Elizabeth Warren takes center stage
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) eclipses President Biden with endorsements and, at times, as the leading voice for Democrats on major issues including abortion and student debt forgiveness.
Why is this important: The prominence of the progressive is pressuring the incumbent president and the White House to move to the left. It also raises questions about its ambitions, especially as the Democratic Party faces an election apocalypse this fall and questions about which vote — and which issues — are best to bounce back.
- While Warren has ruled out another presidential campaign in 2024, his notoriety would boost any candidacy if Biden himself does not run for a second term.
- Another top liberal Democrat, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), hasn’t ruled out another presidential campaign — as long as Biden doesn’t run for office, according to a leaked memo from his former chief executive. Faiz Shakir campaign.
Driving the news: Warren made it through the Supreme Court twice last week to support abortion rights activists and give a speech gone viral.
- “I’m here because I’m angry, and I’m here because the United States Congress can change all of that,” Warren said, surrounded by abortion rights advocates cheering her on every line. She called the court “extremist”.
- That moment, supporters say, captured Warren’s greatest strengths: his ability to mobilize quickly, validate concerns by lending his voice to activists, and link the issue to the economy.
- Since then, she’s hit the airwaves, appearing on “The View” and cable news programs to share her outrage.
The big picture: The senator’s influence permeates the party.
He stretches his allies installed throughout the administration at the left turn of the White House on canceling student debt, as well as his major endorsements of 2022 and his public appearances in editorials, on television and at rallies.
- Last month, Warren had a direct message for her party: The Democrats will lose in 2022 “if we don’t use the remaining months … to further realize our agenda,” she wrote in a New York Times op-ed.
- She’s installed a roster of proteges across the administration who share her goals for aggressive surveillance of big banks and other corporations, and the risks she sees looming on Wall Street.
- This resulted in a network across the Treasury Department, the Department of Education, and the National Security Council, as well as leadership positions within the Democratic National Committee.
Between the lines: Critics worry that Warren’s “personal-is-political” mentality has pushed the administration too far left.
- She has spoken out on taxing billionaires, banning members of Congress from trading stocks, and canceling student loans — something she frequently reminds Americans can be done by the president alone.
- The White House has turned to her on this issue, moving from an initial agreement to extend the pause on loan repayments until the end of the summer, to now considering a plan to pardon between $10,000 and $50,000 per student.
- Warren even set up a student debt war room, armed with data on the demographics of student borrowers.
What they say : “She doesn’t run wild in every battle,” said Adam Green, co-founder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee and Warren’s 2020 adviser.
“She picks areas where she can really make a difference and engages strategically.”
- Warren is “able to offer emotionally resonant critique of power structures in a way that people can relate to,” Green added.
- Warren’s spokesperson, Alex Sarabia, told Axios: “The economy under President Biden and the Democratic Congress has created more than 8 million new jobs, and Senator Warren works every day to help move the party program to support working families – including fighting inflation driven by rising business prices.”
By the numbers: The polls confirm Warren’s program on many of these issues.
- A Data for Progress poll found a majority of voters think rising business prices are the main culprit for rising costs, and that’s one of the best messages for Democrats to convince voters when dealing with inflation issues.
- Nearly 60% of young voters said they would be more likely to vote for a Democratic candidate for Congress this fall, if Biden were to eliminate some or all of the federal student loan debt.