How Elizabeth Warren Became the Soul of the Democratic Party

“I would say she’s the best progressive Democratic politician I’ve seen since Bobby Kennedy,” said Bob Kuttner, the co-founder and co-editor of The American Prospect, lauding her for “making pocketbook populism feel mainstream.” Kuttner added, “She managed to block Barack Obama from appointing Larry Summers to chair the Fed. She’ll go to heaven for that by itself.” Warren became famous for viral confrontations with bank regulators and the likes of Obama Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, but Kuttner said she’s also “a great inside player” on Capitol Hill.

“She’s been very intentional about building coalitions across the Democratic Party—and occasionally with Republican senators—for her economic populist position,” Green said, “and has made it increasingly safe for Democratic politicians to follow her lead.” To demonstrate how Warren “proves the credibility of her ideas,” he pointed to Senator Jon Tester of Montana. “People like Jon Tester, who is a prairie populist but not seen as a left-wing ideologue, felt safe not just following her into battle but taking a leadership role.”

Moderate Democrats won’t all agree that Warren has become the center of the party. But Warren elicits respect from unusual sources, including the man Bloomberg Businessweek once called “Wall Street’s Favorite Democrat”: Congressman Jim Himes, chair of the centrist New Democrat Coalition. Asked about Warren’s presidential prospects—and Walter’s contention that “the Warren platform” could end up as a litmus test for 2020—he said, “I think it’s possible. There’s a lot of energy on the left wing of the Democratic Party.” Though he hails from a district with “a huge amount of financial services,” the congressman offers plenty of praise for one of Wall Street’s harshest critics. “I’ve never sort of tallied it, but I agree with Elizabeth Warren on much of what she says,” he said. “I agree with a lot of what…

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