The elections of Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio have generated new energy in the Democratic Party’s liberal wing, especially among critics of President Barack Obama’s centrist course who fear a Hillary Rodham Clinton presidency would mean more of the same.
The former secretary of state’s support for a tougher foreign policy than Obama’s in her new book, “Hard Choices,” won’t assuage them.
But while Clinton’s book and accompanying tour have attracted enormous attention, and her standing within the Democratic Party remains very strong, there are increasing signs its liberal wing remains determined to play a role in 2016.
While Warren said she doesn’t have plans to seek the White House, a fellow New Englander seems interested. Bernie Sanders, Vermont’s independent senator, told The Nation magazine in March, “I am prepared to run for president of the United States.” But he added he had not decided whether, if he did run, he’d do so as a Democrat or an independent.
Sanders recently made an Iowa appearance. And Eric Davis, professor emeritus of political science at Vermont’s Middlebury College, told The Washington Post he thinks the onetime Socialist mayor of Burlington “is definitely going to run, and that he’s more likely to run as a Democrat than as an independent.”
Sanders is not Clinton’s only possible challenger from the left. Former Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer, who visited Iowa last year, said in an interview with the Weekly Standard that Clinton has shown a tendency to “shift hard right.” He said he is considering running even though he also said a presidential bid “would ruin my life.”
De Blasio presumably won’t run, but he’d like to play a role. The Democratic National Committee named New York City one of six finalists for the party’s 2016 convention, and de Blasio said he hopes to hold the main sessions in his home borough of Brooklyn, one of the nation’s most liberal areas.