I have made no decision about whom I’ll vote for when the Democratic primary process reaches me next year. But lately, I’ve noticed that my thoughts have been centering around Elizabeth Warren.
Let me preface my thoughts about Senator Warren with an affirmation that I am strongly of the school of thought that says electability must be the factor given the strongest weight. If Trump is the alternative — not a sure thing, but certainly probable — it would be foolish to take chances on our getting four more years of that monstrosity. American democracy and American national security are already plenty endangered by Trump’s serving this present term.
But a couple of caveats on “electability.”
First, assessing candidates’ electability is fraught with uncertainties. (How much did Hillary’s defeat reflect an unreadiness of the American electorate to elect a woman to the Presidency, and how much was it about Hillary in particular– e.g. the result of a quarter century of Republican demonization of that particular woman, compounded by that particular woman candidate’s not being gifted at that political task of connecting with masses of people?)
Second, while electability should be paramount, it is not the only thing. So there’s still the task of weighing the other factors: e.g., if a B- candidate would have a 70% chance of winning, how great a chance need an A+ candidate have of winning to be the preferable choice?
All that being said, here are some factors about Elizabeth Warren that have me increasingly interested in her:
- She’s been most impressive recently with how well she’s done her “homework.” By that, I’m referring to her series of policy proposals, which seem to be well-thought out, well-researched, and perhaps part of a coherent vision of how to make a better America. This demonstrates important abilities that were previously displayed in her career as a first-rate academic. And it suggests that as President she’d be able to provide good legislative leadership working with Congress.
- She has a career-long history of seeking the good of average American working families (and has a personal history — in her family of origin — with the difficulties that hardworking families can face).
- The lust for elective office seems not to have been in her marrow. Which may mean her leadership would not be a function of an ego trip. (It seems that what took her into elective politics was how her long-term concern for fair financial treatment of average American families brought her into a prominent role in the creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (with President Obama), which brought her to a public prominence that enabled her to be elected to the Senate.)
- She seems — to me — to be a real, genuine human being, with real integrity. And it appears that a real moral passion motivates her politics.
With respect to her electability, two points to make in her favor:
- In recent candidate forums — the “She the People Forum” in Houston, Texas, and the “National Forum on Wages and Working People” in Las Vegas, Nevada — Senator Warren reportedly stood out among the candidates in terms of the enthusiasm with which she was received.
- And this one seems to me particularly important: In 2016, when it seemed that no one could stand toe-to-toe with Trump and get the best of him — not “low-energy Jeb,” or “Little Marco,” or “Lyin’ Ted” — Elizabeth Warren dueled with Trump on Twitter and continually landed the superior punches. She might have what it takes to make Trump look like a loser even in the eyes of many who have relished Trump’s abusiveness.