(Quin Hillyer, Liberty Headlines) Some observers think U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren, the outspoken uber-“progressive” Democrat from Massachusetts, is putting her presidential cart before her senatorial horse.
Warren is starting a book tour that many believe is as much about positioning for a presidential race in 2020 as it is for her re-election to the Senate in 2018, even though she swears otherwise.
Her poll numbers, though, aren’t very good, indicating (at least by some analyses) that she is no shoo-in for re-election to the Senate. In January, a respected poll for TV station WBUR found that more of her home-state voters think it’s time to “give someone else a chance” than those who think she “deserves re-election.” Earlier this month, Morning Consult found that her “net” approval ratings (positive minus negative) at home, at 18 percent, are among the 25 lowest of the 100 senators – and with six of those doing worse than her experiencing abnormally low ratings after bruising 2016 campaigns.
Granted, Massachusetts is an overwhelmingly Democratic state where self-described independents don’t necessarily hold the balance of power they hold elsewhere, but another WBUR poll, out four days ago, still evinces reason for Warren to worry. In small towns in Massachusetts, not just Republicans but independents hold negative views of her – by a 54-33 margin.
Warren insists that her new book, out this week, is not a precursor to a White House run in 2020, but merely a call to arms for Middle America. The book is titled “This Fight Is Our Fight: The Battle to Save America’s Middle Class.” But she won’t give a definitive “no” when asked if she will eventually run for president.
And no wonder. For hardline liberals, Warren remains one of the most popular politicians in the country, the heir apparent to the national following attracted by avowed socialist Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont. The liberal site Politicus USA praised Warren on Tuesday for “pulverize[ing] Republicans with the one question that Trump fears the most,” namely one effectively comparing tax breaks and lack of tax transparency for the rich while “everybody else pays.”
In addition to her book tour at major venues across the country, Warren will be the keynote speaker in front of some 10,000 people next weekend at a Detroit fundraiser for the NAACP, and is also making the rounds of network news shows.
Conservatives aren’t letting her go unscathed, with various groups on the right sponsoring major research into her record, looking for embarrassing material to tout in the media. Much of the research will be on policy substance, but other parts of it will try to build her reputation as a flake and a scam artist – beginning with her much-mocked claim to be of American Indian ancestry in order to gain preferential treatment in academia. President Donald Trump famously and repeatedly referred to Warren as “Pocahontas” during last year’s campaign, and conservative columnists now have gone a step further, calling her “Fauxcahontas” instead. (“Faux” is French for “false.”)
From either side, Warren clearly is seen as a galvanizing figure, with even liberal billionaire Warren Buffett once pronouncing her too divisive to be an effective national candidate. And, unlike Sanders, Sen. Warren is not seen as having the odd charm of eccentric authenticity.
So, to conservative eyes, Warren looks like both a nut and a faker. Conservatives clearly hope to reinforce that image of her among the broader public.