It’s as if we skipped right from 2018 to 2020. On Monday, Sen. Elizabeth Warren became the first major Democratic candidate to formally dip a toe in the water of the 2020 presidential campaign, announcing the creation of an exploratory committee. Not everyone who creates an exploratory committee ends up becoming an official candidate, but Warren is very likely to. For all intents and purposes, she is now running for president.
Warren has experienced a swift rise, if not a meteoric one, to political stardom. A celebrated consumer advocate and law professor, she oversaw the Troubled Asset Relief Program (better known as the post-financial crisis “bailout”) and shepherded the creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau during President Obama’s first term. In 2012, she ran for and won elected office for the first time, defeating Republican incumbent Scott Brown 54 percent to 46 percent in the U.S. Senate race in Massachusetts; she was re-elected by 24 points in 2018. Though not quite at the level of the current Beto-mania, she’s had her moments as a progressive folk hero — a viral video on fair taxation that helped clear the field for her first Senate campaign and Mitch McConnell’s swag-spawning complaint that “Nevertheless, she persisted” after she was cut off in the middle of a speech on the Senate floor.
But if you listen to conventional wisdom — and our favorite quasi-scientific tool, betting markets — Warren’s star has dimmed in recent months. President Trump’s repeated references to her as “Pocahontas” have kept alive a seven-year-old controversy over Warren’s claims that she has Native American ancestry, which potentially helped advance her career. Her release of a DNA test in October 2018