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Saturday, December 3, 2016

Yes, it’s too early to talk about the 2016 presidential race.

Yes, it’s foolish to describe Hillary Clinton as already the unstoppable Democratic nominee.

And yes, it’s just this side of hallucinatory to claim that even if it’s not Hillary, the Democratic Party is unified to elect a female president.

But oh, how I’m lovin’ this conversation.

I’ve waited my entire adult life for this moment, when so many male reporters and pundits are trying to figure out not whether a woman, but which woman will be elected president of the United States.

New Republic’s Noam Scheiber has generated the biggest buzz in political-pundit-land this week with his cover story, which laid out how Clinton could lose her party’s nomination to another woman.

My favorite paragraph:

“Which brings us to the probable face of the insurgency. In addition to being strongly identified with the party’s populist wing, any candidate who challenged Clinton would need several key assets. The candidate would almost certainly have to be a woman, given Democrats’ desire to make history again. She would have to amass huge piles of money with relatively little effort. Above all, she would have to awaken in Democratic voters an almost evangelical passion. As it happens, there is precisely such a person. Her name is Elizabeth Warren.”

The candidate would almost certainly have to be a woman.

Pinch me.

Now, Sen. Warren has said repeatedly she is not running for president. “No, no, no, no,” she told The Boston Globe. When the reporter asked whether she really meant it — what wife hasn’t had that conversation? — she added a fifth “no.” She also, earlier this year, joined every female member of the Senate Democratic caucus in signing a secret-until-it-wasn’t letter urging Clinton to run.

I will take this remarkable woman at her word, but I just love the rampant speculation tagging not one but two women as contenders for president.

Harold Meyerson wrote this week for The Washington Post that “the surest way (Clinton) can alienate significant segments of her party — perhaps to the point of enabling a progressive populist such as … Warren … to enter the race — is to surround herself with the same economic crew that led her husband to untether Wall Street and that persuaded Obama, at least in his first term, to go easy on the banks.”

Chris Cillizza, also for the Post, wrote: “As Clinton learned in 2008, a candidate that appeals to voters’ hearts can beat a candidate that appeals to their heads. And Clinton, for all of her built-in advantages in a 2016 race, will be hard pressed to ever be the heart candidate of the party base. Elizabeth Warren would be that candidate the minute she signals her interest in running. That fact should scare Clinton and her political team.”

I have no idea what he means with that “heart” thing, but neither does he, so it’s all good.