Progressive groups are hoping to change Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s mind and convince her to run for the presidency in 2016, but the Massachusetts senator is still saying no.
The liberal group MoveOn launched an online member poll today to gauge their interest in drafting the liberal favorite for 2016. The result of that vote will be released at 11 a.m. Wednesday.
MoveOn is also hosting a petition in support of the draft campaign. In just over the first three hours 25,000 members signed their petition.
Another group, Democracy for America, said they would join forces for the “Draft Warren” movement if a majority of MoveOn’s 8 million members vote yes. Democracy for America said it would hold a similar vote of its members this week.
The developments are a clear sign that the liberal wing of the Democratic party are unhappy with the way the current Democratic field is shaping up -- namely just Hillary Clinton.
Warren’s press secretary Lacey Rose said today, "As Senator Warren has said many times, she is not running for president." Warren has said the same repeatedly herself, but she’s always been careful to phrase it in the present tense.
MoveOn asked their 8 million members to vote on whether they think Warren should run in 2016. If members vote yes they will launch a "Run Warren Run" campaign to convince Warren to get into the race. MoveOn says this is the first time they are conducting a vote of this kind in their 16 year history. If members vote yes, MoveOn says they will set up offices in Iowa and New Hampshire and assemble a "national volunteer army" on behalf of Warren. They will also run ads and invest at least $1 million in the first phase of the launch.
In a statement, MoveOn’s executive director of political action Ilya Sheyman said if their members “vote to move forward, we’ll go all out to encourage Senator Warren to take her vision and track record of fighting tooth-and-nail for working people and the middle class to the White House.”
“There is too much at stake to have anything other than our best candidates in the debate,” Sheyman said. “We are prepared to show Senator Warren she has the support she needs to enter — and win — the presidential race.”
Sheyman added they would “move quickly” in response to a positive vote and their “national team-based organizing strategy” is “inspired by President Obama’s powerhouse grassroots campaign.”
Democracy for America, another progressive group, will join MoveOn in their Draft Warren effort if MoveOn members vote in support of Warren. DFA’s Executive Director Charles Chamberlain described Washington consultants explaining why Warren shouldn’t run as “beltway blather” and says the Democratic Party “need(s) Warren's voice in the 2016 presidential debate.” In a 2016 presidential poll of its 1 million members last month Warren came out on top.
Those two groups are not alone. The Progressive Change Campaign Committee has already begun organizing with local activists in early-voting states to promote the “Warren wing” with progressive Democrats. They announced earlier this month that they deployed a Democratic organizer to meet with local Democratic Party leaders, county chairs, union leaders, elected officials, and PCCC activists in New Hampshire to begin organizing a local coalition ahead of 2016.
Warren gave an address today at the “Managing the Economy” conference in Washington that is sure to endear herself with these activists even more. She expressed her disapproval over the president’s choice for the Treasury Department’s under secretary for domestic finance, Antonio Weiss, and strongly criticized Weiss while diving into a larger critique of the relationship between Washington and Wall Street, describing their relationship as too cozy and hurting average Americans.
Warren said the “revolving door rips the heart out of independent government service,” noting it rewards Wall Street financiers for serving in government with the implicit understanding they will help them when they are in the private sector.
“As long as the revolving door keeps spinning, government policies will continue to favor Wall Street over Main Street,” she said. “I hope you will join me in saying enough is enough.”
ABC's Veronica Stracqualursi contributed to this report.