Undeterred by the avalanche of criticism from both political sides of the aisle (and the Native American community) that greeted her farce of a DNA test a couple of months ago, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren has officially announced that she is forming an exploratory committee for the 2020 presidential race. We’re sure such committees have been formed without being followed by an actual campaign for the White House, but it’s pretty rare that it happens that way. Most news outlets treated the announcement as a de facto sign that Warren was going to run for the Democratic nomination, bad press or no.
“America’s middle class is under attack,” Warren said in a video sent out to supporters on Monday. “How did we get here? Billionaires and big corporations decided they wanted more of the pie. And they enlisted politicians to cut them a bigger slice.”
The video shows what most people expected – that Warren would be filling to populist-socialist gap opened up by Bernie Sanders in the 2016 election. Both senators are laser-focused on turning the ultra-rich and corporate America into the new “enemy of the people,” and they are both expected to launch bids for the nomination in 2020. How these two progressives will fare in a crowded field of contenders remains to be seen, but voters can undoubtedly expect a wild and wooly primary season.
Unfortunately, if the goal of the Democrats is to woo back the white working class that Hillary Clinton so badly lost in 2016, it’s unlikely that Warren is the woman to get them back. She isn’t as SJW-focused as some of her peers, but her socialist-lite approach to politics is unlikely to bring jobs streaming back into the Midwest. She may be eager to present herself as a populist in the Sanders tradition, but she lacks the charisma necessary to duplicate his phenomenal and surprising success among the youthful left-wing base.
Plus, even if she does, 2016 showed that you can’t win the nomination with that base alone, and there’s no reason to think that Warren will do any better with southern blacks than Sanders did. Especially with people like Cory Booker, Kamala Harris, and, yes, Sanders himself in the mix. Not to mention good ol’ Joe Biden.
Above all else, Warren is facing a real headwind after that DNA disaster. It may not seem all that important, but she is now seen as a certified Ridiculous Person by no small segment of the voting base. If she can get past that, she will have accomplished a political miracle. We just don’t see it happening.