Elizabeth Warren is showing resilience and moxie as a presidential contender. Following a controversy regarding her ancestry and dismal polling numbers among high-polling candidates Pete Buttigieg, Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders, she has still managed to garner attention by eking out ambitious and detailed policy proposals.
Warren has the most policy-centric campaign so far, defying the traditional strategy of relying on soaring rhetoric to turn out voters. She released substantive policy proposals early, drawing on political research that would traditionally be a turn-off to voters. Her strategy has actually made people excited for her campaign - “Warren has a plan for that” has become somewhat of a rallying cry.
Although I find it a bit early to choose a favorite, Warren takes the top spot on my ever-changing list. Using policy as a focal point seems like something from a political science student’s dream. Warren has found a way to make it legitimate and hip - and somehow not boring to the general public, or at least those interested in following the primary.
According to polling data, Warren is in a solid third place behind Biden and Sanders. A way to view her position is this:
She is almost directly competing for support from the left with Sanders.
Her progressive brand of politics is competing with Biden’s moderate branding.
It is still unclear which brand would compete the best against Donald Trump in the general election.
It is worth noting that most polls conducted a year before the election are relatively unreliable, as the margin of error is extremely high and things change quickly in politics. Also worth noting is the difference between a primary voter and a voter in the general election, as they often prioritize differently. But given that Warren keeps up her momentum (and that her policy-centered candidacy doesn’t get old), she may be able to stand out in the primary and remain steadfast in her progressive ideals in the general election.
Finally, it is important to recognize that we are still seven months out from the primary and there is considerable room for factors to change, especially after the debates and as the primary focus broadens to states other than Iowa and New Hampshire.
Warren, as of now, may be in the best position to pull support from moderates tired of “both sides” of the political spectrum being driven by rhetoric and mudslinging. Focusing on policy while remaining one of the strongest forces on the leftward end of the spectrum has Elizabeth Warren in a powerful position - a position which could unify the splintered left. Her background as an academic and outspoken critic of America’s financial system also show that she has a long record of knowing the problems and developing solutions - which has great potential to appeal to swing-state voters. Her placement in the first Democratic debate among conventionally lesser-known company, as opposed to the big names of the second debate, may also help her chances.
If we want someone powerful, well-spoken and competent to take on Trump in 2020, Elizabeth Warren may be our best bet - and she has plenty of time to prove it.