April 3, 2017

Warren’s National Efforts Create Problems Back Home

With her re-election campaign coming next year, Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) is going to need some good press from her home state, not just fawning liberal bloggers. If a new Boston Magazine profile is any indication though, Warren has a serious problem with her home state press core.

While many liberals assume Warren is a lock for re-election, Boston Magazine correctly notes that Warren’s recent activities create major vulnerabilities for her outside of Boston:

“But first there is the matter of her reelection. After four years in the liberal vanguard, Warren is possibly the most deeply polarizing figure in the state. Massachusetts is often depicted as a left-wing mecca, but we’re also the state that rocketed Mitt Romney to political prominence and now has a Republican governor with a 59 percent approval rating. Despite our liberal reputation, our dirty little secret is that once you leave the coast, the state’s political sensibility is closer to that of western Pennsylvania than Brookline. So as much as Massachusetts Democrats adore Warren’s brand of fiery populism, to a certain type of independent voter—let alone a conservative—her rhetoric can seem just as over the top, vitriolic, and off-putting as Trump’s.”

What furthers this narrative about Warren’s home state troubles is the fact that unlike a Senator like Ted Kennedy, she has no record of delivering for her state:

“As an advocate for progressive causes, Warren rivals Ted Kennedy. By other measures, the jury is still out. What’s often overlooked about Kennedy, the “lion of the Senate” and liberal icon, was his laserlike focus on delivering for the state. He first ran for Senate in 1962 with the slogan ‘He Can Do More for Massachusetts.’ When his back was against the wall, like during his bitterly fought 1994 reelection campaign against Mitt Romney, Kennedy touted what he’d done for the state, trotting out oversize Treasury checks on the campaign trail: “Here’s $750,000 for preliminary work on restoring rail service between New Bedford and Boston. Here’s $400,000 for the cleanup of Buzzards Bay. Here’s $1 million of EDA money….’”

While Warren’s failure to deliver for Massachusetts is a big deal, the piece also notes that Warren can’t even get her resistance to the new administration completely right. When Warren flip-flopped on Secretary Ben Carson’s nomination, it came about because of intense liberal pressure, not new information:

“It’s a role that hasn’t been without its hiccups—notably, when she and several other progressive senators voted in favor of housing and urban development nominee Ben Carson at the committee level, faced tremendous blowback from the base, then switched to a “no” during the full floor vote. ‘There was virtually no new information between the time she said she was going to support him to the time she opposed,’ says Marty Linsky, a Harvard Kennedy School faculty member and ex-aide to former Governor Bill Weld. ‘The only new information was that her national base was furious.’”

Warren wants to be the national Democratic leader. Yet if Warren isn’t careful she’ll be a leader without a following in Massachusetts anymore.