It’s noteworthy that, in his piece, Scheiber doesn’t say much about Warren’s signature on a secret letter urging Clinton to run for the Democratic nomination. At most, he argues, it’s a pledge that won’t stand if Warren decides the presidency is key to advancing her policy agenda.
But, to my eyes, that letter says everything about where Clinton stands vis a vis the rest of the Democratic Party. In short, 2016 won’t be 2008, where Clinton was a powerful but contentious figure in the party, and a well-organized challenger could capitalize on grassroots anger and establishment discontent to derail her path to the nomination. Now, Clinton is a wildly popular figure, with one of the highest statures in American politics. Among Democrats, 67 percent favor her for the nomination (compared to 4 percent for Warren) , and in an early poll of potential New Hampshire primary voters, she has the highest favorability ratings—near 80 percent—of any potential candidate. This is a far cry from 2006, where—at most—she had support from a plurality of Democrats.
Scott Lemieux agrees:
One thing to add is that the younger voters who are more supportive of economic populism are also the least likely to vote in primaries, which will make it harder to break Clinton’s hold on the party’s base. And as admirable as Warren is as a public figure, given that she ran 7 points behind Obama in Massachusetts whether she can appeal to a broad enough based of Democratic voters in a wide enough variety of states to pose a serious threat to Clinton is an open question.
Drum thinks, in Scheiber’s piece, that Warren comes across as “a novelty candidate, the kind who enter the race mostly because they want the exposure it gives their cause, not because they have any chance of winning—or even of seriously affecting who does win”:
Now, maybe Scheiber is being unfair to Warren. Maybe she’s not quite as messianic as all that, and maybe over the next few years she’ll start to develop considered views on non-banking subjects at the same time that she develops shrewder political skills. That would make her a more dangerous contender. But if Scheiber is right about her, I think he’s pretty much undermined his own case.