MoveOn polling members: Should Elizabeth Warren run for president

The Wisconsin Gazette

There’s a good chance WiG readers signed into their email at some point on Dec. 9 and found a message from MoveOn.org inviting them to vote on whether Democratic U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren should run for president in 2016.

A news release from MoveOn said the national grassroots progressive Democratic organization stood poised to put its full weight behind an effort to convince Warren to run for president “pending a vote of its membership.”

The 16-year-old group, which says it has 8 million members, is holding its first nationwide membership vote. If the vote succeeds, the group will focus on persuading the Warren, “who has become known as a tireless, passionate advocate for middle-class and working families,” to seek the presidency.

The results were to be announced at 11 a.m. on Dec. 10.

The campaign, if ratified by MoveOn’s members, will include:

• Offices and staff in early primary and caucus states like Iowa and New Hampshire.

• The assembly of a national volunteer army ready to go to work if Warren enters the race.

• Recruiting small-dollar donors who pledge their support.

• Ads and media products.

• An investment of at least $1 million in the first phase of the launch.

“MoveOn’s 8 million members are the volunteers, activists, and supporters who make up a key part of the Democratic base and, if they vote to move forward, we’ll go all out to encourage Sen. Warren to take her vision and track record of fighting tooth-and-nail for working people and the middle class to the White House,” said Ilya Sheyman, executive director of MoveOn.org Political Action. “There is too much at stake to have anything other than our best candidates in the debate. We are prepared to show Senator Warren she has the support she needs to enter—and win—the presidential race.”

Sheyman made the case for launching such an effort to MoveOn members in the email that opened the vote.

MoveOn has prepared a campaign that would include a robust field organizing program, Sheyman said, with a national team-based organizing strategy inspired by President Barack Obama’s grassroots campaign for 2008. In 2008, MoveOn members’ endorsement of then-Sen. Barack Obama just before Super Tuesday delivered a boost to his campaign for the White House. 

For Warren, the campaign would hire organizing staff in early caucus and primary states including Iowa and New Hampshire. MoveOn members would also organize high-visibility social, cultural, and online actions and partner with key organizations and constituencies to highlight the groundswell of support for Warren.

“This is a huge opportunity for MoveOn members, if they choose, to inspire Sen. Warren as she has inspired so many of us,” said Anna Galland, executive director of MoveOn.org Civic Action. “There is no more tireless, passionate advocate for progressive values. We’re ready to show Senator Warren that we’ve got her back, and that by running for the Democratic nomination for President, she can change the course of history.”

Later on Dec. 9, several progressive Democratic groups also demonstrated an interest in a Warren candidacy.

“Sen. Warren has deep grassroots support, an unwavering populist progressive visio, and the fearless fighting spirit needed to win the support of Democrats, independents and Republicans. And that’s why, pending the results of MoveOn’s vote, we will ask DFA members to support our plans to join the emerging Draft Warren effort,” said Charles Chamberlain, executive director of Democracy for America.