a warren piece
August 30, 2019

There might be an upside to Sen. Elizabeth Warren's (D-Mass.) GOP past.

As Warren rises to become one of the frontrunners in the 2020 Democratic primary, party rivals are reportedly looking to slow her ascent by pointing out that she was a Republican before 1996. But seeing as the Democratic Party is trying to play to disaffected Republicans sick of President Trump's leadership, that's not exactly a bad thing.

Warren was known as a conservative law professor throughout the 1980s and '90s, calling government regulations a "tax" before going on to fight big business today, CNN reports. And now that she's topping primary polls, three rival campaigns tell Politico they're exploring that history for opposition research into Warren. One adviser suggested they've drawn up a brutal response in case Warren brings up a candidate's record on a debate stage: "Nobody else here has been a Republican before." Sen. Bernie Sanders' (I-Vt.) top fan Susan Sarandon publicly used that line of thinking to attack Warren at a rally last week.

Yet Jerry Taylor, a co-founder of the moderate Niskanen Think tank, tweeted Friday that Warren's past "is a campaign asset, not a liability." She can borrow former President Ronald Reagan's quote and suggest the party "left her," not the other way around, Taylor continued. The Washington Post's Dave Weigel echoed that analysis in a tweet, pointing out that the 2020 Democratic nominee will want to win over Republicans who have problems with their current leader. But he rightly noted that not all of those disaffected Republicans left their party, meaning they'll be of no help to Warren in closed primaries. Kathryn Krawczyk

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