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4 Reasons Elizabeth Warren Should Run for President

By Scott Conroy - November 6, 2014

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Two Democrats who clearly covet the job are Vice President Biden and outgoing Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley. But both of these men are in weaker positions than Warren would be to compete seriously against Clinton.  

Biden, no doubt, is deeply experienced, a natural charmer and a strong campaigner. Over more than four decades in Washington, he has built a strong connection to the party’s grassroots base and its establishment alike. But if there’s one thing everyone knows about Joe Biden, it’s that he is tied at the hip to an unpopular president. That he will be 74 years old when the next White House occupant takes office in January of 2017 also does not help his case.  

And while O’Malley, like Biden, has worked hard over the last year to ingratiate himself with influential Democrats around the country, the Maryland governor’s 2016 prospects suffered a big hit on Tuesday when the Republican wave that signaled a rejection of Obama’s policies also swallowed up O’Malley’s anointed successor in Annapolis. 

Democratic Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown’s loss to Republican businessman Larry Hogan --who ran against O’Malley’s policies at every turn -- will be a difficult one for the two-term governor to explain as he builds a case that his tenure was a resounding success.  

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and former Virginia Sen. Jim Webb are two other Democrats plotting potential 2016 campaigns, but neither man has the built-in fundraising capacity, nor the instant national stature that Warren would bring to a White House run.   

Quite simply, Elizabeth Warren is the strongest un-Hillary candidate that the Democratic bench has to offer.    

Plus, Warren exudes an affection for retail politicking. In this regard, she’s more like Bill Clinton than the former first lady, who sometimes appears less than enamored of life on the trail.  

Warren is a natural campaigner, while Clinton is at times a hesitant (though undoubtedly compelling) one.  

Clinton has several major assets working in her favor, not the least of which is her unparalleled resume and the experience of having run for president before. 

But for someone who has been in the nation’s public eye for a quarter-century, it may prove difficult for Clinton to assert that her presidency would mark a dramatic change from the status quo.  

Warren won’t have that problem.  

4. She Has Little to Lose and a Lot to Gain  

When Obama was mulling whether to make a 2008 White House bid, the reasons for him not doing so were clear: He was too inexperienced and too much of an underdog. If he bided his time for another four or eight years, most analysts concluded, he might have a real shot at the presidency somewhere down the line. 

Obama ignored that advice, and the rest is history.

Again, nothing in politics is guaranteed, and Warren knows that. She may be a first-term senator with no previous experience in elected office, but she is also 65 years old and a sitting member of one of America’s least popular institutions.  

Warren could choose to remain in the Senate and build her resume with the aim of taking another look at a national run sometime in the future, but it’s unlikely that if she takes that route, her star will shine any brighter than it does right now.  

If she decides to sit this one out, Warren will remain one member of the minority party in a legislative body that offers no immediate prospect for her to advance the causes that are closest to her heart.  

If, on the other hand, she runs for president, what’s the worst that would happen?  

She’d play a significant role in setting the course of the Democratic Party’s future, while eating some bad food and ruffling a few feathers in the process.  

No one would expect her to come out on top. And even in defeat, Warren could provide Clinton with an opportunity to polish her skills in the preseason before taking on the Republicans in the general election.   

And who knows?  

Warren might just surprise everyone, including herself, and actually win the thing.

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Scott Conroy is a national political reporter for RealClearPolitics. He can be reached at sconroy@realclearpolitics.com. Follow him on Twitter @RealClearScott.

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