Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s most viral debate moments feature blistering rebuttals to challengers who dare emphasize presidential constraint or political limits. “I don’t understand why anybody goes to all the trouble of running for president of the United States just to talk about what we really can’t do and shouldn’t fight for,” she snapped at former Rep. John Delaney in the July debate. “I don’t get it.”
But the next Democratic president will be limited by Senate Republicans, as well as a political system that amplifies the voices of the rich and the connected. Warren offers the best shot at a transformative presidency even if those limits remain in place, and she’s got the clearest plan for attacking those limits head-on.
The case for Warren over her competitors is threefold. She understands America’s problems better than anyone else in the field, in part because it’s her research and analysis that now forms the base for much of the policy debate. She understands how to focus and wield the powers of the regulatory state better than anyone else, because she’s actually done it, and because it’s core to her political project. And she is, far and away, the candidate with the clearest plan for making ambitious governance possible again.
Warren is the only Democrat running for president who has built, or directly managed, a federal agency. That gives her a form of experience that is unique in the Democratic field but central to the work of the president. As my colleague Emily Stewart wrote in her excellent retrospective on Warren’s work setting up the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, “the real action in any administration is executive in nature: knowing what regulatory buttons to push, which enforcers can really go for blood, who to put where, and how to manage them.” And Warren does. [Continue reading…]