While Hillary Clinton runs away with the early Democratic primary polls, another candidate is running away with support from many Democratic party loyalists. Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren continues to draw accolades and support from Democrats wishing for a more progressive candidate in 2016.
As an example, liberal columnist and Fox News contributor Juan Williams offers this glowing endorsement:
The 2014 winner of my annual award for “Member of Congress of the Year” goes to the politician who had such a good year she now defines her party’s future — Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.).
The Massachusetts senator could become the Barack Obama of 2016, able to grab the Democrats’ presidential nomination from the favorite, Hillary Clinton, by coming at her from the left. The defining issue for Democrats in 2008 was Iraq. In 2016 it will be the economy. Warren is much more in step with the party on this issue than is Clinton.
Warren’s economic populism also defines the party’s present. After losses in the midterms, the Democrats have concluded that it is time for them to go on offense, utilizing Warren’s issues — raising the minimum wage, cutting better deals on student loans and supporting equal pay for women.
In the current Real Clear Politics average of polls asking Democrats to select their top choice as the party’s 2016 presidential nominee, Warren is running second. And she trails Clinton by a huge margin, 51 percentage points.
But a poll taken this month by the progressive group Democracy for America found Warren to be the most popular choice for party activists asked whom they wanted to see run. Warren drew 42 percent support, overshadowing Sen. Bernie Sanders’s (I-Vt.) 24 percent and Clinton’s 23 percent.
Warren also gave the political speech of the year. At the liberal Netroots Convention, she defined the values and specific issues that electrify and unite Democrats and that draw swing voters.
Calling Warren the ‘Barack Obama of 2016’ is a pretty high endorsement since Obama toppled the Clinton machine in 2008. All that being said, Elizabeth Warren, though her rhetoric may be similar, is not Barack Obama. On the other hand, there is no one else on the Democratic side getting any notice from liberal columnists aside from Warren and Clinton.