4 Reasons Elizabeth Warren Should Run for President

4 Reasons Elizabeth Warren Should Run for President

By Scott Conroy - November 6, 2014

For most Democrats, Tuesday's elections were an across-the-board disaster -- a collective nightmare they'd rather not dwell on for another moment.   

In the case of Elizabeth Warren, however, the 2014 midterms could end up being a call to arms.  

The Massachusetts senator has repeatedly denied interest in running for president, and there is no doubt that Hillary Clinton would remain the overwhelming favorite to become the next Democratic nominee regardless of whether Warren gets in the race.  

But the first-term senator wouldn’t be the first ambitious politician to change her mind about running for the nation’s highest office (see: Obama, Barack), and the results of Tuesday’s elections crystalized the underappreciated reasons why it makes sense for her to do just that.   

At some point over the next couple of months, Warren will have to decide whether to keep her word about 2016 or throw caution to the wind and take on the Clinton behemoth.  

Here are four reasons why she should choose the latter route.  

1. She Fits the National Mood  

Voters aren’t just dissatisfied with Washington, D.C. They’re angry, and they’re anxious. 

According to exit polls conducted Tuesday, about two-thirds of voters said the country is on the wrong tack -- an even higher percentage than said the same thing during the Republican wave of 2010.  

Additionally, voters by a 2-to-1 margin said they expect life will get worse for the next generation of Americans, while about two-thirds said that the economy favors the wealthy.  

This sentiment is smack dab in the middle of Elizabeth Warren’s political wheelhouse.   

No Democrat speaks as passionately and as effectively about issues related to income inequality, lack of functional governance, and the declining American middle class as Warren does. And during a campaign season in which Democrats had little to get excited about, her fist-pumping, high-decibel, populist harangues got crowds fired up wherever she went.

In a modern era that requires any serious presidential candidate to have the unquantifiable “it” factor, Elizabeth Warren already does. 

No one knows this better than Hillary Clinton.  

During her own appearances on the 2014 campaign trail, Clinton attempted to co-opt some of Warren’s “defender of the little guy” identity, telling a crowd in Boston, “Don’t let anybody tell you it’s corporations and businesses that create jobs.” 

A clear overreach, the remark drew immediate ridicule in a variety of circles, as it was readily apparent that Clinton lacked fluency in Warren-ese.

Unlike the former secretary of state, Warren doesn’t have to work very hard to conjure up outrage over the privileges granted to Wall Street or the plight of the little guy.  

These frustrations are the very reasons why the former consumer advocate entered politics in the first place, and they frame the issues that could propel her to the next level.  

2. Clinton’s Current Standing in the Polls Won’t Last  

As anyone who follows politics knows, at around this time eight years ago, Hillary Clinton was widely characterized as her party’s “inevitable” 2008 presidential nominee. 

Her eventual loss to Barack Obama demonstrated once again the folly of considering anything in this business to be preordained. And yet, here we go again. 

Proponents of assigning the “I-word” to Clinton’s 2016 candidacy insist that this time, it’s clear for all to see, she really is inevitable. There is no Obama waiting in the wings, they observe. And Clinton’s overall standing among key Democrats -- whether early state voters, key officials, or millionaire funders -- is without rival.  

The woman is ahead by almost 50 points in Iowa, for God’s sake!  

But here’s the problem with this argument: Clinton’s current poll position could change dramatically once Democrats are presented with a real choice in 2015-16.  

Warren, after all, is still somewhat of an unknown commodity.  

At this point in 2006, Obama was already a household name -- a political celebrity known for his soaring keynote address at the 2004 Democratic National Convention in Boston, as well as his compelling life story and vision for the nation that he chronicled in his best-selling books.   

Though Warren has already become a cult hero among many left-leaning activists, rank-and-file Democrats who aren’t political junkies just don’t know her all that well yet.  

If she were to announce her candidacy for president tomorrow, Warren would still trail Clinton in the polls, of course, but the current gap she faces would almost certainly narrow amid the media attention she’d receive.  

And in a one-on-one match-up, many Democrats might be surprised to find that they respond more viscerally to the bright new star on the scene than to the steadfast veteran whom they had expected to get behind. 

And that’s a recipe for a real campaign.  

3. Someone Has to Do It

Despite her strengths, it’s difficult to conceive of a scenario in which Clinton becomes the first non-incumbent ever to run unopposed for her party’s nomination. Someone’s going to run against her.  

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

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