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Warren’s Missing Foreign Policy Revisited

Here is another bit of odd analysis about Elizabeth Warren:

“The establishment is gaining power on the Republican side, but on the Democratic side the establishment is losing power. What we’ve always heard from how Democrats perceive foreign policy, they’re a lot more like Elizabeth Warren than Hillary Clinton [bold mine-DL],” Brooks said.

This is almost entirely wrong. There may be a handful of challengers willing to take on the “establishment” candidate on the Democratic side, but none of them commands much support or many resources. On the Republican side, the situation is quite different. The Republican candidates identified as being aligned with the party “establishment” have less clout and are less likely to win the nomination than at any time in the last fifty years. Their clout is still considerable, but it is less than it has been even as recently as four years ago. It was possible in 2011 to speak confidently about the dreadful inevitability of Romney’s nomination, but that can’t be said this time around about any of the candidates. Meanwhile, the presumed Democratic “establishment” candidate is a prohibitive favorite, and her dreadful inevitability is only too easy to predict. The so-called “establishment” in the GOP is weaker than it has been in presidential politics in my lifetime. On the Democratic side, they experimented with nominating and electing an insurgent candidate instead of backing the “establishment” favorite the last time there was an open contest, and they aren’t likely to try that again for a while.

On foreign policy, it may be true that more Democrats disagree with Clinton than agree with her, but that doesn’t mean that they are more like Warren. Warren has no distinctive foreign policy views to speak of, and insofar as she has had anything to say on the subject she has not distinguished herself as an antiwar or progressive champion. That may be because her primary focus is on domestic issues, it may be because she has been in the Senate a relatively short time, or it may be because she doesn’t agree with many progressives on these issues. Whatever the reason, Warren’s foreign policy is mostly unknown. To the extent that anything about it is known, it is not significantly different from Clinton’s. Brooks makes the same mistake here that more than a few progressive activists have made in their enthusiasm for Warren, which is to assume that she holds a certain set of foreign policy views because she is perceived to be a progressive when there is no evidence that she holds those views.

about the author

Daniel Larison is a senior editor at TAC, where he also keeps a solo blog. He has been published in the New York Times Book Review, Dallas Morning News, World Politics Review, Politico Magazine, Orthodox Life, Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and was a columnist for The Week. He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Lancaster, PA. Follow him on Twitter.

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