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Elizabeth Warren Is a More Interesting Late-Entry Prospect Than Joe Biden

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Reprinted from The Nation



Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren met over the weekend to discuss presidential politics. And the whole of American political media is still talking about it -- when it isn't talking about Donald Trump.
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The focus is on Biden, who is exploring the prospect of a somewhat late entry into the race for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination.

The focus is wrong.

It should be on Warren.

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If it should be anywhere at all.

The Biden speculation has hit something of a fever pitch, as some Democrats and a lot of commentators have begun to speculate about whether Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton's campaign is losing steam. But there is a good argument to be made that this talk about Clinton's political "vulnerability" is inflated. The former secretary of state remains the clear leader in the race the Democratic nod. The same polls that put Clinton ahead in the race for the nomination have both Clinton and Biden beating prospective Republican nominees; Biden's advantage is marginally stronger, but the numbers are within margins of error.

If concerns about Clinton were to escalate to a point where another prominent Democrat might see an opening, there is plenty of time to expand the field. Filing deadlines have not passed; the first debate has not even been held.

Biden would certainly be a credible late entry. He has immense experience, base voters are genuinely fond of him, and the man who trumped Paul Ryan in the 2012 vice presidential debate is undoubtedly prepared to take on even the most volatile Republican.

But if there is room for another contender, there is a solid case to be made for Warren.

There are at least two reasons for this:

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First, Hillary Clinton's backers have made a compelling argument that Democrats should nominate a woman for president in 2016 -- with an eye toward both equity and practical politics. The equity argument is well understood: The next president will be serving when the United States marks the 100th anniversary of the enactment of the 19th Amendment; it is clearly time to realize the full promise of that amendment. The practical political argument is equally well understood: When Democrats mobilize turnout among women voters, especially younger women voters, they benefit from a gender gap that in recent decades has often provided the party with its margins of victory.

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