By Michael Smerconish | January 2, 2018
Those cheers you are hearing emanate from the West Wing.
Roughly eighteen months from the beginning of the Democrat Presidential Primary, Elizabeth Warren is apparently sizing up a run. Gabriel Debenedetti just detailed in POLITICO that Warren is boosting her fundraising efforts, assembling staff and building relationships with Democrats all with an eye toward positioning herself as a viable presidential candidate.
My hunch is that President Trump would like nothing better. To his view, this would be the second best scenario for 2020 – the first being that Hillary Clinton would herself seek a rematch. If it can’t be Hillary, Trump would probably be satisfied with Elizabeth. That’s because Trump’s 2016 victory was more attributable to what he was running against that what he himself represented. He won by running against Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. And largely, that is the way he has governed, at least with regard to the former. The only consistency in his presidency is his opposition to and desire for overturning any initiative put forth by his predecessor. This is what he said he would do. This is what his base has come to expect and he salves those desires every opportunity he is presented – usually garnished by a confirmatory Tweet.
Trump will similarly seize upon those aspects of a Warren candidacy that will incite his base. Hilary Clinton went to Yale Law – Elizabeth Warren was a professor at Harvard Law. Clinton lived in and was a Senator from New York, a liberal stronghold – Warren has spent her entire political career in the most liberal stronghold, Massachusetts. Clinton was slammed for playing up “identity politics” too much on the campaign trail – just imagine what will happen when Warren starts talking about her indigenous roots. And it’s not just personal qualities that would make Warren an easy punching bag for Trump. When it comes to policies, Warren represents so much of what the center and right find frustrating about Democrats right now. She wants higher taxes and more regulation, and it wouldn’t be hard to tag the word “socialist” to Warren given her alliance with self-described socialist Bernie Sanders.
Unlike Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren hardly seems like the candidate best suited to win back those working class white men in places like Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin who abandoned their normal Democratic allegiance when the ticket was headed by Hillary Clinton. And given Warren’s intense focus on issues that don’t seem to be of any particular help to people of color, it remains to be seen whether she has any extra appeal to black voters whose turnout Democrats will need to win.
He’s been hoping for her since he gave her a nickname. Warren for Trump in 2020.