There's only one person in the Democratic party who has a credible path to beating Hillary Rodham Clinton in a 2016 Democratic primary. And her name is Elizabeth Warren.
As we've written before, Warren has the national profile, the liberal icon status and the demonstrated fundraising capacity -- $40 million for a Senate race ain't too shabby -- that would, theoretically give her a chance to run as the liberal/non-establishment alternative to Clinton. Now, we don't think she's running. And, even if she did Clinton would be tough to beat. But, Warren went to Minnesota over the weekend to headline the Humphrey-Mondale dinner, a fundraiser for the state Democratic party, and showed why she would create some nervousness in the Clinton ranks if she did change her mind.
Now fast forward to Iowa in the fall of 2015. And imagine Warren telling a crowd packed with Democratic activists this: "I'm fighting to level that playing field. I'm fighting to build real oppoortunity, fighting to give every child a chance to build something extraordinary. And I want you to fight alongside me. We are in this together." Or condemning the "big banks [who] looted the economy." Or slamming Ted Cruz, who could well be in Iowa at the same time, as someone who if he was "around for the Declaration of Independence, he would have tried to repeal it because Jefferson was a Democrat."
It's a powerful riff -- particularly in a place like Iowa where the average voter is likely more liberal than Clinton. And it's one that Hillary Clinton due to the very Hillary Clinton-ness that she represents wouldn't (and couldn't) give.
Again, Elizabeth Warren is almost certainly not running for president in 2016. But if she did, she might be able to make it one hell of a race.