It’s definitely a mistake to think that the scandals that have dogged Hillary Clinton over the past few weeks will have any impact on her future, or her intended coronation. She’s a Clinton, after all, and Clintons are immune from the ill effects of bad policy, bad press and bad ideas. And if they’re not, they’ll throw around some decorative accessories until things go their way – or the aide assigned to tell them the bad news has the kind of amnesia-inducing concussion that people only get in soap operas.
But it seems that, at least privately, Hillary’s most obvious challengers are considering whether they have the foundation to mount a challenge. This week, as Hillary Clinton bunkered up and Bill Clinton flouted his bank account, Elizabeth Warren just happned to pow-wow with some of her most ardent progressive supporters, who just happened to also be the masterminds behind the Draft Warren movement.
In an hourlong meeting with her staff and a 30-minute meeting with Warren, the group of about a half-dozen top progressive activists — including three who were active in the “Draft Warren” movement — did not discuss the draft campaign. Instead, the conversation focused on issues of social and racial justice. They highlighted specific issues the senator can use to influence the presidential debate in 2016 and, they hope, push Hillary Clinton to the left on issues including police brutality, immigration reform, the privatization of prisons, and reducing naturalization fees to promote naturalization, among other issues.
The meeting’s purpose was to see “how Elizabeth Warren, with her platform, could work with us to move a progressive vision for the country and really engage with communities of color,” said Jonathan Westin, director of New York Communities for Change, who attended. “That goes hand in hand with what she’s already doing.” Warren is addressing problems that are “part and parcel of what we believe is wrong with this country,” he said.
Apparently, the Warren’s staff was “confused” about the allegiance of her visitors and only found out about their movement when they read it in the papers. Which means that either everyone who Elizabeth Warren hires to work in her office is an unqualified idiot (possible, since the only people I can imagine working for her would normally be employed in the tie-dye tee shirt industry), or Elizabeth Warren is quietly doing what she rightfully should do, which is explore the possibility that Hillary Clinton may not be a shoo-in for the nomination. The progressives have finally managed to develop their own “Tea Party” caucus, and if they can turn their attention from shaming Joss Whedon off Twitter and organizing “safe spaces” with coloring and soft toys for weak-minded female campus activists, they could do some damage to the existing Democratic political structure.
The problem is, of course, Elizabeth Warren has a rather select appeal. Draft Warren events have been notoriously poorly-organized and poorly-attended. The “Run Warren Run” weekend was an abject disaster, as aging English professors who had planned for massive house parties were left to eat the untouched organic crudite all on their own. While Hillary Clinton may seem like yesterday’s news, a vast majority of Democrats are still enchanted by her 90s era appeal and her tailored pantsuits. Fauxcahontas may be popular at NPR donor events and graduate student mixers, but she’s far from a spectacular bet.
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