“She's not narcissistic enough to run”
First, this statement isn’t wrong—it certainly takes a unique person to want to run for president, and it’s not a decision to take lightly.
But I’d posit that narcissism need not be the only reason for someone to run -- it takes someone who’s either narcissistic OR overwhelmingly, maybe even pathologically, committed to doing everything they can to make our country better. And if there’s one thing we know about Senator Warren, it’s that she’ll do anything she can to stand up for hardworking Americans and ensure everyone has a fighting chance. By all accounts, she doesn’t enjoy the political spotlight. She fights the status quo not to further her own interests but to serve those who are voiceless.
She’s committed to building a better future. She was willing to leave a great career in academia to join the Senate. She may be willing—if our movement can make our cries heard, and demonstrate enough support—to change her mind and throw her hat in the ring for what’s arguably the only job that has more power to affect the economy and our democracy than what she’s doing now.
“We had to drag her kicking and screaming into the Senate race”
It’s true that a draft effort is what convinced Senator Warren that we needed her voice in Congress. And look how that turned out!
Warren never set out to be a politician, and she repeatedly and authentically said she wasn’t interested in running for the Senate. But once her Massachusetts friends and neighbors encouraged her, and when she saw what she could accomplish if she ran, she jumped in and Scott Brown was history.
“She would get crushed”
To state the obvious, pretty much everyone expects Hillary Clinton to run for president, and assuming she does, she’ll be the clear favorite to win the Democratic nomination. Markos argues that Senator Warren wouldn’t stand a chance against Clinton.
But we have a different take. Recent polling has shown there is a major opening in the primary for a candidate with views like Senator Warren. In a poll of likely Democratic caucus goers and primary voters in Iowa and New Hampshire commissioned by Run Warren Run with data collection by YouGov, 97 percent of respondents agreed with Senator Warren’s stance on student loan rates; 98 percent also feel like the “game is rigged” for those in power; and more than 90 percent agree with her positions on expanding Social Security and breaking up big banks. The vast majority of respondents indicated they’d be open to supporting a candidate other than Hillary Clinton.
Senator Warren’s policies are widely supported. And voters in battleground states across the country are inspired by her track record of fighting for middle-class and working people.
Others have expressed concerns that Warren would be too competitive and thereby hurt the party via a divisive contest. But I’d argue that everyone’s better activists, the eventual nominee, the party, our democracy—with a contested primary. We need our best candidates in the race to test each other and make each other stronger. We need our nominee in fighting shape when the general election campaign begins. The classic example here is Barack Obama, who emerged from a competitive primary with a stronger message, a tested campaign, and a ballooning grassroots crowd of supporters. Nearly every respondent (98 percent) to the poll I mentioned above agree that a contested primary is good for the party.
“The Senate is all the perch she needs”
Some have argued that Senator Warren should stay in the Senate—she’s a galvanizing force, they note, and she gets things done.
Absolutely: Senator Warren, if you’re not president, we need your voice in the Senate! But the good news is that, were she to run and not win the party’s nomination, her Senate seat wouldn’t go anywhere. In fact, running for president as a senator is quite common; just ask anyone from John McCain to Joe Biden to other great Massachusetts legislators like John Kerry and Ted Kennedy. Kennedy could be a good model here -- after his unsuccessful bid for the presidency, he returned to the Senate to become its “Liberal Lion.”
The thing is, if you believe in Senator Warren’s vision and call for a fairer economy and democracy, where everyone has a “fighting chance,” the presidency is, hands-down, a more powerful post. We should be trying to elevate our best fighters to the highest-possible post, not tell them to stay put where they are.
“She would be marginalized as a fringe figure”
Markos argues that a failed presidential bid would allow Republicans to paint Senator Warren as a fringe figure. But no matter what political office Senator Warren holds, she’s going to be attacked by Republicans. President Obama is subject to right-wing attacks and criticisms—and any Democratic nominee for president will be, too.
But as Markos also pointed out, Senator Warren has a huge base of supporters and a massive following on social media, and our Run Warren Run campaign is growing that base of support. Running for president would only expand her audience and bring message to more people—whether she becomes our party’s nominee or heads back stronger than ever to the Senate.
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Our team and hundreds of thousands of Americans across the country are working every day to show Senator Warren that this is her moment—and that we’ll stand by her side if she runs. (To stay up-to-date on whether Senator Warren is running, check out new tongue-in-cheek site IsElizabethWarrenRunning.com.) If she doesn’t, at a minimum, we’ll have helped demonstrate the wide base of support there is for her leadership across the country, and to have moved the presidential debate in a more progressive direction (even Republican candidates are now parroting Warren’s rhetoric and talking about the need to fight economic inequality).
To put it simply, working to convince Senator Warren to run for president is a win-win situation. We’d love for you to join our campaign at RunWarrenRun.org. And I’d love to hear your reactions in the comments below. I'll be back at 1 p.m. Eastern to engage with you in the comments.