Boston Globe Editorial Board: Please Run, Ms. Warren

Posted: Mar 23, 2015 2:30 PM
Boston Globe Editorial Board: Please Run, Ms. Warren

On Sunday, the city of Boston’s most influential left-of-center newspaper urged Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) to change her mind and challenge Hillary Clinton for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination. And while the Boston Globe did not go as far as to publicly endorse her, the editors did express two reasons why she should at least re-think disappointing her supporters: First, handing the nomination to any presidential candidate on a silver platter is never a good idea and could be disastrous in the end; and second, issues progressives care deeply about would almost certainly be pushed to the periphery if she sat on the sidelines:

Clinton’s deep reservoir of support, from her stints as first lady, New York senator, 2008 presidential candidate, and secretary of state, no doubt poses a formidable obstacle. But Barack Obama overcame Clinton’s advantages in 2008, and Warren or another candidate still could in 2016. Even if they don’t, Clinton herself would benefit from a challenger. As former Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick put it recently, “My view of the electorate is, we react badly to inevitability, because we experience it as entitlement, and that is risky, it seems to me, here in America.” Fairly or not, many Americans already view Clinton skeptically, and waltzing to the nomination may actually hurt her in the November election against the Republican nominee. …

Indeed, the big-picture debate on financial regulation and income inequality is what’s most at peril if the Democratic primaries come and go without top-notch opponents for Clinton. While she has a great many strengths, Clinton seems far more likely to hew to a cautious approach on economics. Her financial backing from Wall Street, her vote in the Senate to reduce bankruptcy protections, and her past reluctance to raise capital-gains taxes are no secret. Nothing about her record suggests much gumption for financial reform or tackling the deeply entrenched economic problems that increasingly threaten the American dream.

Only a candidate like Sen. Warren, in other words, can prepare Hillary Clinton for a tightly-contested general election while simultaneously raising issues progressives hope will be amplified. Hence, by committing to the race early she would be doing the party a great service, even if she loses. “If Warren runs with conviction, and can clearly articulate voter unease with the widening divide between the 1 percent and the struggles of middle-class Americans, her candidacy will be welcomed,” the editors write. "Welcomed," of course, would probably be an understatement.

Still, polls show Sen. Warren trailing Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden in the polls. At the same time, the first-term senator has already squashed rumors she's interested in answering the call. But if Hillary Clinton, who is perceived by many to be unbeatable, fails to weather certain scandals or avoid making credibility-shattering gaffes, could there not be an opening for a more progressive, fiery candidate to become the Democratic standard-bearer?

Perhaps. Clearly, however, this is a contingency many (if not most) of our friends on the Left would find agreeable.