|photo courtesy AP|
Before Elizabeth Warren announced her Senate campaign, she was within 9 points of Scott Brown. Granted, polling has it's limitations, especially this far out. Still, it carries some sobering gravity for the Brown campaign and reflects a coming together of dynamics for the widely-respected, consumer advocate.
Many political observers have edged towards stating the race is hers to lose. We aren't hedging our bets, she will beat Scott Brown. Here's why:
- This is no Coakley campaign. Warren has likely shaken more hands, stood on more chairs in more living rooms, raised more money, energized more people within the first month of her campaign than the former MA Attorney General did in her whole campaign. While Coakley's campaign was aloof, entitled and frequently lacked the presence of the candidate; Warren's candidacy is happening at the grassroots level, both warm and electric, and above all, sincere. Brown will have no choice but to try to paint Warren as a brie-eating, liberal, harvard professor but it is too late. Warren has aggressively been able to define herself simply and effectively. The day she announced she wasn't in a hotel ballroom, she was shaking hands at a subway station all morning. Brown's moves to label her as an elitist will noticeably smack of the disingenuous and hurt his standing in the public eye more than help.
- This is not 2010. While the Tea Party core is as energized as ever, the movement's size and influence has markedly deflated (inside and outside of the GOP) as dissatisfaction with Congress has grown. There is also no shortage of evidence that disfavor within the Tea Party ranks for Mr. Brown has grown as well. The sitting senator will still be able to amass considerable funds, but the "boots on the ground" organizing, knocking on doors, getting out the vote, will be fewer in number and less energized despite being a presidential election cycle. He was able to get out his vote in an off-year election with poor overall voter turnout in 2010. In 2012, Obama is expected to take the state with 60% of the popular votes. The question isn't how many Obama voters will vote for Warren? The question is how many more votes will Warren get over Obama? Sure, he's popular in the state, but he's not Warren popular. The hardcore Dems who get out the vote have quite publicly loss favor with the Presidents lack of leadership on the principles he ran on in 2008. Alternately, these same activists see the steel-jawed champion in Warren as fully on board, if not with each agenda item, but with steady, aggressive leadership on a good number of them.
- Warren will beat Brown at his own game. Candidate Brown was able to come off as a likable, trustworthy, populist. The candidate you would have a beer with. Next to Warren, Brown comes off slick, staged and no longer an outsider but with a record in the Senate that will do him no favors. Warren spent the past two years making a name for herself as an effective consumer advocate for the rights of middle class in economics and finance. She set up a watchdog agency for Wall Street against the best efforts of the ridiculously well-funded lobbying groups. She couldn't get Congressional approval to lead it. Why? Because she speaks truth to power. Always. And many didn't want to hear, or want you to hear, what she had to say.
- Which leads us to trust. Money, compelling bio's, party regulars, media teams, economic plans - both candidates will have in spades. But trust is the rarest of commodities in politics. It is campaign gold, it is campaign platinum. And Ms. Warren exudes a natural sincerity and hefts a personal record of grit and dedication that makes her one of the most trusted public figures in America. You can take that to the bank. Or Senate Chamber, rather.
|Ms. Warren Speaking standing on top of a chair at a packed house gathering in Pittsfield, MA on August 19th, one of 12 in three days. Before she announced her candidacy.|
If Elizabeth Warren’s appearance in Pittsfield last night was anything like her appearance in Framingham on Thursday, then she was simply spectacular. Her Thursday evening appearance in Framingham turned out to be quite an event. She was unabashedly liberal and she knew how to defend that liberalism effectively. You could actually feel the electricity and energy in the room. She was able to tell a story and relate to her audience. Every person there knew they were watching an impressive and dynamic figure who, if elected, would surely become an immediate leader in the Senate. There were persons in the room who were already committed to other candidates, many of whom are of unusually high caliber, but after listening to Elizabeth Warren, those who previously supported other candidates knew that she was the Democrat to beat. And, whether they stick with their candidate or not, they know that this was someone of substance who could defeat Scott Brown. I have not felt such electricity and excitement for any candidate for any office for a very, very long time.
I have never attended such a crowded house party. All the elements are in place – biography, command of the issues, experience pushing back against a stubborn Congress. She says she’ll keep speaking out regardless of whether or not she runs or is elected, but she’ll have a much better platform IMO as a Senator than as an academic.
The deal isn't done, though, folks. The fact that the race is hers to lose means just that. She needs to keep up the unenviable pace. Stay consistent on her message. Keep the high road. Go door to door. Get to those church suppers. And make sure her team is lined up behind her, maintains focus and works as hard as she does.
Sure, it's not a lock. But we're still going to call it. And we are going to do EVERYTHING at The Deal to help assure the outcome. (And we never write in all caps so it should be obvious that we are quite serious.)
We need a lioness in the Senate. And so do you.