Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts will not be running for president in 2016, but she has some opinions as to how her party’s likely candidate should approach economic issues.
“Anyone who runs for president should talk about big economic ideas that will help rebuild the middle class in this country and improve the lives of working-class families,” Warren said in a statement to the Associated Press. “These issues matter powerfully in determining what kind of country we are and what kind of future we’re building, and I applaud those who are working hard to make big ideas central to the conversation in 2016.” Although Warren did not address her by name, it’s fairly obvious that her statement was directed at Hillary Clinton.
Clinton is the Democratic Party’s presumed candidate, as thus far there are essentially no other viable challengers. According to a Huffington Post poll, Clinton leads the overall 2016 Democratic Primary polls with 59.7 percent. In second place is Vice President Joe Biden, tied with Warren (who, again, is not running) at 12 percent. Names like Bernie Sanders and Martin O’Malley have also been mentioned as possible candidates, but it’s unlikely that they can match the momentum Clinton has managed to accrue over the years.
Because Clinton is the presumed candidate and Warren has insisted that she will not be running, groups like the Progressive Change Campaign Committee are pushing for Clinton to adopt a more populist economic policy. Warren’s recent comments were in solidarity with that organization’s new nationwide “Ready for Boldness” campaign, which has about 5,000 well-known supporters nationwide. Warren and other prominent Democrats, like soon-to-be-retired Sen. Harry Reid of Nevada, are among those supporters.
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The goal of the “Ready for Boldness” campaign is to make the 2016 Democratic candidate adopt a Warren-like platform. According to WMUR 9, the group calls for the expansion of Social Security benefits, Wall Street and campaign finance reform, higher wages and more “clean energy” jobs. It’s an attempt at injecting the progressive populism espoused by Warren and other politicians into the Democratic Party mainstream.
Considering Clinton will almost definitely be the Democratic candidate (barring some true sort of scandal or an Obama-like come-from-behind victory), the goal of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee is a more realistic one than the organizations that have been begging Warren to run. It seems like no one will be able to challenge Clinton, so it’s best to try to get her thinking differently about economic policies. If you can’t beat a candidate, you might as well influence them.
Given the current state of the nation and its desperate need for true change, it’s unfortunate that Democrats have been so afraid to stand up to Clinton. Clinton is a moderate, traditionalist Democrat. She's a member of one of the few elite families that have been running this country for years, and she’s played an influential role in the shape of the country for decades. It's unlikely that she’ll take the country in a different direction if she assumes control of the White House. More likely, she'll maintain the Obama status quo.
Even though Warren has repeatedly asserted that she doesn’t want to run for president, she (or another candidate with similarly progressive values) needs to listen to her supporters. Just as many members of the Republican Party would support a libertarian-leaning candidate like Rand Paul, many Democratic voters are desperately seeking an alternative to the Clinton establishment. Warren is the best option, Sanders is another, but simply hoping that Clinton will adopt their “big ideas” for economic reform is not enough. It’s still too early to speculate, but hopefully someone in the Democratic Party will have the guts to stand up to Clinton instead of assuming that she’ll win the nomination.