Warren was the only Democratic woman in the Senate not to show solidarity with Clinton. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)
Updated 6:08 p.m. | Sen. Elizabeth Warren is wielding her voice for American progressives by staying quiet.
Warren was the only one absent when every other woman Democratic senator threw her support behind Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Rodham Clinton at an event on Capitol Hill Monday evening intended to raise money and highlight Clinton’s support.
In one sense, Warren’s absence showed progressives in the Warren Wing of the party that she would stick with them, even as others, such as New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, have recently endorsed Clinton.
“Elizabeth Warren is her own force. She recognizes she plays a very important role and the candidates very much want her endorsement,” said Charles Chamberlain, the executive director of the progressive group Democracy for America.
“In D.C., you have to leverage your power to get things done. It’s exciting she’s held out as long as she can. By doing that, she’s leveraging her power to get the candidates on board with her issues” he added. “That’s why we’re seeing ‘Warren Wing’ issues dominating.”
A video produced by the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, a group aligned with Chamberlain’s DFA, noted statements from Clinton, Sen. Bernard Sanders, I-Vt., and former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley aligning with Warren on issues eliminating college debt, strengthening Social Security and weakening banks viewed as “too big to fail.”
At the height of the speculation in August about a possible presidential bid by Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., Warren had what she later described as “a long rambling policy conversation” with him at his residence in Washington.
When asked earlier in the year whether she will endorse in the presidential race, Warren said, “I imagine that’s what I’ll do.” In the meantime, she has not shied from offering critiques and advice to Clinton and the other presidential contenders. This summer, she said that a Democratic president’s progressive credentials should be questioned if their nominees for regulatory posts are too close to those they are supposed to regulate.
“Anyone who wants to be president should appoint only people who have already demonstrated they are independent, who have already demonstrated that they can hold giant banks accountable, who have already demonstrated that they embrace the kind of ambitious economic policies that we need to rebuild opportunity and a strong middle class in this country,” she told a crowd at Netroots Nation in July.
Despite the excitement on the left about Warren’s sway, some others in the party have voiced concerns that she might be pulling the party too far out of the mainstream. William Daley, one of President Barack Obama’s former chiefs of staff who has close ties to the finance industry, is chief among them. Speaking at an event hosted by the centrist think-tank Third Way, Daley warned that pulling Clinton too far to the left in the direction of Sanders, who identifies as a socialist, is “a bad model for a general election.”
(See Roll Call’s Endorsement Tracker)
Warren is one of only six Democrats in the Senate not to endorse Clinton. Some of her female colleagues in the Senate say they believe she’ll get behind Clinton when she’s ready.
“I think in her course of time, she’s going to come out for Hillary,” Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., told MSNBC on Monday.