PhotoPoliticians are famous for saying one thing one day, something else the next. But not Elizabeth Warren. She's been saying she's not running for President and even her most ardent supporters have finally come to believe her.

A group called Run Warren Run,has been gathering petitions and doing early organizing in key primary states. But after 365,000 signatures and repeated protestations by Sen. Warren (D-Mass.), the group's organizers are taking her at her word.

"Thanks for all you've done in recent months to combat special interests in Washington, to build an economy that works for all, and to fight for our collective future," the group said today on its website as it prepared to wind down its efforts. "We can be proud of all we've achieved -- even as we know there's so much left to do."

PhotoIn an age when politicians say one thing in public while conducting business as usual with the lobbyists and special interests known collectively as K Street, Warren has been unusual. She not only says the same things in public and in private but actually seems to believe them and, as a former Harvard professor, has the brainpower to build a cogent argument to support them.

Very sharp teeth

Even without being president, Warren has done more for consumers than any recent occupant of the Oval Office. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), which has actually grown,some very sharp teeth, has ridden to the defense of military personnel, home mortgage holders, car buyers and credit card users, among others.,

The CFPB is at the top of business interests' hit list and will almost certainly be eliminated or severely weakened if the GOP takes back the White House. It might not fare much better in a Clinton presidency.,

Presidential campaign coverage these days is all about the horse race -- with blowhard analysts and "gotcha" coverage crowding out any attempt to pin candidates down on specific issues.,

Ralph Nader was the last presidential candidate to build his campaign around consumer issues but lacked major party backing and was painted by the press as a spoiler candidate.,

Even Warren's non-campaign has been portrayed by much of the mainstream press as anti-bank rather than pro-consumer -- a foretaste, perhaps, of how she would be portrayed in an actual campaign.

Where now?

PhotoWhenever a candidate or potential candidate drops out of a race, there's the question of where her supporters go.

Will they line up behind Hillary Clinton, not exactly a pro-consumer firebrand? Maryland ex-Gov. Martin O'Malley, badly tarnished by the recent revelation of how deeply depressed and dysfunctional Baltimore became under his reign? Not likely.

A few consumer advocates may choose a Jeb Bush or Chris Christie, on the perfectly plausible theory that a strong business economy creates jobs and benefits working people, a/k/a consumers. But it's more likely that the liberal/progressive wing will bank towards Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), the Vermonter,who supports most of the positions taken by Warren even if they weren't his ideas in the first place.

The press is, of course, obsessed with all things Clinton and Bush and is not too interested in anyone who intrudes on that saga. Reporters may personally,like,Sanders but only as a colorful eccentric who adds a little fun to an otherwise drab election season.,

What it all means for consumers is that their issues won't be getting much attention as the gladiators enter the ring for the quadrennial extravaganza that has little to say about the lives of most Americans.,


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