Don't bother trying to beat your friends with your predictions for the final popular and electoral voter tallies in the presidential election. You might end up nailing the numbers just right, but if you're picking between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton you've already lost. That's because the winner of the 2016 election cycle is Senator Elizabeth Warren.
How so? Compared to a year ago, Warren's progressive wing of the Democratic Party has grown exponentially in power and influence thanks to the success of Senator Bernie Sanders' presidential run and his campaign's staunch and clear critique of Wall Street, corporate America, and capitalism in general. Before the Sanders phenomenon, Warren and her philosophies could conceivably be marginalized by Clinton and the other established Democratic powers.
Not anymore. In the last several months, Clinton has scrambled time and again to adjust her message to jive better with the Warren and Sanders agenda. And even a sharp Warren critic like Trump has borrowed Sanders and Warren's message of a "rigged" system and economy.
Whether you like or loathe the core message of the progressive/anti-establishment movement in America today, the hard fact is that movement is winning over public opinion. And Warren has become the most effective voice and soldier for that movement, despite what Sanders, Clinton, or Trump think.
Warren's goals of passing new legislation to curb CEO pay, block corporations from storing cash offshore, force companies to make their political donations more public, and basically put for-profit colleges out of business are all stated as clear as day on her websites and social media feeds in a more effective way than Clinton, whose message is muddled by the massive money machine behind her campaign.
More importantly, Warren's relatively brief career in Washington has been singularly focused on these goals with little or no compromises or hypocrisies in sight. Yes, she has shown a softer side for medical device making companies in her home state of Massachusetts. But that's clearly been forgiven by her supporters and liberals in general as simply an example of Warren advocating for a local industry.
And then came the Wells Fargo hearings just last month. Warren simply eviscerated now-former CEO John Stumpf over his bank's phony accounts scandal. Sure, the other Senators from both parties chimed in. But that just goes to show how powerful a force Warren can be. She's the biggest reason Stumpf is now in early retirement, and don't let anyone tell you different.
You don't have to support or agree with any of Warren's positions or crusades to know she can get things done, and more importantly she wants to get things done. It speaks volumes that more voters can probably define and even name Warren's accomplishments after just a few years in office than those who can clearly state what Clinton stands for or has really achieved.