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Opinion: Look out Hillary Clinton, there’s a new progressive in town

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In the lead up to the 2016 presidential race, the Democratic side has remained relatively quiet. Hillary Rodham Clinton is considered a strong contender for 2016 due to her vast amount of experience and popularity. As a result of this superiority, Democrats haven’t been lining up to challenge her in the primaries next year. Yet since being elected to the Senate in 2012, Elizabeth Warren has emerged as a leader of the progressive wing of the Democratic Party. There are some who believe Clinton is not far enough to the left and have turned to Warren in hopes that she will run against her.

A former law professor from Harvard, Sen. Warren began her rise when she assisted and advised both the Democratic majority in the Senate and the Obama administration in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis. She was originally slated to be the President’s nominee for the “Consumer Financial Protection Bureau,” — which was first created as a result of the Dodd-Frank financial reform law — but was passed over due to heavy lobbying by Wall Street. This is despite thousands across the country petitioning the White House to nominate her. After the death of long time senator Ted Kennedy in 2009,  his seat was won in a 2010 special election by Republican Scott Brown. Warren would go on to challenge Brown in 2012 and take back what had been considered “the Kennedy seat,” due to Kennedy holding the seat since 1963 and his brother John F. Kennedy holding the same seat before becoming president.

In one of her first committee hearings, Sen. Warren questioned bank regulators on whether they have ever brought anyone to trial. After discovering none of the regulators could name the last time they have brought someone to trial, Warren stated, “I’m really concerned that ‘too big to fail’ has become ‘too big for trial.’”

Her past couple of years in the Senate haven’t done much to tame her, as shown in her recent speech at Netroots Nation this past year. When talking about being a progressive, she had this to say:

“We have to talk about what it means to be a progressive. We have to talk about what it means to be an American … We believe that Wall Street needs stronger rules and tougher enforcement and we’re willing to fight for it … We believe in science, and that means we have a responsibility to protect this earth and we will fight for it. We believe the internet shouldn’t be rigged to benefit big corporations and that means real net neutrality, and we will fight for it.”

Democrat insiders have already recognized Sen. Warren’s ability to electrify the liberal base of the party. Throughout the 2014 campaign season, she frequently spoke at Democratic fundraisers and campaign rallies in red and blue states alike. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid even created a new leadership position specifically for her, making her an “envoy for liberal groups.”

Despite her popularity, Sen. Warren has made it very clear time and time again that she does not plan on running in 2016. This has only fueled the fire, with many public and private speaking venues for her, full of supporters urging her to run with signs and chanting. Even Karl Rove, a strategist for former President George W. Bush, seems to think Warren can pose a threat to Hillary Clinton, though he is quick to point out in the end Clinton would likely still win. A Huffington Post chart compiled from various opinion polls showed as of Jan. 27, Clinton had a 50 point lead in opinion polls over Warren, who came second in the poll. This same sentiment is held by Democratic strategist David Axelrod, although he believes Warren’s main goal right now is to positively influence Clinton’s 2016 platform on financial regulation, rather than run herself. This could be the reason for a meeting between the two in Clinton’s Washington home last December, which is unlikely to be the last of its kind.

While progressives can hope, pray and yell “Run Liz, Run!”  all they want for a “Warren ‘16” campaign, it appears —  at least this time around — Sen. Elizabeth Warren truly has no intention to run. With Clinton already organizing her campaign, choosing her head staff and Republicans all across the board recruiting staff, it’s likely too late for Warren to make a run for the Oval Office. Yet, it appears her current job has been a good fit for Sen. Warren, and she may go on to lead progressive causes for years to come. However, a Warren presidential campaign may not be too far off depending whether Clinton is able to secure the presidency in 2016.

 

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