warren is sitting on more campaign cash — $12.8 million — than nearly any other incumbent senator ever has at this point in an election cycle, despite what’s expected to be an easy reelection. But she also held 17 town hall events back home in Massachusetts last year.
She spent the year meeting with prominent figures with whom she’s disagreed in the past — from former President Barack Obama to JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon — sit-downs that could come in handy if she runs for president. But Warren shied from repeated invitations to political events across Iowa and New Hampshire.
And Warren has stocked her political staff with a research team directed to scour her past for political vulnerabilities — an undertaking that appears aimed at a national bid. But the group of five aides is also monitoring a gaggle of potential Republican reelection opponents in Massachusetts, where hedge fund billionaire Robert Mercer, a top backer of President Donald Trump, has funded a super PAC assailing her…
She worked with Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley on legislation to improve access to hearing aids, and with Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski on opioid funding, earning unexpected praise from conservative colleagues. Plus, as a new member of the Armed Services Committee, Warren took a Fourth of July trip to Afghanistan with Arizona Sen. John McCain and South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham.
The piece concludes that Warren is already in the top-tier of potential 2020 candidates along with Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders. Of the two, she seems to occupy the same political space as Sanders. Could she be a running mate? Or will Sanders choose not to run again in 2020?
As I noted in November, Warren was asked on two different interview shows if the process had been rigged in favor of Hillary Clinton and she answered yes both times. “What we have to focus on now as Democrats is, we recognize the process was rigged. And now it is up to Democrats to build a new process, a process that really works and works for everyone,” she said on PBS News Hour. Warren later backed away from these comments somewhat and seems to still be on good terms with Clinton world.
I think the real problem here is that hard left Democrats are probably still not quite a majority of the party. Even if the party has been pushed left by President Trump, that doesn’t mean Warren (or Sanders) can appeal to enough moderates and centrists to win a national election. Newt Gingrich made the case today that Republicans have a real opportunity to win the battle over the tax bill and let Democrats claim the socialist mantle in 2018. From the Hill:
“If the Republicans, led by the president, can focus in on winning the argument about the tax bill, spend the whole year pounding away at the notion jobs are created by businesses, cutting taxes and cutting regulations creates jobs, and let the Democrats be the party of socialism, big government, and big bureaucracy, I think we can win a surprising election this fall,” he continued.
Democrats are all in on their strategy of attacking the tax bill. But if the results are positive, i.e. higher growth, higher labor participation, lower unemployment, and higher wages, Republicans could have a winning hand this year. And when 95% of Americans discover they get a tax cut next year, the far left is going to have a harder time demonizing the bill. One downside Democrats will definitely be able to point to is a higher deficit, but will anyone take their concerns about that seriously? I don’t think so.