The editors conclude that center-left parties can only be successful if they change their ideological message away from neoliberalism and back to a more modern social democracy, but that this change must be combined with strong leadership and be in line with the political context. Of the three key candidates today, this would rule out Biden, who represents the old message, leadership, and political context. It would be more favorable to Sanders, although he runs the same risk as Jeremy Corbyn in the UK: splitting the party establishment, and part of the base, thereby undermining the clarity of the party leadership and message.
Enter Elizabeth Warren, who is able to offer a new leftwing message without dividing the establishment and base. The Massachusetts senator is not just among the three most popular candidates, she is also the (clear) top second choice candidate among the supporters of both Biden and Sanders. Moreover, with social democratic policies broadly popular among Americans, particularly among youth, but (the term) socialism still controversial, the country is ready for her program.
This leaves two key questions unanswered, in case Warren wins the nomination. First, is the Democratic leadership, and particularly Biden and Sanders, willing to follow their supporters and rally around Warren’s leadership? Second, is America ready for a female president? If the answers to these two questions are yes, the Democratic Party might emerge as the shining star of social democratic politics next year.