By Jon Keller

BOSTON (CBS) – “I am not running for president in 2020,” Sen. Elizabeth Warren kept saying during multiple network TV interviews this past weekend, adding that her focus is strictly on re-election to the Senate from Massachusetts this fall.

And why wouldn’t she say that?

Warren knows Massachusetts voters are – after Michael Dukakis, John Kerry and Mitt Romney – sick of local pols with Potomac fever. And the fact is, while Warren refused to flatly rule out a 2020 run by committing to serve a full six-year Senate term, there’s no way for her to know yet if a run for president would make any sort of sense.

If the Trump-era economy keeps booming, it seems unlikely voters will be pining for a left-wing democrat from Cambridge to take over. So while Warren is raising tons of money and doling it out to Democrats in all fifty states, she is also buffing up her outsider credentials by publicly rebuking Democrats who back a GOP push for banking deregulation, using harsh rhetoric like this: “Every Republican in this chamber and far too many Democrats will lie down with the banks.”

It’s the kind of move sure to appeal to the Bernie Sanders wing of the party, which will have a lot to say about the next Democratic nominee.

And if the loosening of banking rules does lead to economic disaster, her warnings that Republicans and wayward Democrats have failed to learn “the lessons of the 2008 crash,” Warren will seem prescient.

Meanwhile, almost lost in the fuss over her just-vague-enough dismissal of presidential ambitions were these comments on CNN about President Trump’s new tariff proposals. “I’ve been a longtime critic of America’s trade policy,” she said. “When President Trump says he’s putting tariffs on the table, I think tariffs are one part of reworking our trade policy overall.”

It seems there are issues where left-wing and right-wing populism find common ground.

And the issues Warren’s been talking about – Wall Street misconduct and the plight of the working classes – have been her bread and butter for years, dating back to her law school days. So Warren is being herself, running for re-election to the Senate, and if that all leaves her in good position for 2020?

What a “happy coincidence.”


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