Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Warren predictions

My Research magazine "Political Monitor" column for February is now online, and looks at the political prospects of Elizabeth Warren: "The Warren Effect." Excerpt:
Will Warren win? More likely than not; the race is volatile and could go either way, but Warren should be considered the favorite. Massachusetts is a predominantly Democratic state, and her campaign can be expected to generate a degree of supporter enthusiasm that Brown would be hard-pressed to match. Brown’s chances depend on a high turnout by independents.
What impact would a Sen. Warren have? She surely would have some effect in pressing financial regulators to implement the rules of Dodd-Frank and other existing laws more aggressively. However, her ability to do this, or moreover to create any major new legislative initiative on finance, would be limited by a close balance of power between Democrats and Republicans in the Senate.
The Senate’s current partisan breakdown is 51 Democrats and 47 Republicans. The 2012 elections put into contention 21 Democratic seats and just 10 Republican ones, and the 2014 elections involve another 20 Democratic seats and just 13 Republican ones. A Sen. Warren probably would be part of either a slim majority or a minority during her first term.
There is also a noteworthy potential for tension between a Sen. Warren and other Democratic legislators, particularly ones with heavy backing from the financial industry. In castigating Scott as a recipient of Wall Street cash, candidate Warren did not mention that topping the Forbes list she cited were New York’s Democratic senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand.
Will Warren get elected president in 2016? This is improbable, as it would require not only beating a Republican, possibly an incumbent, but also first gaining the Democratic nomination against a field that may include far more experienced rivals such as Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden. It would require a Sen. Warren to win over swing voters while keeping her base enthused, and to thrive on public dislike for Big Finance while keeping sufficient Wall Street support for the Democratic Party. Could she do all that? Not likely, though a few more financial crises and scandals would help.
Whole thing here.

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