2016 Calling: Is Bernie or Liz There?

Excerpts from various newspapers this week concerning BERNIE SANDERS and ELIZABETH WARREN as possible candidates for the Presidency from the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party.*

John Nichols, THE NATION:

Bernie Sanders is not burning with presidential ambition. He doubts that he would consider bidding for the nation’s top job if another prominent progressive was gearing up for a 2016 run that would provide a seriously-focused and seriously competitive populist alternative to politics as usual.

But if the fundamental issues that are of concern to the great mass of Americans-“the collapse of the middle class, growing wealth and income inequality, growth in poverty, global warming”-are not being discussed by the 2016 candidates, Sanders says, “Well, then maybe I have to do it.”


If Elizabeth Warren is emerging as a kind of spokeswoman for the new economic populism that many Democratic activists want the party to embrace heading into 2014 and 2016, this speech that Warren is currently delivering on the floor of the Senate suggests the push to expand Social Security could become a key issue in the argument over the Democratic Party of the future.

In remarks Warren just began delivering, she strongly endorsed the push to boost Social Security benefits – in keeping with Senator Tom Harkin’s proposal to do the same – and condemned the “Chained CPI” that liberals fear Dems will embrace in strong terms. From the prepared remarks:

“The most recent discussion about cutting benefits has focused on something called the Chained-CPI. Supporters of the chained CPI say that it’s a more accurate way of measuring cost of living increases for seniors. That statement is simply not true. Chained CPI falls short of the actual increases in costs that seniors face, pure and simple.  Chained CPI?  It’s just a fancy way of saying cut benefits.

Dan Roberts, THE GUARDIAN:

Senator Elizabeth Warren, a former Harvard professor turned Wall Street scourge, is one of a clutch of unlikely radicals giving hope to those disenchanted with mainstream Democrats.

Hours before a rare public appearance last week, one of the largest rooms in Congress begins slowly filling up with an odd mix of groupies: policy wonks, finance geeks, Occupy activists, and, yes, the type of political conference attendee who brings their knitting in.

Warren proceeds to calmly recite numbers that could inspire even librarians to storm a few barricades. The Wall Street crash has cost the US economy $14tn, she says, but its top institutions are 30% larger than before, own half the country’s bank assets and are in receipt of an implicit taxpayer subsidy of $83bn a year because they are deemed too big to fail.

“We have got to get back to running this country for American families, not for its largest financial institutions,” concludes Warren, before noting how little President Barack Obama has done to achieve that.

When the same message was delivered to union leaders in September, she had therm standing on their chairs. But for the first time since the banking crash, the argument is connecting at the ballot box too.


* Yes, we know Bernie Sanders is an Independent. However, he caucuses with the Democrats and, quite frankly, he is more of a REAL Democrat than the officially endorsed Barack Obama who is somewhat to the right of Dwight Eisenhower.


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