Yet another liberal organization is signing on to the quixotic effort to convince Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren to run for President.
Democracy for America, the progressive organization founded by former Vermont Governor Howard Dean in 2004, announced Wednesday that it is spending $250,000 in a joint effort with fellow left-wing group Moveon.Org in a campaign to convince Warren to challenge Hillary Clinton for the 2016 Democratic nomination. (It's worth noting that Dean himself has already endorsed Clinton).
In a joint effort called the Run Warren Run campaign, the two groups plan on placing field staff in early states and recruiting volunteers in an effort to somehow persuade the first term Massachusetts senator to throw her hat in the ring. In a statement, Annie Weinberg, the electoral director for Democracy for America, said “Democracy for America members aren’t under the delusion that it is going to be easy to prove the Beltway pundits wrong and encourage Senator Warren to enter the 2016 race. If Senator Warren were already running, there’d be no reason to launch a draft campaign in the first place.”
The announcement comes as pro-Warren activists are holding their first major event in the Hawkeye State on Wednesday night. It also comes just a day after Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders was the keynote speaker at an annual holiday event held by Progress Iowa, a statewide progressive organization. In contrast to Warren, who has repeatedly ruled out a presidential bid, Sanders has been making campaign visits to Iowa for the better part of a year.
Further, while the Run Warren Run effort seems to be an attempt to match Ready For Hillary, it starts far behind the pro-Clinton organization. Ready for Hillary has raised millions of dollars, placed staffers across the country during the 2014 midterm election and has been operating with at least the tacit support of Clinton and many of her top advisors. In contrast, Run Warren Run will open its doors only thirteen months before the Iowa caucuses and with a candidate who has not shown any desire to run for the Oval Office.
The activists behind the pro-Warren effort clearly seem to be looking for a candidate to run to Clinton’s left in the Democratic primary. And while Warren is certainly the most formidable potential opponent to Clinton and has a sterling progressive record on issues like regulating the financial industry and student loan reform, there is no sign that she’s running. In contrast, their efforts have taken away oxygen from other candidates like Sanders or Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley whom The Washington Post recently reported is putting off an announcement on a presidential bid despite extensive efforts to aid Democratic candidates in early states like Iowa in 2014.
It’s easy to see why progressives want Warren to run. She’s far more of a national figure than O’Malley and Sanders, attracts significantly more interest and can be used to raise huge sums of money. But in doing so, they’re ignoring the wisdom of the great political philosopher, Stephen Stills who sang “if you can't be with the one you love, love the one you're with.” While it’s still possible that they might convince Warren to run as “the Democrats’ most powerful voice in the fight against income inequality” in the words of Charles Chamberlain, the executive director of Democracy for America, it’s not likely to happen. And the danger is that in the meantime, these progressives could make it impossible for any other Democrat running to Clinton’s left to establish a foothold.