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WASHINGTON--While the campaign for president seems to be endless, the recent and very public entry of Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren into the 2020 election marks a beginning.

Democrats are likely to have a large primary field in their effort to defeat incumbent President Donald Trump and Warren is the first, but certainly not the last, qualified and politically viable candidate to run.

Viability is a word that pundits, strategists and activists use to narrow down large fields of candidates.

However, you may remember that Trump's first campaign was, almost universally, considered not viable, so you need to understand that viability is ultimately determined by voters.

Several questions should be asked and answered when considering viability: Is the candidate well-known? Is the candidate experienced working on specific issues crucial to voters? Will she or he be able to raise the money needed to compete? Can they connect to primary voters and to the wider general electorate?

I'd say viability, while not dependent on satisfying all of these criteria, certainly depends on satisfying most of them.

Warren is professionally accomplished as a law professor and scholar, experienced as an advocate for working-class Americans in her work on fairness in banking, and has served with distinction as a United States senator.

And she has become well-known through her outspoken advocacy, is beloved by primary voters in the progressive wing of the Democratic Party and is even a frequent target of Trump's ire and ridicule.

She is also a former Republican, adding to her potential crossover general election appeal.

Warren's experience advocating for consumer protections, especially in banking, allows her to deliver a genuine and expert narrative on the damaging economic divide that voters everywhere feel and are yearning to solve and she delivers this message in an engaging way when she campaigns or speaks publicly.

A result of her popularity is that Warren was in the top 10 for fundraising in 2018, despite not having a particularly competitive re-election. That suggests she has the basic campaign finance viability needed to compete.

Now, while Warren is the first viable candidate to enter the race, even though a few others missing some of those key criteria have already entered, she will not be the last. Serious consideration will need to be given to other candidates as well.

Assumed candidacies include former Vice President Joe Biden as well as Sens. Bernie Sanders, Sherrod Brown, Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, Jeff Merkley, Amy Klobuchar and Kirsten Gillibrand.

There are many other well-known Democrats considering as well, including popular Beto O'Rourke of Texas, who narrowly lost his initial try for the U.S. Senate last year.

The list includes other elected officials such as Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Others expressing interest include former Attorney General Eric Holder, entrepreneur Andrew Yang and another dozen potential candidates.

While not delving into every candidate, a few short examples of viable candidates would be Biden, who has already won twice nationwide; Sanders, whose primary challenge of Hillary Clinton was remarkably strong and wide in its support; and Brown, who has won tough contests in battleground Ohio as a progressive while championing working-class issues including trade.

The campaign for 2020 will be exciting and an important decision will need to be made. Voters are fortunate to have what seems to be a strong, inspiring, diverse, progressive, and yes, viable field of candidates to choose from. And Warren definitely fits that bill.


Don Kusler is national director of Americans for Democratic Action, the nation's most experienced progressive advocacy organization.

Editorial on 01/11/2019

Print Headline: Sen. Warren's the real deal


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  • PopMom
    January 11, 2019 at 6:59 a.m.

    This guy is a Warren stooge. She would be the WORST candidate the Democrats could put up short of Ocasio-Cortez. What swing state could she bring in? The answer is zero. I have more black (1%) and hispanic blood (2%) in me than she has Native American. She is as narcissistic as Trump. Her little stooge fails to even mention Amy Klobuchar who is climbing among political pundits and is up to 10% in PredictIt.

  • WhododueDiligence
    January 11, 2019 at 8:52 a.m.

    PopMom, yes, Klobuchar would be a better choice than Warren. But regarding narcissism, Trump resides way up there in the narcissism stratosphere watching himself being worshiped by Fox people while ignoring his daily briefings. So in comparison way down here Warren's percentage of Trump's narcissism is close to the percentage she's Native American.

  • Skeptic1
    January 11, 2019 at 9:15 a.m.

    "Warren is professionally accomplished as a law professor and scholar," who lied about being Native American at Harvard to get "special" consideration and recognition. Yes please Liawatha please run, the fact she is being seen as a real candidate shows how far off the "reservation" the Democrats are. You just can't make this stuff up.

  • WhododueDiligence
    January 11, 2019 at 10:28 a.m.

    "You just can't make this stuff up."
    Yes, you can. Take "Liawatha" for example. "Liawatha" is made up. And, Skeptic, it's highly likely you can't find any reliable source to support your claim that Warren got special consideration from Harvard. Fact Check dot org and Politifact both tried and failed to find evidence to support that claim. Right-leaning sources have tried and failed too. Several people involved in Warren's hiring and tenure process strongly denied that claim which Scott Brown made when he was running against her for US Senate in 2012. Harvard had listed her as Native American based on her response to a survey of faculty in which she had reported was part Native American. That might have benefited Harvard in its quest to show diversity among faculty, but nobody can show evidence it benefited Warren.
    Be careful what you wish for. You might not want this alleged "Liawatha" debating Trump in 2020. Trump might say something really dumb like the time he said "Pocahontas" during a ceremony honoring Native American World War II heroes. You can't make that stuff up. Trump can, though. There's no end to what Trump can make up and in a debate Warren would show him little or no mercy.

  • GeneralMac
    January 11, 2019 at 10:36 a.m.

    Democrats supporting Elizabeth Warren or Bernie Sanders have learned nothing from the 2016 election.

  • Packman
    January 11, 2019 at 11 a.m.

    Sure, Fauxahontas is as good as any. Go for it, Dems.
    The reality is Democrats will only nominate a candidate who is for amnesty for all, supports sanctuary cities, demands huge tax increases to fund the New Green Deal demanded by Alexandria Occasional Cortex, abolishing ICE, anti-Israel, repeal of the 2A, socialized medicine, and "free" college for all. Whenever they settle on this "perfect" nominee, President Trump will be re-elected in a landslide.

  • 23cal
    January 11, 2019 at 11:20 a.m.

    Whodo: Good accurate information which will go without rebuttal from the Turnip Truck bunch.
    Isn't it amusing when people who support Pinocchio talk about Liawatha, Fauxahontas, and Pocahontas? The hypocrisy is thick enough to cut with a chain saw.

  • Packman
    January 11, 2019 at 11:30 a.m.

    Hey 23cal - Is that the same chainsaw PopSnob says foreign trespassers will carry in their backpacks and use to cut through those silly border fences?

  • PopMom
    January 11, 2019 at 11:35 a.m.


    The Washington Post had a more in depth story indicating that she did benefit from being a “minority.” Harvard touted her as a minority professor in their statistics. While Warren was able to get professors at Harvard to convince some news sources that her minority status was not s factor in her hiring, the fact that she was touted by the school as a minority suggests otherwise. In any event, she is too far to the left and shrill. She comes from a safe Democratic State, and she is another candidate from the northeast. We need swing states!

  • WhododueDiligence
    January 11, 2019 at 11:48 a.m.

    People who support Pinocchio seem smugly certain he'll win big by a nose, going away.