Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren share many views and both now tend to define Democrat populism. Of the two, I see Warren as the more genuine and with more staying power and less driven by ego. I'm sorry, but with Sanders, too much of the story is about him. Now, should fears that Donald Trump will lead the GOP to a rout in November prove true, a lengthy piece in Politico considers how Warren could be poised to take charge of the U. S., Senate, something that would be a true case of karma being a bitch for the Republicans who blocked her confirmation to head the CFPB. Here are some article highlights which I hope prove to be accurate:
In a normal year, the Senate would be likely to stay in Republican hands. But now that Trump has secured the nomination, the prospect of a powerful anti-Trump turnout puts as many as a dozen Republican-held seats in play—with the possibility of electing as many as eight new female senators to join the 12 Democratic women who will return in 2017. That would give us a new Senate with a Democratic majority, a historically large bloc of women—as many as 20 on the Democratic side—and one person ready to lead them. In short, Trump could end up making Warren one of the most powerful people in the Capitol.
It would be quite a set of ironies to cap off this strange national election: While Republicans decide which cliff to leap off, Trump’s nomination could unwittingly usher into power a small army of liberal women, following Warren into battle against wealthy money men like himself. And the gate-crasher who ran for Senate in 2012 because Senate Republicans wouldn’t let her run the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau could soon be pulling the strings of the Senate Democrats—and bossing around the very Republicans who blocked her.
For Democrats soured by Republican obstructionism during Obama’s eight years in office, the stakes couldn’t be higher. “Having the majority is critical. An example right now is what is happening to Merrick Garland,” Warren says. “The difference between majority and minority is being able to hold hearings and call votes.”
Of course, if Democrats take the Senate, it’ll be a Senate majority forged in Warren’s image. “A lot of groundwork is being laid in 2015 and 2016 for an Elizabeth Warren-style agenda to be put on the floor in 2017, if we have a Senate majority,” says Adam Green, co-founder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee.
In other words, it’s Warren’s Senate for the taking—but first she needs to pay for it.
It’s no secret that Warren is now the go-to banker for Democrats in need of campaign cash. But the amounts she can give directly pale next to what she can raise. (Direct donations aside, the PAC is primarily to cover costs for her travel to speak at fundraisers.) And the scary thing is, Warren’s influence and name recognition are so powerful that she doesn’t even need to get on a plane to get the money flowing. She just needs to hit send.
That alone would get Democrats a 51-seat majority. But the Trumpmare map also puts Arizona, Indiana, Iowa, Missouri, North Carolina and Ohio contests in play—a potential rout for the blue team. And even without Trump, the University of Virginia’s analysis throws six Senate race “Crystal Ball” ratings in the direction of Democrats. Other experts have made similar adjustments.
That’s eight Democratic women seeking to join the 12 who will be returning to the Senate in 2017—a potentially game-changing shift even within the Democrats’ Caucus, where a little less than a third are women. Warren’s transformation of the Senate could usher in not only a majority, but a particularly Warren-esque revolution: Democratic, female and progressive.
Asked if she sees herself as a potential leader of Democratic women in the Senate, Warren demurs but does not deny. . . . . Warren’s only real rival in terms of national following would be Sanders, whose historic presidential run has built a loyal following outside of Washington. But, as Barney Frank has made abundantly clear in recent public tirades, Sanders’ progressive Capitol colleagues have always looked at him as a party of one, not a leader or even a team player. He became a Democrat only last year, and has publicly conceded that he did so only for self-interest; he continues to list himself as an Independent for Senate business. And Sanders isn’t doing himself any favors with them by criticizing what he calls a “rigged” nominating system of superdelegates—which includes all Democratic senators. His failure to help raise money for down-ballot Democrats hasn’t helped either.
What she couldn’t have known was how perfectly the GOP might play into her plans. If Trump’s numbers don’t improve, the presidential contest could quickly become a foregone conclusion—pushing attention further toward the action in the Senate races. And, quite possibly, toward making Elizabeth Warren the new Queen of the Capitol.