When looking within the Democratic Party for a candidate who could emerge from near-political obscurity to make a run at the 2016 presidential nomination, Elizabeth Warren has to be in the discussion. While her lack of concrete political experience makes her a long shot, she has been embraced as a rising star by the left. This November she will be running against Republican incumbent Scott Brown in the high-profile and closely watched Massachusetts Senate race.
Elizabeth Herring was born and raised in Oklahoma to a father who worked as a janitor and a mother who answered phones for Sears. In her high school years Herring was an accomplished debater and graduated with a full-debating scholarship to George Washington University. After two years she dropped out to marry her high-school boyfriend, Jim Warren. She went on to graduate from the University of Houston with a degree in speech pathology and audiology. After moving with her husband to New Jersey she decided to switch from teaching to studying law. She graduated Rutgers School of Law in 1976 and after having two children she divorced her first husband in 1978. In 1980, she married her current husband Bruce Mann, a Harvard Law professor. She went on to teach at the University of Texas, the University of Michigan, and the University of Pennsylvania, and finally settled at Harvard in 1995.
Since the early 1980’s her focus has been on the economic issues and conditions that affect the middle class of America. She has stated that her devotion to fighting for middle class economic rights began after she conducted a detailed study of bankruptcy in America. This was shortly after Congress passed a law in 1978 which made it easier for companies and individuals to declare bankruptcy. During her research she discovered a vast majority of people in bankruptcy courts were hard working middle class citizens who lost jobs or their savings due to illness or family breakups.
She was highly critical of the deregulation of the banks in the 1980’s. She blamed banks for tricking and luring American’s into making bad credit decisions through the use of high credit card and checking account penalties as well as perplexing fine print. Her skeptical stance towards banks has not wavered and played a large part in her later role in the Obama government’s attempt to quell the recent financial crisis.
In 2008 Elizabeth Warren was appointed by Senator Harry Reid to chair the five-member Congressional Oversight Panel created to oversee the implementation of the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act. During her time leading this panel she became a hero to the left for her constant push for accountability and transparency from the large financial institutions which took the bailout money. She has also been criticised by bankers and the right for lacking the experience within the financial industry as well as being predisposed to seeing the big banks as deceitful.
In 2010 the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) was created as a watchdog agency designed “to make markets for consumer financial products and services work for Americans — whether they are applying for a mortgage, choosing among credit cards, or using any number of other consumer financial products”, according to the bureau’s website. Despite being an important advocate for its creation, Warren was not appointed to lead the agency. She was instead hired on as Special Advisor to the President on the creation of the agency.
Warner has garnered a lot of attention recently for her talk on fair taxation and other liberal ideals. One example can be found in this You Tube clip which has gone viral in the last few months. The Economist analyzed this clip by writing, “this is precisely the sort of rhetoric Democrats need to perfect in order to hold ground in the next round of national elections.“ If Warren is able to win the Massachusetts Senate seat in November she will surely see her stock continue to rise within the Democratic Party. This in turn would put her in a good position for a suprising run at the 2016 Presidential nomination. She certainly wouldn’t be the first junior senator to achieve such a feat in the past decade.