Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, whose economic populism galvanized progressives even before her 2012 election to Congress' upper chamber, ascended to the Senate Democratic leadership on Thursday, ensuring that she will play a key role in shaping the Democrats' strategy following last week's midterm shellacking.
Democrats created Warren's leadership role specifically for her. She will be responsible for developing Senate Democrats' policy platform and messaging strategy, and will also act as liaison to progressive groups.
Warren has already hinted at the kinds of policies she'll champion in her new role. Last weekend, she published a Washington Post Op-Ed calling on congressional Democrats and the Obama administration to chart a progressive course in the wake of last week's GOP victories. Warren specifically advocated ending corporate tax loopholes, breaking up big banks and making it easier for students to refinance their loans.
Since Republicans took over the Senate and padded their House majority, a number of progressive commentators have taken Democrats to task for running a midterm campaign that was devoid of a crisp, consistent message on economic issues. Warren's move up the ranks signals that the party is taking such criticism seriously.