The question of whether Warren should talk more about her past conservatism is admittedly a tricky one; she wouldn’t, for example, want to give progressives who are still torn between her and Sanders more reason to be suspicious of her. One old Warren colleague doesn’t think much of the idea: former Representative Barney Frank, the retired Massachusetts congressman and liberal stalwart who worked closely with Warren as he was developing the bill that created the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. “That’s not a good way to win over Democratic voters,” Frank told me when I asked him if she should talk more about her Republican past. “I don’t think that makes any political sense at all.”
Yet some political strategists I spoke with said that Warren should embrace her political conversion.
“For Elizabeth Warren, this is a tremendous opportunity to reach beyond her progressive base,” Daniel Schnur, a longtime Republican strategist, told me.
Schnur said that Warren’s move left reminded him of Reagan’s move right. A longtime Democrat who led the Screen Actors Guild as a Hollywood actor, Reagan famously explained his political evolution by saying, “The Democratic Party left me.” By the time he ran for president, he was so deeply aligned with the conservative movement that his liberal past helped him win over Democrats and independents more than it hurt him with lifelong Republicans.