Elizabeth Warren
Elizabeth Warren. Drew Angerer / Getty Images

The first debate of Democratic presidential candidates is still more than a month away, and there's still a full year and a half to go before Election Day 2020. So readings of political tea leaves at this point should carry about as much weight as actual, dried out tea leaves.

We do know that for Democrats, one path to winning back the White House involves first winning back the voters who picked Obama in 2012 and Trump in 2016. We know, too, that a considerable number of voters who picked Trump in 2016 had at first supported Bernie Sanders. So it's reasonable to be keeping an eye out for any candidate who has populist crossover appeal in 2020, and at the moment—or at least in certain, recent moments—one such person appears to be Elizabeth Warren.

For example, Politico just trailed Warren to "heart of MAGA country" West Virginia, where it found her getting cheered by conservative residents who appreciated her Oklahoma roots, her plans for fighting the opioid epidemic, and her willingness to talk—like Bernie and Trump—about how the system is rigged.

“She’s a good ol’ country girl like anyone else,” one woman told Politico, adding that she'd voted for Trump in 2016 but might choose Warren this time around.

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And in a recent Iowa focus group, a bunch of those mysterious Obama-Trump voters really liked Warren's plan for getting rid of student debt. (Though they weren't told whose plan it was.)

Plus, Warren is starting to rise in the national polls, for whatever they're worth.

Tea leaves, tea leaves. But if you subscribe to the theory that Democrats need a presidential candidate who wins back Trump voters, keep an eye on what Warren is doing in Trump country.