The dream, it seems reasonably safe to conclude, has finally died. Elizabeth Warren, whose decision not to run for president in 2016 has been met with feelings of consternation and disappointment among progressive leftists, is breaking hearts, too. That is to say, her decision to sit out the 2016 election has forced the “Run Warren Run” apparatus into—shall we say—early retirement.
In an editorial published at Politico Magazine, two representatives of the organization conceded that they ultimately failed in their mission. But at the same time, they also intimated that the issues they raised—and the conversations they started—were good for the movement:
Today we announce the suspension of our campaign to draft Elizabeth Warren into the presidential race. There’s no sugar-coating it: We didn’t achieve our central goal. But there’s a bigger story that gives us tremendous hope: as one headline put it, “Elizabeth Warren may not be running, but she’s in the 2016 race anyway.”
In the six months since we launched the Run Warren Run effort, Senator Warren’s agenda and message have transformed the American political landscape. Echoing Warren’s famous adage that “the game is rigged,” Hillary Clinton declared in her campaign announcement that “the deck is still stacked in favor of those at the top.” Bernie Sanders emerged out of the gate as a far stronger contender than political bookmakers could have imagined just a few months ago. And Martin O’Malley launched his campaign on Saturday calling for the breaking up of big banks and jailing of Wall Street crooks. Even some Republicans are positioning themselves to run against inequality (although their proposals would exacerbate it).
To be sure, Warren—and grassroots economic populism more broadly—was already a rising force well before our efforts began. But look closely at the way the Run Warren Run effort unfolded, and you’ll see why, for us and for the 365,000 people who signed up, this campaign has already succeeded. Although Run Warren Run may not have sparked a candidacy, it ignited a movement.
Perhaps it did. But progressive leftists, who went so far as to write cheesy, crappy campaign songs about Ms. Warren in the hopes of getting her into the race, must be sorely disappointed. Hillary Clinton, after all, is part of the establishment, which is one reason why a recently-declared Democratic presidential candidate chided her in his announcement speech, both for her ties to Wall Street and Wall Street financiers. Warren’s liberal successor Bernie Sanders, meanwhile, is drawing huge crowds, but failing to inch his way up the polls. And Martin O’Malley, bless his heart, is virtually unknown to everyone.
I suspect if Warren did run, however, she stood a reasonably good shot of defeating HRC in the primary, given that the former first lady is polling terribly on so many different issues. She’s vulnerable. Then again, now that that ship has sailed, progressives will be stuck holding their noses, voting for her no matter what because there is no plausible alternative. In that sense, progressives have utterly failed in their efforts to convince a Warren-esque candidate, who is both electable and charismatic, to challenge the party's heir apparent. How sad.