Republicans aren't waiting until 2020 to try to take down Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), a possible candidate for the Democratic nomination. They are starting their campaign now, in the guise of harming her 2018 Senate re-election campaign, on the theory that this strategy worked against Hillary Clinton, report McClatchy's Alex Roarty and Katie Glueck. "We learned from our experience with Secretary Clinton that when you start earlier, the narratives have more time to sink in and resonate with the electorate," said Colin Reed, executive director at the GOP super PAC America Rising.
America Rising has already started the campaign, saying its efforts to document and publicize any Warren missteps will not only help her 2018 opponent but also allow Republicans to "continue developing the long-term research and communications angles to damage her 2020 prospects." Ryan Williams, a longtime aide to Mitt Romney, sees merit in Reed's "political death by a thousand cuts" strategy. "The more serious her campaign is, the more opportunities to make mistakes," Williams said. "Republicans would love to see her make a few gaffes in this race that could be used against her in 2020."
Warren doesn't have a 2018 opponent yet, but "Republicans believe that whoever emerges as the nominee could have a benefit rarely afforded underdog candidates: money," Roarty and Glueck report. "Warren's national presence could help funnel donations from conservatives across the country — especially if, as many GOP strategists speculate, [President] Trump takes aim at the senator."
The Warren team is trying to turn the likely onslaught of outside money to its advantage. "It's no surprise that out-of-state billionaires will attempt to buy the election in their favor," said Kristen Orthman, a Warren adviser. "Corporate interests are looking for a return on their investment so they give to Republican super PACs in exchange for tax breaks for the rich or legislation that benefits their bottom line." Read more at McClatchy DC.