Since Elizabeth Warren took her Senate seat in 2013, she has held the role of the populist darling of the liberal wing of the Democratic Party and the imagination of those who view her as a welcome alternative to current Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton. But Warren insists she is not running in 2016.
"No," was the simple answer Warren gave to Fortune magazine in a January interview
But "no" is not a response accepted by those on the Left who are trying to draft her to run, or by those on the Right who are continuing to include her among possible Democratic opponents.
"Obviously we’ve been spending a bulk of our time on Secretary Clinton. She’s clearly the person that the Democratic establishment is a aligning behind but we’ve also done the necessary research for a potential candidate to emerge and I think Elizabeth Warren is at the top of that list," Tim Miller, the executive director of the conservative PAC America Rising, told the left-leaning blog, Talking Points Memo
Like Miller, the Republican National Committee (RNC) also is conducting research and keeping tabs on the freshman Massachusetts senator.
"There are a lot of Dems that seem to be wary about anointing Hillary and many of them come from the Warren wing of the party. We will continue focusing on her," said RNC press secretary Kirsten Kukowski in an interview with TPM.
Republicans may be hoping to keep the notion of a Warren candidacy alive as a way to diminish Clinton's standing and to split Democratic unity, but liberals' hope is rooted in an actual belief in her stands against Wall Street and her focus on income inequality.
Last week, two liberal PACs — Democracy for America and MoveOn.org — launched a "Run Warren Run" campaign in New Hampshire and have pledged to spend $1.25 million in Iowa and New Hampshire in the hope of convincing Warren to run for president, reports The Boston Herald
"What the groups are doing is trying to keep the concept of a Warren candidacy in play. They’re hedging," Patrick Griffin, who works for the bipartisan public opinion research firm Purple Strategies, told The Herald. "They’re hoping. But if she’s not a willing participant, there’s nothing to be pining for."
"The bottom line is: Hillary Clinton is not tomorrow’s Democratic Party. The only thing that’s been in Washington longer than the Clintons is the Washington Monument.
"Warren makes Democrats hope for what could be rather than settle for what is," Griffin added.
According to a RealClearPolitics aggregate of recent Democratic primary polls
, Clinton is the clear front-runner with 61.7 percent of the vote, while Warren draws 12.2 percent.
Vice President Joe Biden and Independent Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders are both in the single digits.
"Having either Bernie or Elizabeth run would be a wonderful thing for the country," Ben Cohen, a Democratic donor and co-founder of Ben and Jerry's ice cream, told The Wall Street Journal
"I see Hillary as part of the middle-of-the-road mainstream government that is essentially in bed with these corporations," added Cohen, who expresses a sentiment common among progressive Democrats.
Warren may not be running for president (yet), but she undoubtedly will play a role in setting the agenda for the Obama administration, as well as whomever the Democratic nominee turns out to be.
"Obama appears eager to make inequality and the struggles of working- and middle-class Americans the central agenda for the 2016 campaign, forcing Republicans — and perhaps a Democrat not named Warren — to respond.
"The concentration of wealth and political power at the top is said to be Warren's passion. She may not be running for anything. But if Obama joins her in pressing the inequality case, the Democrats could end up with the equivalent of an Obama-Warren ticket just the same," writes Francis Wilkinson in Bloomberg News
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