News & Politics

Elizabeth Warren, Appearing at Netroots, Really Sounds Like She's Running in 2020

Netroots Nation is underway this weekend. It’s the annual gathering of liberals, leftists, and activist Democrats started by DailyKos founder Markos Moulitsas, and it’s pretty wacky. I’ve been to a few, and they’re incredibly revealing. Like how desperately they wish and hope for Senator Elizabeth Warren to run for president, for example.

Speculation on a 2020 run for Elizabeth Warren is not new. It’s come up many times already in press reports and on MSNBC talk shows and in every fiber of Rachel Maddow’s being before now. The Netroots don’t have a monopoly on it. But they want it bad.

When I went to the event, I tried to blend in. I was using my real name, not a fake identity, but that was no hindrance to a low-profile, believe me.

Me with cardboard cutout Obama at Netroots Nation 2012.

In Rhode Island in 2012, Elizabeth Warren wasn’t yet a senator, but she was wildly popular. Her talk was standing-room only. In 2014 in Detroit, they were handing out hats that said “Elizabeth Warren for President.” I wore one around as part of my blending-in outfit. I was again registered under my own name, just for the record, although they spelled it wrong.

My badge at Netroots Nation 2014 in Detroit.

I offer these anecdotes (and evidence that I was there) to point out how serious they are about Elizabeth Warren running for president. It’s not a passing fancy. Anyone who follows politics online knows how much the loudmouth wing of the activist left absolutely adores Elizabeth Warren. She speaks there year after year, starting first in 2010, and is one of the most well-attended and popular speeches every time. These far-left activists see in her a future president, a leader with vision, and a champion who will beat Trump.

And apparently, so does she. On Friday Warren gave what sounded very much like a campaign speech. Here’s an excerpt.

That is why we have come here to New Orleans. Because we believe that in America every family deserves a fighting chance, and we’re ready to fight as hard as it takes, as long as it takes, to deliver on that promise. I get it. It won’t be easy. We’re going to have to fight uphill. But me? I’m going up that hill. And I hope you are, too.

And I hope that you’ll reach your hand out and bring someone else along for the climb. Because we can only make it up that hill together. That is why we cannot afford to waste our time arguing about whose fight matters most. It’s one fight. And we have to stand with one another, for one another. We’ve got to embrace the unshakable truth that an attack on one of us is an attack on all of us. The Republicans will continue to practice the politics of division. They will keep right on attacking anyone who dares to stand up to the rich and the powerful. They will call us every ugly name in the book. Nevertheless, we will persist.

As a side note, read that second paragraph again. The hints about the divisions in the Democratic Party, which are very real and often based on the clash of special interests and protected classes over who is more protected, are amusing. “We cannot afford to waste our time arguing about whose fight matters most.” I’ll be chuckling about that for days.

But back to the future. It’s not just the speech that screams 2020 run. As The Daily Beast notes, her people handed out “PERSIST” signs for the speech. For optics, you see.

And there’s more, from the Daily Beast.

Warren has used the phrase “I’m going up that hill” before, as reported in a New York magazine feature speculating she could be one of many Democrats entering the ring to unseat Trump in 2020.

Her Netroots speech was devoted in part to the story of her upbringing in Oklahoma, her role in establishing the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and what she views as the overwhelming influence of money in D.C. politics.

“Money shouts, money screamsmoney commands,” Warren said. “And a lot of politicians—on both sides of the aisle—follow the money.”

Yep, that sounds pretty serious. Perhaps inevitable. With the rise of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and the increasing fervor and desperation among the unhinged left—and the battle they are facing against the unhinged right (who already essentially won their own intramural battle for the GOP)—the Nutroots are demanding to have their say. Which may mean they finally get the presidential run they’ve wanted for eight years.

Warren 2020 is probably the only dream that Donald Trump and Rachel Maddow share with equal fervor. So we’ll see how that goes.

Donald Trump thinking about facing Elizabeth Warren in 2020.