Our Opinion: Sen. Warren and the long road ahead

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Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren has formed a committee to explore her run for president, which, in modern parlance, means she's running. On New Year's Eve, Sen. Warren became the first big name to enter what is sure to be a crowded field of Democrats seeking to take on President Trump in 2020.

In endorsing Sen. Warren for re-election to a second term last November, The Eagle urged her to commit to another six years as a senator — not seek the White House. Instead, Sen. Warren began hinting at a White House run in the weeks before she was re-elected to her Senate seat. With the Iowa caucus and New Hampshire primary a year away, the senator will spend at least the first year of her term and perhaps much or all of her second term running for president, which is hardly an ideal situation for someone holding such an important elected office.

Sen. Warren's battles against Wall Street and big corporations and her advocacy for the middle class and college students burdened with huge loans earned her the backing of The Eagle and broad support among Democrats. She is the darling of the party's left wing, and the party's moderates fear she is too far left to win a general election. She would certainly be portrayed as a radical by the White House and the Republican Party in a general election.

Interestingly, polls indicate that Massachusetts Democrats are lukewarm about her candidacy for president. That may be because they prefer she focus on her second term as senator, and/or they fear she will be Hillary Clinton redux as a presidential candidate. President Trump, whose sexism came to the fore in his campaign against Mrs. Clinton, hasn't been shy about expressing his disgust with Sen. Warren, whom he has long referred to disparagingly as "Pocahontas" in reference to the Oklahoman's Native American heritage. The senator isn't to blame for the way the president talks and tweets about her, but Democrats may prefer a candidate who is less likely to be a lightning rod for Mr. Trump and his supporters on the far right.

There is also what Democratic state Representative "Smitty" Pignatelli refers to as the "stigma" of being from Massachusetts (Eagle, Jan. 1). Governor Michael Dukakis and Senator John Kerry both received the Democratic Party presidential nomination but failed to win election. Democratic Senator Edward Kennedy, another darling of the left, lost the Democratic nomination to incumbent President Jimmy Carter. Even a Republican governor, Mitt Romney, couldn't win the presidency after winning his party's nomination. Massachusetts has become where presidential hopes to go die, and Democrats may not want to be burned by another Massachusetts liberal.

Sen. Warren's background, career, record as a senator and proven ability as a fundraiser will make her a formidable candidate. She is tough and won't be bullied by Mr. Trump. She will be opposed for the nomination, however, by candidates from purple states that Democrats need to win who will portray her as too far to the left and too confrontational by nature to win moderate and unenrolled votes. Sen. Warren has undeniable strengths. Some of those strengths, however, could emerge as weaknesses in the long campaign ahead.

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