Does Elizabeth Warren Have a Plan to Become (Vice) President?

Joe Biden has promised to select a female running mate and serve only one term. Can Warren deliver the progressive votes he needs to win?

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U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren speaking with supporters at a town hall at Centennial High School in Las Vegas, Nevada. February 15, 2020. (photo: Gage Skidmore)

It seems like only yesterday, Democratic voters were swimming in a sea of Democratic candidates. These qualified candidates ran the gauntlet from moderate career politicians to fresh-faced liberal progressives.

Stalwart moderate Democrats, like Joe Biden, wanted a hearkening back to the good old days before Donald Trump was elected president; liberal progressives were determined to steer the party forward and in ever-further leftward directions.

For the moment, it seems like the Democratic moderates have won. Joe Biden has triumphed over Bernie Sanders and every other Democrat in the race- somehow. Though he didn’t manage it through enthusiasm for the Biden campaign.

The latest primary challenger heavily backed by the Justice Democrats- the same progressive liberal group that backed Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in her winning primary challenge in New York- Jessica Cisneros was defeated by incumbent Democrat Rep. Henry Cueller. Thanks in part to the endorsement and help of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi herself, Cueller managed to barely fend off the challenge.

But whether or not moderates can count on thwarted progressive voters- who have been denied their progressive champion Bernie Sanders twice- to turn out on election day is far from certain.

On the left, there is more than a bit of animosity towards the centrist Democrats, their attendant corporate media and the big money political action committees who fund them.

Now that former Vice President Joe Biden is the presumptive Democratic nominee, it will up to him to make certain disappointed liberal voters still vote Democrat in November.

One of the ways Joe Biden is striving to stay relevant during the current COVID-19 outbreak- while President Trump is drawing every eye with his briefings- is by beginning his vetting of vice presidential candidates.

Biden’s selection of a running mate is especially important to Democratic voters as Biden has promised to serve only one term as president.

This is an excellent opportunity for Joe Biden to shore up Democratic support from progressive voters disenchanted with the type of status-quo politics that Joe Biden has come to represent.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren would perhaps be the most logical candidate to help Biden’s campaign team bridge the gag between Biden and progressive voters who wanted Bernie Sanders in 2016 and 2020.

There are a few possible reasons this might not work out as well as Biden might hope.

Some progressive Bernie voters are still angry with Elizabeth Warren for her assertion during one memorable debate that Bernie Sanders told her a woman couldn’t win against Trump.

Warren would be the perfect candidate to help Biden juxtaposition his deplorable record running political cover for credit card companies, creditors, lenders and big banks. It was Joe Biden who made it impossible to discharge student loans during a bankruptcy; Elizabeth Warren has a well-deserved reputation for taking on big banks and would be the perfect person to spearhead efforts to undo policies like this.

There is no question that Elizabeth Warren could help Biden when it comes to governing once he gets the job. But Elizabeth Warren might not be able to help Biden win the election.

She failed to carry her own state during the primaries, which is never a good sign. There is little evidence to suggest Warren has the ability to turn out large numbers of progressive voters; but there is less evidence for Biden’s ability to do so.

There is also the distinct possibility that any gains Biden might hope to make electorally by luring progressive voters with Elizabeth Warren, might be undone as big banks, financial companies and major Democratic donors balk at the idea of her being so close to the presidency.

Not everyone is excited about Warren’s plans to tax the rich at higher and higher rates.

During the tumultuous primary, it seemed for a moment like Warren had a chance at becoming the nominee. Sen. Bernie Sanders had just suffered a heart attack and his base wasn’t sure he would be able to return to the campaign trail. Warren’s debate performances were causing quite a stir and she saw a brief surge in the polls.

That is, until the word came down from on high in the Democratic Party; No Elizabeth Warren. No Bernie Sanders, certainly; but not Elizabeth Warren, either.

What is Joe Biden to do?

There is perhaps no candidate who would satisfy both the moderates of the party- who won’t want Sen. Elizabeth Warren or Stacey Abrams- and the progressives of the party- who won’t want Sen. Kamala Harris or Sen. Amy Klobuchar.

Perhaps the Biden team would be better off focusing on a candidate who could help Biden carry one of the all-important swing-states. It was Hillary Clinton’s failure in 2016 to solve for electoral politics that helped sink her campaign.

If Biden is to defeat an incumbent president, he is going to need to turn out every vote, and not just in Democratic strongholds like New York City and Chicago.

To reach swing voters, Biden might have to pass on Warren.

(contributing writer, Brooke Bell)

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