With two years to go until the 2016 presidential election, Hillary Clinton’s only remaining obstacle to winning the Democratic nomination is Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren. Or, at least, the idea of Elizabeth Warren.
In the most recent issue of The New Republic, Noam Scheiber details the few remaining potential issues that Clinton, well ahead in every predictive poll, will face before the 2016 primary season. At the top of her list of worries is that more-progressive liberal groups will use Warren’s economic populist message to contrast Hillary’s ‘one-percenter’ status.
“Their plan is, in effect, to deploy the spectral presence of Warren to extract as many concessions as possible,” Scheiber writes.
Warren, a former Harvard Law School professor, has been banging the drum of economic inequality since entering office, which could have the effect of pushing Clinton to publicly take a position in stopping economic inequality.
Clinton-opponents will have to rely on Warren’s “spectral presence,” though, because she is emphatically not running for president herself. “I am not running for president. Do you want to put an exclamation point at the end of that?” she confirmed to the Boston Globe. That’s consistent with her many statements over the past year.
Meanwhile, the real, non-ghostly Warren is throwing her considerable influence around to promote Democratic challengers for the coming Senate elections later this year. Over the weekend Warren campaigned with Kentucky Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes, who is set to take on Sen. minority leader Mitch McConnell. “Warren’s appeal for Democrats wanting to rally their base is clear: She produces enormous, almost celebrity-like, enthusiasm from supporters,” BuzzFeed explains. Warren will also be making a trip to West Virginia in two weeks time to further push her message and promote Democratic Senate candidate Natalie Tennant there.
Even in the case Clinton does indeed make it through a Warren-less Democratic presidential primary in 2016, those economic populist questions aren’t likely to stop. “Elizabeth Warren’s rhetoric on Wall Street isn’t that much different than Rand Paul’s,” Democratic strategist Jim Manley told BuzzFeed. That would be the real, non-ghostly Rand Paul, to clarify.Eric Levenson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @ejleven.