Elizabeth Warren for president? Four reasons she won't run in 2016

The buzz around Elizabeth Warren running in 2016 is rising – or perhaps reaching a crescendo. But there are at least four reasons why the Senator from Massachusetts won't run for president.

(AP Photo/Detroit News, David Coates)
Sen. Elizabeth Warren, (D) of Massachusetts waves to the enthusiastic crowd after her introduction at the Netroots Nation conference in Detroit, Friday, July 18, 2014. Warren has captured the hearts of Democratic activists.

On Friday, Elizabeth Warren's 17-minute speech in Detroit to the Netroots Nation conference, a gathering of progressive activists, was reportedly interrupted by chants of "Run, Liz, Run!"

For months now, the Massachusetts Senator has traveled the country hawking her memoir, "A Fighting Chance," and more recently campaigning for other Democrats running for Congress. At every stop, she's been peppered with the question: Are you running for president? Would you challenge Hillary Clinton for the 2016 Democratic nomination?

Sen. Warren has consistently denied that she's running. But that hasn't stopped a grassroots group called "Ready 4 Warren," which launched its website this past week.

Despite all the buzz, here are four reasons Elizabeth Warren isn't likely to run for president in 2016.

1) Warren isn't interested.

Elizabeth Warren isn't behaving like a presidential candidate. She'd not taken some of the key steps, for example, that Barack Obama did when he was in the Senate and preparing to run. Her focus has been primarily on the work of the Senate, and she dodges reporters on Capitol Hill, Dana Millbank of the Washington Post notes:

While Warren is a compelling figure — a feisty populist at a time of inequality and resentment — her actions since arriving in the Senate suggest she has neither interest in nor aptitude for a presidential candidacy.

... Congressional reporters say that Warren is unusual among senators in her refusal to take questions. She is invariably guarded by staff as she walks about the Capitol, and the few interviews she has done have generally been on defined topics (such as her book), where the risk of unanticipated questions is low.

Such reticence is certainly not a fault. But it is the behavior of a lawmaker who plans to keep her head down and to do her job as a legislator — not somebody who is contemplating the glare of the national spotlight. She has plunged into policy and is doing whatever she can to shield herself from unscripted moments.

2) Warren doesn't have the support.

A real liberal revolt in among Democrats hasn't materialized yet. A NBC/Marist poll released this past Thursday shows Hillary Clinton would crush her own party rivals in a primary race in New Hampshire and Iowa.

As The Christan Science Monitor's Peter Grier writes:

Overall, [Hillary Clinton's] favorability among Democratic voters is 89 percent positive, 6 percent negative in Iowa, and 94 percent to 4 percent in New Hampshire.

That supposed space on her left for a liberal challenger, such as Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts? It’s not there in Iowa and New Hampshire. It’s not really there in national polls either – the RealClearPolitics rolling average of major polls has Clinton as the first choice of 65 percent of Democrats in a multicandidate field. VP Joe Biden gets about 12 percent, and Elizabeth Warren, 7 percent.

3) Warren isn't ready.

Sen. Warren has focused on domestic, not international, issues. Presidential (and vice presidential, right Sarah Palin?) candidates need to be able speak knowledgeable and credible on global issues. The freshman senator from Massachusetts is not on the Senate foreign affairs or military or intelligence oversight committees. Warren serves on the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs. She's on the Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions (HELP), and she serves as a member of the Senate Special Committee on Aging. 

4) The Cherokee question.

Warren's 2012 campaign against Scott Brown for the Senate was nearly derailed by questions about her native American heritage and what role it played in her being hired at Harvard University.

As The Christian Science Monitor reported, Harvard listed her as a "minority."

Harvard hired her, and she was viewed as boosting racial diversity. The Boston Herald cited a 1996 Harvard Crimson article in which a law school spokesman listed "one native American" as part of a diverse faculty, a reference to Warren. Similarly, the Crimson in 1998 referred to Warren as "the first woman with a minority background to be tenured" at the law school, the Herald said. 

The Boston Globe reported that in 1999, Harvard published an affirmative action report that lists a native American professor at the law school, specifying that the individual is female.

If Warren ran, this issue would certainly resurface. While this alone isn't enough to keep her from running, it could be factor.

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