By Jon Keller


BOSTON (CBS) — Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s summer surge continued to percolate in Manhattan Monday night, a large, adoring crowd lapping up her message of change.

And a recent Quinnipiac poll of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents had Warren running a strong second to Joe Biden. But as she rises, Warren is also battling serious doubts about her ultimate electability.

When asked in that same poll who has the best chance of beating President Trump next year, Biden was the runaway winner, with Bernie Sanders a distant second and Warren languishing in third at just nine percent.

What’s the problem?

2020 Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) arrives for a rally in Washington Square Park on September 16, 2019 in New York City. Warren unveiled a sweeping anti-corruption plan earlier on Monday. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Warren’s cascade of policy plans has helped fuel her rise within the primary universe. But a new landscape awaits should she win the nomination.

When Trump isn’t disparaging her with his infamous “Pocohantas” insults, his campaign will paint her as a dishonest left-wing elitist from Harvard. Those are all Pavlovian hot buttons with his base, so the sight of Warren as nominee should rile them up pretty well, as if they needed any riling.

But Warren’s pledge to side with workers against elites isn’t that far from Trump’s own arguments in 2016. And if there’s anything we’ve learned about Warren over the years, it’s that she is expert at putting the status quo on the defensive, especially fat cats with questionable ethics like the parade of hapless CEOs she’s skewered in the Senate.

And that skill set meshes with the only guiding campaign philosophy that makes any sense for the Democrats in 2020 – make the election a referendum on the incumbent, remind voters of his warts at every turn, and bait him into the sort of reactionary bull in a china shop behavior that seems to so turn off swing voters in suburbs across America.

Can Warren do it? Yes.

Will she if she gets the nomination?

Stay tuned.

Jon Keller

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