Former secretary of labor Robert Reich says Hillary Clinton should face “a tough primary challenger” and he knows who he would like to see mount a run against the presumed Democratic front-runner.
“I wish that challenger would be Elizabeth Warren,” Reich explained Friday, in a short statement that has energized supporters of a burgeoning movement to draft the senator from Massachusetts as a populist alternative to Clinton.
Battered in recent days by revelations about her use of a private e-mail account when she served as the Obama administration’s secretary of state, and by reports of foreign donations to the Clinton Foundation, Hillary Clinton has been scrambling to retain the presumption of inevitability that has framed her potential candidacy.
Reich is not suggesting that the controversies will necessarily derail Clinton, who is well ahead in the polls. Rather, as an ardent advocate for a progressive populist response to the crisis of income inequality, he is arguing affirmatively in a Facebook post for the logic of a Warren run.
Reich has always spoken well of Warren, with whom he shares many positions. They have worked together. And he has spoken about the prospect that she might might challenge Clinton. But this is more than just an expression of ideological sympathy, and more than punditry. This is a former Bill Clinton cabinet member saying, specifically, that he hopes Warren will run.
Coming as the current Clinton controversies are grabbing headlines, Reich’s move is going to garner attention.
Reich knows this. He is a savvy veteran of the political fights of the past four decades (who has campaigned for many Democrats, advised many more and once sought the Democratic nod for governor of Massachusetts). He is an important figure on the left of the Democratic Party. And he has a following—indeed, there has been soft speculation about the prospect that Reich, himself, might be a presidential prospect.