Five Best Monday Columns

Noam Scheiber on Hillary Clinton's worst nightmare, Ron Fournier on Chris Christie's presidential rollout, Brian Beutler on plan B for, Ben Smith on how Michael Bloomberg bought New York, and George Packer on the "mixed results" of the 2013 elections. 

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Noam Scheiber at The New Republic on Hillary Clinton's worst nightmare: Elizabeth Warren. In 2016, "the debate will be about the power of America’s wealthiest. And ... this disagreement will cut to the very core of the [Democratic] party: what it stands for and who it represents," Scheiber writes. One side is made up of Democrats who "are increasingly hostile to Wall Street and believe the government should rein it in." The other is "a group of Democratic elites associated with the Clinton era who, though they may have moved somewhat leftward in response to the recession — happily supporting economic stimulus and generous unemployment benefits — still fundamentally believe the economy functions best with a large, powerful, highly complex financial sector." New York City mayor-elect Bill de Blasio is an example of how the populist side is winning. And "all of this is deeply problematic for Hillary Clinton." If she "runs and retains her ties to Wall Street, Warren will be more likely to join the race, not less." Democracy for America communications director Neil Sroka tweets, "The definitive case for Warren 2016 ... A must read for anyone who cares about the future of the left." The Guardian's Tom McCarthy points out this line: "On what @SenWarren does to bank regulators: 'One winced hemorrhoidally as he searched for a place to fix his gaze.'" New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof tweets, "Interesting piece on Sen. Elizabeth Warren as reflecting the new soul of the Democratic Party."

Ron Fournier at National Journal on how Chris Christie's 2016 rollout borrows from the last three presidents. "Judging by his rhetoric after a landslide re-election Tuesday, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie hopes to package himself as the 'Perfect Candidate for Troubled Times,' version 4.0," Fournier writes. On the Sunday news shows, Christie offered familiar rhetoric: "Christie's pox-on-both-houses broadsides are sure to anger partisans while resonating with moderate voters who are sick of the status quo. Moderates also elect presidents," like Clinton, Bush, and Obama. Fournier admits, "staunch conservatives will try to stop [Christie], his shadowy background may not stand the glare of a national campaign, and his blunt style may not wear well on voters." But "In many ways, the New Jersey governor is the closest thing we've got to Clinton, Bush and Obama." Both Bob Cohn, editor of Atlantic Digital, and Jonathan Martin, New York Times national political correspondent, recommend the piece.

Brian Beutler at Salon on plan B for "The administration’s official line remains that it’s confident will be working for the vast majority of users by the end of the month. But its detailed assessments make that harder and harder to believe," Beutler argues. So President Obama needs to come up with two backup plans: "One to get the law chugging along somehow without accessible marketplaces in most states, and one to manage the political fallout of a non-functioning federal exchange, which will be horrendous." The administration needs to realize that "the absence of a plan B would create a vacuum for congressional saboteurs, and Democrats would probably get sucked into it." Greg Sargent, a politics writer at The Washington Post, tweets, "from @brianbeutler: WH needs to take seriously possibility of Ocare web site political nightmare at end of Nov."

Ben Smith at Buzzfeed on how Michael Bloomberg bought New York. "In Mike Bloomerg’s New York, the mayor bribed you, buying the silence or cooperation of individuals, cultural organizations, and social service groups with hundreds in millions of dollars spent on small personal favors — a legal payment here, a medical procedure there — and charitable contributions," Smith explains. Now Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio will have to deal with the "explosion of Bloomberg’s machine after the grease of money is gone and the gears start sticking." So "the question for de Blasio isn’t whether he will face louder demands, or even whether he’ll be able to manage them: It’s whether, in this new city, he’ll be able to hold the line after he’s made his consultative decision," without the benefit of Bloomberg's wealth. Capital New York editor Josh Benson tweets this line: "The participants in the machine ... have a shared interest in not talking about it."

George Packer at The New Yorker on the "mixed results" of the 2013 elections. One lesson from last Tuesday's elections: "the electorate is alienated. Polling places are sparsely populated in every off-year election, particularly when the outcomes are predicted to be landslides, but 2013 marked a depressing low," Packer explains. And as Republicans try to recover from the shutdown, "Governor Christie — a skillful and self-infatuated politician, whose contempt for public services and employees outstrips Ronald Reagan’s — has emerged as the Party’s current hope for 2016, just because he doesn’t act or talk like an extremist." So "2013 might turn out to be the high-water mark of Republican extremism, the year the polarization line finally levelled off."

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.