Why Elizabeth Warren Needs To Focus On Massachusetts [Opinion]

On Wednesday, November 29, 2017, Senator Elizabeth Warren questions Alex Azar, who is President Donald Trump's nominee to become Secretary of Health and Human Services, in a Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill.
Carolyn Kaster / AP Images

Elizabeth Warren continues to generate excitement among those that desire a stalwart critic of President Trump. They reward her every reproach with lusty cheers. There has also been the steady hum of talk of a possible presidential bid in 2020 from some Warren supporters. Nonetheless, as many have noted, a field of potential challengers is looking to unseat her. While political observers may declare it a safe one for the Democratic Party, recent elections have served as a strong reminder that voters have the ultimate word.

Although a number of voters in Massachusetts adhere to one of the two major political parties, their views can reflect nuances that are often absent from the typical partisan rhetoric. Additionally, unenrolled voters play a large role in determining the outcome of elections. Indeed, in early 2016, they constituted 53 percent of the state’s electorate. Today, they remain the biggest group of voters in Massachusetts. For this reason, a politician that recognizes the necessity and the value of bipartisanship and a cooperative spirit demonstrates a savviness that increases the likelihood of his success and survival.

This possibly explains Elizabeth Warren’s efforts at reaching across the aisle. According to a report from the Boston Globe, “conservative Republicans,” including West Virginia’s Senator Shelley Moore Capito, have spoken favorably of the work that they have been able to accomplish with Warren. Stretching back only over the last few months, these endeavors are sudden, however. Certainly, they do not jibe with the image that, for many years, the senior senator has done little to dispel.

Senator Elizabeth Warren leaves a rally organized in protest of President Donald Trump’s appointment of Mick Mulvaney as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s acting director. Manuel Balce Ceneta / AP Images

In an attempt to draw a distinction between themselves and Elizabeth Warren, possible Republican contenders for the seat that she currently occupies have stressed the need to bring people together rather than sow division. In particular, businessman John Kingston, one such hopeful, has argued that his commitment to unity and civility has permitted him to bridge many divides and function effectively in various milieux. In a recent Twitter post, he contrasted his philosophy with that of Elizabeth Warren.

Nevertheless, for many, one perceived strength that Elizabeth Warren has had is her persona as a strong female figure in a male-dominated arena. Republicans, however, stand ready to offer some girl power of their own with two other political hopefuls, Heidi Wellman and Beth Lindstrom. Both women offer ideas that challenge Warren’s current agenda. Wellman presents herself as a champion of political integrity, diversity, and the meritocratic ideal. As for Lindstrom, she packages herself as a candidate with a tough resolve, tempered by a gentle approach, that has enabled her to be successful in different sectors.

State Representative Geoff Diehl, who has worked to establish a reputation for taking the fight to the politicians and other figures whose actions adversely affect Massachusetts residents, has also officially announced his bid. Ongoing voter wariness vis-à-vis most politicians has heightened Diehl’s appeal.

Activist Darius Mitchell is equally seeking to be an alternative to U.S. Senator Warren. He has strongly advocated for criminal justice reform.

Mitchell has also pushed for smarter outreach in urban areas.

Voters that have become disillusioned with the two major political parties could have an option in the person of Independent candidate Dr. Shiva Ayyadurai. As an inventor and entrepreneur, Ayyadurai frequently speaks on the need to encourage innovation, which he sees as the key to growth and prosperity in the state.

Still, Elizabeth Warren will not be easy to defeat; she has a strong base of support and a formidable war chest. The large field of possible challengers for this seat reveals that there are enough restless voters that are open to entertaining a different message though. Further, the great diversity of these candidates shows the state’s electorate that it could have several interesting choices. Hence, in the months ahead, Elizabeth Warren needs to focus on her constituents and the issues that pertain to Massachusetts before allowing herself to be fully seduced by the allure of a 2020 presidential run. What happens here could either buoy or hurt a possible bid.