Elizabeth Warren is quietly whipping votes to oust Nancy boy Chuck Schumer as Senate Majority Leader

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Leroy N. Soetoro

Jan 18, 2022, 4:06:22 PM1/18/22

(January 18, 2022) — Senator Elizabeth Warren, the Vice Chair of the
Senate Democratic Conference, has been quietly reaching out to her
colleagues to commiserate over their shared frustrations with Majority
Leader Chuck Schumer. During those conversations, Warren has been asking
that they privately commit to voting for her if a leadership battle takes
place in the coming weeks. Warren would be the first woman to serve as
Majority Leader of the Senate.

Increasingly, the caucus views Schumer as lacking strategic insights and
policy depth, and his leadership has been punctuated by a consecutive
series of strategic missteps that have resulted in few legislative
accomplishments. They blame his connections to the banking industry and
his weak relationships with organized labor, which is inspiring worries
about their ability to mobilize organized labor during the upcoming
election cycle.

Presumably, Warren’s leadership in the Senate would excite labor

That Schumer is viewed as ‘phony’ in much of ‘Middle America’ —
particularly in the post-industrial swing states of the Midwest — is
particularly concerning to the caucus, which could very well lose control
of the evenly divided chamber in elections later this year. Seats in
Wisconsin, Missouri, and Ohio are increasingly out of reach for Democrat
contenders there precisely because of Schumer’s unpopularity — to say
nothing of worsening polling numbers in the four states where the party
hoped to be much stronger: Georgia, Pennsylvania, Arizona, and Nevada.

In a conversation last month with Senator Patty Murray, the Assistant
Democratic Leader, Warren expressed her concern that Schumer’s leadership
of the caucus going into the next election would almost certainly result
in a loss of the chamber. Warren believes that fresh leadership in the
chamber will bode well for Democrats across the county. Murray agreed, and
has been privately lobbying colleagues to consider the leadership

Murray has gone so far as to ask White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain to
arrange a ‘soft-landing’ for Schumer, presumably a diplomatic appointment
or cabinet role. The Ambassadorship to Saudi Arabia, which is currently
vacant, has been discussed.

“It won’t guarantee us keeping control of the Senate, but it’s certainly
not going to hurt at this point,” a former staffer familiar with her
thinking explains. “Schumer has lost all credibility with his members,
who are quick to enumerate strategic initiatives that he has spearheaded
only to be quickly reversed upon the resulting backlash. They adamantly
want a leadership change, but they are trying to handle it behind the

Meanwhile in New York, Schumer’s own seat is up for reelection later this
year — and he’s likely to face Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in the
Democratic Party’s primary contest this spring. If Schumer loses his
primary, most political operatives expect that he would resign his seat
immediately in order to allow Governor Kathy Hochul to appoint a favored
Democrat to fill the vacancy for the remainder of the term. It’s unclear
if Hochul would appoint a place holder, or someone who will be competitive
at the ballot box in his or her own right.

Because Warren doesn’t face a reelection until 2024, her leadership of the
caucus in the current cycle could prove beneficial for Democrats in swing
districts. First, Democrats would avoid the narrative of national
embarrassment from seeing a sitting Majority Leader ousted in his own
party’s primary. Second, a full-time Majority Leader, unencumbered by
reelection distractions, would allow for a focused, steady, and national
message — uncomplicated by local political appetites. Third, new
leadership would energize the progressive base of the party, and organized
labor in particular.

While there is a great deal of support for Warren to succeed Schumer as
Majority Leader among progressives, it’s unclear how the caucus’ two most
centrist members will view her candidacy. Senator Kyrsten Sinema and
Senator Joe Manchin are red-state Democrats whose home-state popularity is
advanced when either asserts their independence from party bosses.

Some political operatives expect that Sinema and Manchin will demand a
two-year self-imposed term limit of any Majority Leader looking for their
votes. As the party looks to consolidate and centralize power — which
would fundamentally and irreversibly change the Senate as a consensus-
finding institution — Sinema and Manchin want the caucus to institute a
two-year term limit on its leadership in aim of further decentralizing
power inside the chamber.

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