Clinton Should Choose Warren As Vice President

| by Nicholas Roberts
Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren of MassachusettsDemocratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts

As it becomes ever more clear that Hillary Clinton will become the Democratic nominee for the 2016 presidential election, she will soon have to choose a potential vice president.  

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren is that candidate.  If Clinton decides to choose Warren, she may not necessarily accept - she may feel that she is currently more needed in the Senate, and her seat would be up for grabs if she left.

But as New York Magazine's Ed Kilgore notes, Warren is by far the best potential Democratic candidate out of any who could quickly and decisively prevent a potential party split between the Democrats' centrist and left wings.  Yes, there are some supporters of Sanders who are displeased with her lack of endorsement of a candidate whom most agree Warren lines up with more ideologically than she does with Clinton.  

But Warren, unlike many of her Democratic colleagues in the Senate, is an outspoken promoter of progressive causes, particularly in the realm of finance and banking.  Given that 85 percent of Sanders' supporters in New York have already indicated they will support Clinton in the general election, why not reward these voters' loyalty by choosing a candidate who is an articulate defender of their interests?

There are a couple of substantive objections.  First, there is the question of how electable a ticket with two liberal northeastern women will be in a general election.  Then there is the issue of age: Clinton is 68, Warren is 66.  There will be a justifiable fear that if one or both women happened to die while in office, the Speaker of the House -- which will most likely be a Republican -- becomes president.

But those are the most substantive arguments against a Clinton-Warren ticket.  A different argument, which Kilgore highlights and criticizes, is one which essentially says that Clinton should ignore the wishes of Sanders' supporters and instead try to court moderate Republicans who have been alienated by their current crop of presidential candidates.

Whether or not Clinton actually chooses Warren as her running mate, this would be a terrible strategy and would risk inter-party turmoil similar to that which has been going on within the Republican Party.  Ignoring the interests of a substantial voter bloc of support is a recipe for disaster, as the current Republican race is showing us all.  The Democrats should not bend to such "centrist" advice which would leave their party crippled in the long-term.  Young voters are substantially more left wing than previous generations, and it is not the job of Democratic party mandarins to convince much of its base that their opinions are wrong.

Of course, Clinton needs to keep open her options, as there are some drawbacks of choosing Warren as a running mate.  She has a list of male and female potential running mates which includes former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, labor secretary Thomas Perez, Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown, Virginia Sens. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine, New Hampshire Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, and Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar among others, according to Vanity Fair.

But a Warren ticket would be an especially powerful one, particularly at a time when the Republican Party seems to be on the verge of a major split.  Clinton should seriously consider choosing the Massachusetts senator as a running mate.

Click here for the opposing view on this topic.

Sources: NY Magazine, Vanity Fair / Photo credit: AFGE/Flickr

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