The key is not just emotional investment in election-year saviors but also an engagement with policy. A commitment to organized expressions of political desire — like those that have been harnessed so effectively in recent years on the right — have been absent for far too long in Democratic politics. Now, with labor protests, campaigns to block voter suppression and personhood measures and the occupations of cities around the nation, there seem to be some small signs that liberals are remembering that politics requires more of them, that they need movements, not just messiahs. But their engagement must deepen, broaden and persist beyond last week’s elections and well beyond next year’s elections if there is any chance for politicians like Warren to succeed.
Because while she might provide her supporters and her constituents a voice that, if properly tuned, will rattle doors that are now gummed shut, what Elizabeth Warren cannot do is fix this mess herself.
The same words, of course, are true of the whole story of President Obama, who has proved--not to my surprise--unable "to fix this mess" himself. Unless and until the support of liberals becomes more unified and less easily distracted into the narrow channels of self-interest and personal issues, we will continue to entrust our future to "saviors''--and will continue to feel let down by them.