In case you've been hiding under some coats this week, liberals are keyed up on the idea of recruiting Elizabeth Warren to run for president in 2016. Warren showed why in a speech on the Senate floor Wednesday, protesting the inclusion of a measure that would loosen restriction on derivative trading in a $1 trillion spending bill Congress is expected to approve this week.
It's worth watching the entire speech -- it's less than eight minutes from beginning to end -- but if you are either super busy or an easily distracted millennial, pay particular attention to the first 49 seconds of this clip.
Here's the key line: "I come to the floor today to ask a fundamental question -- who does Congress work for? Does it work for the millionaires, the billionaires, the giant companies with their armies of lobbyists and lawyers? Or does it work for all of us?"
Warren's anti-Wall Street, populist rhetoric, heavily focused on reducing or eliminating income inequality, sits at the core of the Democratic base's belief system at the moment. In a recent NBC-Wall Street Journal poll, almost six in 10 Democrats (58 percent) agreed with the idea that economic and political systems are stacked against them. As WSJ's Neil King notes, that sense of a rigged system is far from a Democrats-only belief; "51 percent of Republicans; 55 percent of whites; 60 percent of blacks; 53 percent of Hispanics; as well as decent majorities of every age and professional cluster, including blue-collar workers, white-collar workers and retirees," all hold it, according to King.
But, the sense of not only a widening gap between haves and have-nots but also a sort of a built-in institutional unfairness to it runs extremely strong within the Democratic base. That goes double when the very likely nominee for the party in 2016 is neither a) a populist or b) anti-Wall Street.
Speeches like the one Warren gave Wednesday will just fuel chatter about why she should challenge Hillary Rodham Clinton in two years. And she knows it.