Could Elizabeth Warren Thwart a Clinton Presidency?

Clinton’s ties to the Wall Street wing of the Democratic Party could spell trouble for a presidential run.

Photo Credit: "Elizabeth Warren" by Tim Pierce / CC-BY-2.0,

The press seems to have anointed Hillary Clinton as the next Democratic presidential nominee. But Clinton’s ties to the Wall Street wing of the party could prove trouble for her future. Could Elizabeth Warren, the progressive Senator from Massachusetts, thwart what seems to be the inevitable?

That’s the question that New Republic editor Noam Scheiber takes a look at in a blockbuster piece titled, “Hillary's Nightmare? A Democratic Party That Realizes Its Soul Lies With Elizabeth Warren.”

Warren could tap into a growing sense among younger Democratic voters that the time has come to punish Wall Street for its misdeeds and address income inequality. Clinton is decidedly not the candidate to do that.

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Clinton’s tied to the Robert Rubin-school of Democrats that President Obama has thrown his lot in. That school raises money from Wall Street donors and shies away from threats of using the courts to prosecute bankers who committed crimes. Clinton’s worker at the Clinton Foundation depends on, in part, the largesse of those Wall Street donors.

Warren is miles away from that posture.  She has made a name for herself by taking on Wall Street and the banks.  She was the one who pushed for a Consumer Protection Financial Bureau, which big-money vociferously objected to. And Scheiber notes that the victory of Bill de Blasio in New York City’s mayoral election is an indication of the way the wind is blowing in the Democratic Party: to the left.

Of course, a Clinton nomination would be formidable to go up against.  Scheiber writes that if the Clinton machine doesn’t shift left on economic issues, Warren will have an opening. But Clinton could attack Warren on other issues, like foreign policy.

Scheiber’s reporting, though, indicates that Warren won’t be afraid of Clinton. “She has an immense—I can’t put it in words—a sense of destiny,” a former Warren aide told The New Republic. “If Hillary or the man on the moon is not representing her stuff, and her people don’t have a seat at table, she’ll do what she can to make sure it’s represented.”


Alex Kane is former World editor at AlterNet. His work has appeared in Mondoweiss, Salon, VICE, the Los Angeles Review of Books and more. Follow him on Twitter @alexbkane.