In Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Republicans see a next-generation liberal bogeyman they can use to trip up vulnerable Democrats running for re-election in red states.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell might not have consciously elevated the Massachusetts firebrand’s national profile when he abruptly cut off her floor remarks during the heated debate over the confirmation of Jeff Sessions to serve as U.S. attorney general. But while some commentators said the Kentucky Republican erred in giving her a newly raised platform, he and other senior Republicans preparing for 2018 were pleased if that was the result.
Nearly 10 incumbent Democrats are up in states won by President Trump in November. And, Republicans view Warren — her politics and her personality — as a weapon they can use against those Democrats in the midterms.
“She’s not going to play well in Peoria,” said John Thune of South Dakota, the No. 3 ranking Senate Republican. “I think a lot of her antics and tactics are all designed to get attention for her 2020 campaign but in 2018, if she ends up being the face of the Democrat Party, I don’t think that’s a good thing for them.”