One of the interesting things about congressional leadership posts is that they’re basically the result of tradition. There’s only one leadership position mandated by the Constitution – the Speaker of the House – and every other post in both chambers was effectively invented by the parties themselves.
And as such, the parties can make up new leadership offices whenever it suits their fancy.
After the 2010 midterms, for example, House Democrats lost their majority and discovered they had more leaders than leadership positions. It was a game of musical chairs and someone was going to be left standing.
So, Dems simply added a chair, creating a brand new position just for Rep. James Clyburn (D-S.C.), who transitioned from “House Majority Whip” to “Assistant Democratic Leader.”
Four years later, Senate Democrats have lost their majority and are putting together their leadership team. None of the top four Dems – Harry Reid (D-Nev.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), and Patty Murray (D-Wash.) – lost this year, and all four want to keep their positions, only now in the minority.
But they also want to add Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) to the leadership team. What to do? Amanda Terkel and Ryan Grim report that they, like House Dems four years ago, are creating a new position.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) gained a leadership position in the Senate Democratic caucus Thursday, giving the prominent progressive senator a key role in shaping the party’s policy priorities.Warren’s new role, which was created specifically for her, will be a strategic policy adviser, helping to craft the party’s policy positions and priorities. She will also serve as a liaison to progressive groups to ensure they have a voice in leadership meetings and discussions, according to a source familiar with the role.
It’s not yet clear what the post will be called, exactly, but at Senate Democratic leadership meetings, the Massachusetts senator will literally have a seat at the table.
It’s not too surprising that Warren’s colleagues have begun to look at her at as a natural leader within the conference – she’s one of the most popular Democratic figures in Washington. Throughout the 2014 campaign season, Warren was one of the few Dems who was welcome just about everywhere – red states and blue states.
Going into 2016, Warren has ruled out a national campaign, but it’s very likely her ideas will help shape the party’s platform, and she’ll remain a sought after figure for rallies and fundraising from coast to coast.
Offering her a leadership post in the Senate seems like the least Dems could do.
The Huffington Post piece added:
Sources told HuffPost that Warren had the strong support of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), who wanted her as part of his team. Warren’s presence in the weekly leadership meetings and her role helping to shape the caucus’ policies are significant for progressives.Reid’s support for Warren also underscores his desire to push progressive policies in the next Congress, a priority his office has confirmed.“If the ballot measure results are any indication, actual progressive policies remain popular with voters in red and blue states. I believe you’ll see a Senate Democratic caucus fight on behalf of those policies and provide the votes if and when Republicans are ready to act,” Faiz Shakir, a senior adviser to Reid, told HuffPost earlier this month.
We’ll have more on this once Warren officially joins the leadership team – and gets a new title.