David Brooks speculates that Elizabeth Warren has a chance of becoming the next Democratic nominee for president:

The political class has been wondering if Warren, a United States senator from Massachusetts, will take on Hillary Clinton for the Democratic presidential nomination. This speculation is usually based on the premise that Warren couldn’t actually win, but that she could move the party in her direction. But, today, even for those of us who disagree with Warren fundamentally, it seems clear that she does have a significant and growing chance of being nominated.

Like Rod, I think that a Warren challenge to Clinton could have some beneficial effects. Considering Clinton’s many advantages as the default frontrunner, it is important than usual that Democrats have alternatives to Clinton available over the next year and a half. Because Clinton is widely perceived to be a favorite of Wall Street, she needs to be challenged by economic populist opponents. Warren is one of the better-known Democrats that could fill that role. However, she is far from being the only one able to fill it.

Having said that, it would probably be a better use of Warren’s time to concentrate on her role in the Senate. Warren hasn’t even finished her first term in office, and she is just now starting to have some real influence. That role may not be entirely incompatible with running a presidential campaign over the next year or so, but challenging Clinton will inevitably take her away from the job she was elected to do. It is there that she might stand a chance of achieving something. Running around Iowa and New Hampshire might provide the occasion for some interesting primary debates, but it isn’t going to have much of an effect. Perhaps Warren already realizes this, which is why she has so consistently denied having any interest in running for president. Whether she has realized it or not, Warren is likely to do her constituents and the causes that matter most to her more good by staying where she is, gaining experience and influence, and at the very least working to derail bad legislation. She shouldn’t be lured into running by the false hope that she has any chance of winning the nomination.