Warren’s Power on the Rise
With all the recent turmoil Sen. Elizabeth Warren is facing, her power is now on the rise and it appears like her Senate seat is untouchable.
The Hill reports:
After staying on the sidelines in the primaries, the Massachusetts liberal has crisscrossed the country to campaign for presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and Democrats in crucial Senate races.
Having never held elected office before 2012, Warren’s ascent to party leader has come at breakneck speed. She is rapidly building a network of allies, giving her increased leverage as she seeks to pull the Democratic Party to the left on everything from Social Security to policing Wall Street.
“Warren is the politician that all Democrats want,” wrote Jaret Seiberg, an analyst at Cowen & Company. “That means other Democrats don’t just owe Warren. They also have to worry about the consequences of offending her.”
Warren rejected pleas from liberal groups to launch her own bid for the presidency during the primaries and didn’t pick sides in a surprisingly competitive race between Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who shares many of her policy positions.
But after the primaries were settled, Warren became unabashed in her support of Clinton, lending significant liberal credibility to a candidate who faces lingering doubts on the left.
Warren joined Clinton for a large rally Monday in New Hampshire, where she showed why she has become one of the party’s most effective critics of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.
“He thinks that because he has a mouth of Tics Tacs that he can force himself on any woman in groping distance,” Warren said at the outdoor rally, with Clinton seated at her side.
“I’ve got news for you, Donald Trump. Women have had it with guys like you.”
Aside from being a foot soldier for Clinton, Warren has been a regular presence on the campaign trail, touting candidates up and down the Democratic ticket.
Her busy campaign schedule, which has included frequent stops in swing stages, shows that her populist message has currency across the country, not just in liberal enclaves.
Before stumping with Clinton in New Hampshire, Warren was in Missouri helping Jason Kander, the state’s secretary of state, in his bid to unseat Sen. Roy Blunt (R). And on Tuesday, Warren was in North Carolina, boosting Clinton’s candidacy as well as that of Deborah Ross, the former state lawmaker challenging Sen. Richard Burr (R).
Clinton holds an edge in the battleground state of North Carolina, but Missouri remains a Republican stronghold.
Warren has also made campaign stops to help unseat Senate Republicans in Wisconsin, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Nevada.
“She more than anybody else is just about the most popular person among Democratic voters,” said one financial lobbyist who has tracked Warren closely. “She’s not bringing the party towards her. Elizabeth Warren is where the base of the party is.”
Warren is already a lower-ranking member of Senate Democratic leadership, having been brought into the fold after the party’s disastrous midterm elections in 2014.
But if Democrats retake the Senate and Clinton wins the White House, Warren is poised to take on an even more outsized role in Washington, a remarkable position for a lawmaker who is still technically a freshman.
Warren is expected to carry significant clout when it comes to filling positions within a Clinton administration. The senator and allies on the left have made clear that they will be closely watching personnel decisions by Clinton and her advisers and are willing to speak out against nominees that they find unacceptable.
Hacked emails published by WikiLeaks, purportedly from Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta, back that up. A January 2015 email exchange indicates that Warren had already provided Clinton with a list of names of people she would like to see in administration positions. The email said a longtime Warren aide was “intently focused on personnel issues” during a meeting with Clinton’s staff.
The left has long groused that Wall Street and corporate America were given too much clout in President Obama’s White House, particularly in the early years of the administration.
In 2014, Warren launched a concerted campaign to scuttle Obama’s nomination of Antonio Weiss to fill a top spot in the Treasury Department, citing his experience on Wall Street as a disqualifier. Weiss ultimately withdrew his nomination, and was named an adviser to Secretary Jack Lew not subject to Senate confirmation.
And earlier this month, Warren took the unusual step of calling on Obama to fire one of his top regulators, Securities and Exchange Commission Chairwoman Mary Jo White, calling her weak and ineffective.
With just months left in Obama’s term, many viewed Warren’s letter on White as a warning shot for Clinton.
“She’s built up a number of chits with the incoming administration that I expect her to call in,” said Jim Manley, a former aide to retiring Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.). “She’s poised to have some pretty significant influence.”
Photo credit: Public Citizen / Flickr.