Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-MA, is again signaling her intent to seek the Democrat Party’s nomination in 2016, and also attempting to pull Hillary Clinton and the entire party to the left, according to a new op-ed published this morning in the Boston Herald. The Herald cites Warren’s strong opposition to Antonio Weiss for under secretary of the Treasury for domestic finance as the latest sign she wants to move the party further to the left, and to steal the spotlight from Clinton.
“There are various ways to influence politics and policy, and one of them is to be like a magnet and pull people into your orbit. In a sense, I think that’s what Warren is aiming to do,” Democratic consultant Peter Fenn told the Herald. “Who really cares about a nominee for a second-level position in a Cabinet department? Not many people.”
Warren recently wrote a 1,300-word op-ed for the Huffington Post criticizing the White House for nominating Weiss, and calling on the Obama administration “to loosen the hold that Wall Street banks have over economic policy making.” Warren was called out by the New York Times for her stance on Weiss’ nomination.
“The objective, I think, is to move the party,” Fenn said, “and I think you can even see with some of the comments over the last few weeks of Hillary Clinton.”
During a speech last month in Boston, Clinton committed a major gaffe when she claimed that corporations don’t create jobs, but many political observers believe the former first lady was attempting to echo Warren’s message when she uttered that statement. Later that week, Clinton appeared to be moving more to the left during an appearance with Sen. Al Franken, D-MN, saying, “There’s a lot of unfinished business to make sure we don’t end up once again with big banks taking big risks and leaving taxpayers holding the bag.”
The Herald points out that many political observers say Warren’s growing power to push her agenda now that she’s in a Senate leadership position could put her progressive stamp on Democrats’ message in the 2016 election.
“Ever since she announced for the seat, she’s been trying to pull the party left,” University of Massachusetts Boston professor Maurice “Mo” Cunningham told the Herald. “She is one of those politicians uniquely positioned that when she speaks, particularly on issues that have to do with Wall Street, people have to pay attention. And she uses it skillfully.”
It is widely believed that Clinton would run a centrist campaign in order to appeal to independents and more moderate voters. If Warren continues down her current path she may force Clinton to move further to the left than she would like. Clinton has also been leaning heavily on her sense of inevitability, that it is her turn, according to some Democrats who say that belief could be Clinton’s undoing. After all, she was widely considered to be the inevitable nominee in 2008, when she ended up losing to a little-known junior senator from Illinois who hadn’t even completed his first term.