She’s from Democrats’ favorite workplace, a university, and most supportive
profession, tenured professor. But, most importantly for the 2016 election, she has credibility on the Democrats’ issue de jour, income inequality.
Warren, at 64, is not young, but she is new on the stage, and as a bankruptcy law professor, advocate for consumer rights and an author of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, she has a built in base in the party’s large anti-bank and anti-Wall Street wing.
But possibly Warren’s greatest strength is the contrast with Hillary Clinton, who now represents the apex of the Democratic establishment and is weathered from 35 years in the public eye, starting as the first lady of Arkansas. Clinton, due to the 2008 campaign and her husband’s two terms, represents the party’s center-left, especially on economic issues.
New and anti-establishment is what a lot of Democrats are looking for, even though the public may be drifting back to the middle and even right side of the political spectrum after two terms of Barack Obama. Ironically, Democratic dissatisfaction for Obama comes largely from his left. He’s not liberal enough, not aggressive or bold enough for many in the grassroots.
This nomination contest may be similar to the dynamics in the 2006 to 2008 period when Obama appeared on Hillary’s left and stole the nomination. In 2008, it was mostly Baby Boomers’ distrust of Clinton and their desire to give the purer liberalism of their youth a try with Obama. Today, it’s largely the X Generation, millions of whom have moved into the electorate.
For Democrats in 2016, the most critical characteristic is being a woman. A white man is not likely to see a Democratic nomination for a long time. The party’s base is now with minorities. While women are in fact the majority, the feminist view is one of minority status and being aggrieved.
In other words, a woman is up for the Democratic nomination, and Warren has some interesting assets if she wanted to go.