Senator Elizabeth Warren: The outsider who could upset Hillary Clinton’s presidential bid

The liberal Senator from Massachusetts is being viewed as a possible Democratic rival

Los Angeles

It is widely held that when the names go into the hat for the 2016 Democrat presidential primary, there is only one that will matter: Hillary Clinton. Yet some in her party hope the frontrunner could again be upset by a challenge from an outsider – and their preferred candidate appears to be the liberal Senator from Massachusetts, Elizabeth Warren. In its latest cover story, political magazine The New Republic suggests a Warren presidential run would be “Hillary’s nightmare”, and describes Senator Warren as “the probable face” of a progressive “insurgency”.

Warren, 64, has made her name as a critic of the financial industry. Clinton, by contrast, is thought of as sympathetic to Wall Street; her husband presided over widespread deregulation while in the White House. If the issue remains at the forefront of voters’ minds by 2016, the magazine argues, activist enthusiasm for a Warren candidacy could spread. Markos Moulitsas, publisher of the liberal blog Daily Kos, told the New York Times: “[Warren] is reshaping the Democratic Party and leading its charge toward a more economic populist orientation.”

Democrat Bill de Blasio’s recent victory in the New York mayoral election, on a platform of correcting income inequality, has also emboldened grassroots Democrats. Adam Green, co-founder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, told The New Republic that his fellow progressives were yet to be sold on the predicted Clinton candidacy. “There’s very much a wait-and-see approach to Hillary among progressives,” he said. “It’s mutually exclusive to be a real hero for reform and accountability and to have a [fund-raising] strategy that relies on Wall Street.”

Disillusion with the financial system led in part to the present fissure between mainstream Republicans and the Tea Party. Less well documented is the narrower split between populist Democrats and their colleagues. Observers of the Tea Party “insurgency” might see a mirror of that movement in the bumper stickers declaring: “I’m from the Elizabeth Warren Wing of the Democratic Party”.

Originally from Oklahoma, Warren was previously a Harvard Law School professor specialising in bankruptcy law. Following the financial crisis, as a special adviser to the Treasury Secretary, she was instrumental in the creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. In 2012, she challenged Republican incumbent Scott Brown for the Massachusetts senate seat. Upon her election, she was asked to serve on the Senate Banking Committee. One leading financier told the New York Times that her appointment caused “widespread terror” on Wall Street.

Her fundraising emails are said to draw a greater response than any other Democrat besides Clinton and President Obama - she amassed $42m (£26m) for her 2012 Senate race. She also attracts a million views for her YouTube videos explaining the financial crisis.

And yet, speculation about a Warren presidential run remains mere media chatter for now. The Senator’s camp has insisted she will not seek the presidency, and she was recently among a group of Democrat woman senators who signed a letter urging Clinton to run. Premature polls among potential voters in crucial primary states show Clinton streets ahead of her rivals, with a 48-point lead over Warren in Iowa, and a 53-point lead in New Hampshire.

On Monday, Ed Rendell, former Democrat Governor of Pennsylvania, pooh-poohed the notion Warren could be his party’s presidential nominee. “If Hillary’s in the race, she has zero chance,” he told CNBC.

Warren has declined to be drawn by the magazine on if she was mulling a run in 2016. “You’ve asked me about the politics. All I can do is take you back to the principle part of this,” she told The New Republic. “I know what I am in Washington to do: I’m here to fight for hardworking families.”

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Sheridan Maine: Accounts Assistant

£25,000 - £30,000: Sheridan Maine: Are you looking for a fantastic opportunity...

Neil Pavier: Commercial Analyst

£50,000 - £55,000: Neil Pavier: Are you a professionally qualified commercial ...

Loren Hughes: Financial Accountant

£45,000 - £55,000: Loren Hughes: Are you looking for a new opportunity that wi...

Ashdown Group: IT Support Engineer - Professional Services Firm - Oxford

£21000 - £24000 per annum + 21 days holidays: Ashdown Group: Technical Support...

Day In a Page

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor