Markos Moulitsas: Don't draft Warren

Markos Moulitsas: Don't draft Warren

It may have been fun while it lasted, but it’s time for the Draft Warren people to either pack it in or find a candidate truly interested in challenging Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonFBI’s top lawyer believed Hillary Clinton should face charges, but was talked out of it Harris adds key Clinton aide, women of color to 2020 campaign: report Democrats more likely Trump's foil, than to foil Trump MORE for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2016. 

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenCoast Guard lieutenant arrested, accused of planning domestic terrorism Hillicon Valley: Microsoft reveals new Russian hack attempts | Google failed to disclose hidden microphone | Booker makes late HQ2 bid | Conservative group targets Ocasio-Cortez over Amazon Trump campaign fundraising on Bernie Sanders's M haul MORE, target of the enthusiastic draft effort, has never expressed the slightest hint of interest. To the contrary, she has been very clear from the beginning that she wasn’t interested in a presidential bid. 

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That shouldn’t be surprising to those who know her well. She was reluctant to run for U.S. Senate, and it took a concerted, months-long effort to get her to take that plunge. The rigors of a national campaign don’t suit her, nor does she exhibit the kind of narcissistic egotism that leads a person to think that he or she is the best person to lead this country. 

Furthermore, public polling shows no indication that Clinton is vulnerable. To the contrary, numbers today show a level of unity among Democratic primary voters unprecedented in modern political history, garnering the support of between 55 percent and 66 percent of Democrats, depending on the poll. At the same point in the 2007 cycle, Clinton was mired in the low 40s, and Barack Obama in the mid to high 20s. Stupid people may have talked about 2007 Clinton being “inevitable” but the data suggested anything but. This year, with Clinton’s closest challengers in the low teens, it couldn’t be more inevitable. 

So it’s not surprising that Warren has consistently and repeatedly declined the invitation to run. Yet those seeking to draft her are persisting at all costs and to comical extremes. 

For example, back in December 2014, a spokesman for the draft effort clarified what it would take to end their efforts: “She’s been very consistent in speaking in the present tense. The way this speculation will end is if she says, ‘I am not running and I will not run.’ That would end the draft effort.” Two weeks later, asked by a reporter “So are you going to run for president?” Warren gave the most unambiguous answer possible: “No.”

So there it was, a clear “no” answer about whether she would run in the future. And how did the Draft Warren movement respond? “This isn’t a new position for Senator Elizabeth Warren. Senator Warren has been clear for years that she isn’t planning on running. If she were running, there wouldn’t be a need for a draft effort.”

So the Draft Warren folks went from “she hasn’t said she won’t run” to “she’s always said she’s not running,” while breaking their promise to quit. 

Too bad. The insistence on building a cult of personality around Warren obscures the fact that Democrats have been extremely successful in building a progressive populist bench the last several cycles. And if these folks really think they need a primary challenger to move Clinton to the left, why not pick a willing candidate, like Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, to carry that torch? 

Fact is, Warren’s positions on key issues are extremely popular with voters, from student loan relief to breaking up too-big-to-fail banks to expanding Social Security. It is important that liberals get Hillary Clinton to adopt those positions, both because they’re best for our country and because they’re best for her electoral prospects. Pining for a white-knight candidate who won’t ride to anyone’s rescue isn’t the way to accomplish that. 

Moulitsas is the founder and publisher of Daily Kos.