Could it be true? Are the barons of Wall Street closing their fat cat wallets for Democrats in protest of the rise of Elizabeth Warren in the polls? That’s supposedly the case according to CNBC, and they’ve delivered a message to Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. Back off from Warren or find someone else to fund the rest of your Senate races.
Some finance executives have recently told Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer that they are, for the moment, holding back from donating to Democrats running for Senate in 2020 due to their concerns with Warren becoming a frontrunner in the race for the party’s presidential nomination, according to people familiar with the conversations. These people spoke on the condition of anonymity due to the private nature of the talks.
The move is intended to put pressure on party leadership and Schumer, who represents New York and has received millions of dollars in donations from Wall Street, to distance themselves from Warren’s economic populism.
On the one hand, this puts pressure on Schumer (assuming this anonymously sourced report is valid) because he’s supposed to be helping to find funding for Democratic Senate candidates in battleground states. And while most Democrats love to talk about how evil the rich bankers are, pretty much all of them are happy to quietly take their money. (And presumably, remember those favors when it comes time to vote on regulations.)
But Warren is the exception that proves the rule this year. Yes, she’s been quite cozy with the Wall Street fat cats earlier in her career, but as a Democratic politician on the campaign trail she’s railed against them regularly. Last month she publicly promised that she would turn down any money offered by Wall Street, and by Big Tech as well.
In other words, while this story may prove problematic for Schumer, it’s basically a huge gift and a free campaign ad for Warren. She would love nothing better than to have the press talking up her “war on Wall Street” and how their money is no good at her establishment. We can probably chalk this one up as yet another log on the fire that’s erupting between the vocal socialists in the Democratic base and the more moderate influences who are likely still backing Biden.
Of course, that puts Warren in the position of needing to raise money from sources that traditionally don’t have such deep pockets. Her base of support hasn’t really expanded all that much, either. And she’ll need to expand it because there’s still not nearly enough data to suggest that she’s really the frontrunner. Yes, she popped up with a top finish in Iowa recently and did similarly well in New Hampshire at the end of October. But she’s basically been living in those two states. We still haven’t seen a national poll where she’s really within spitting distance of Uncle Joe. He’s also lapping the field in South Carolina. If you run down this list of polls over the past month, nearly the only other place where you can find her leading Biden is Massachusetts, her home state.
If her brand of economic populism starts making the rest of the field too nervous and drives away big dollars, this brief surge may turn out to be a boomlet. Of course, conservatives may want to pitch in and support her because as of this week, Trump seems to be beating her in the swing states, while Biden may be tied or ahead.