A Biden / Warren Ticket Could Unify the Democratic Party

Normally, the idea of a candidate picking a running mate before winning the nomination would be unheard of. Indeed, prior to Ted Cruz choosing Carly Fiorina in 2016, it had never been done before, to the best of my knowledge. But, hey, let’s be honest here, these are hardly what you would call normal times. When the book is written about this period in American history, the last four years will make one helluva chapter.

As of this moment, Joe Biden and Mike Bloomberg are getting the lion’s share of the moderate vote, with Biden getting just over 50 percent of it, depending on what state you’re looking at. Bernie Sanders has about 80 – 85 percent of the progressive vote. Yes, Elizabeth Warren got a bump after her last two debate performances. She’s currently in second place in California according to RCP. However, in most of the other states, she’s struggling to get any traction. She’s even trailing Sanders in her home state of Massachusetts. Talk about a tough pill to swallow. Despite all the claims to the contrary, if she doesn’t win any contests on Super Tuesday, I expect her to drop out of the race. And even if she doesn’t, it won’t matter. She has no path to the nomination.

But getting back to Biden. If he does go on to become the nominee, he’s going to have to find a way to unite both wings of the Democratic Party. You can fully expect Sanders and his supporters to scream bloody murder if he is denied the nomination. I’m currently working on a piece that lays out just that very scenario. Suffice to say that whoever emerges as the winner in Milwaukee this summer will have their hands full trying to piece everything back together again.

So, assuming it’s Biden, whom should he pick as his running mate? Well for starters, I believe there are two requirements for any potential running mate: 1. They must do no harm; 2. They must shore up a deficiency at the head of the ticket. Anything after that is gravy.

With that in mind, I do not think Kamala Harris would be a good fit. True, she fulfills the first requirement in that she does no harm. But as qualified as she may be, there’s nothing she brings to the table that Biden doesn’t already have. For instance, Biden already has a majority of the African American vote locked up; he doesn’t need to choose one as his running mate. I have written at great length about the puzzling campaign Harris ran last year that never got off the ground. My fear is that, far from being a plus, she would be a drag on the ticket and a non-factor in the general. And as far as being a uniter, she’s hardly what you would call a darling of the Left.

No, there’s only one person I can think of that checks both boxes and that’s Elizabeth Warren. She does no wrong and she can unite both wings of the party at the convention. The latter is far more important. I’ll explain.

Unlike Sanders, Warren is a true progressive in the grand tradition of Lyndon Johnson and Franklin Rosevelt. While some of her ideas are still out of the mainstream, she is far more liked and respected among her peers than Sanders. To put it another way: Bernie is very much the left-wing equivalent of Barry Goldwater. Indeed, the parallels between the two men are striking. Goldwater’s unwillingness to compromise even a little on some of his positions led to his epic loss to Johnson in 1964, and I have no doubt that Sanders, were he to be the nominee, would suffer a similar fate against Trump this November.

If, like me, you were scratching your head wondering why Warren didn’t go after Sanders in the last two debates and instead chose to focus her laser beams on Bloomberg, you’re not alone. Many pundits were wondering the same thing. Attacking Bloomberg may have gotten her a few applause lines and a few more campaign contributions, but it did little to improve her political fortunes. If anything, Warren’s attacks on Bloomberg may have inadvertently helped Biden. Since that last debate, Bloomberg’s numbers have gone south while Biden’s have shot up. Uncle Joe should send her a dozen roses.

So why didn’t Warren go after Sanders? Some have suggested it’s because she’s afraid of facing a backlash from progressives when she runs for reelection in 2024. There may be some truth to that. After all, most of the “experts” believed Ayanna Pressley had no chance against Michael Capuano in the Massachusetts 7th primary. Pressley not only beat him convincingly, she’s now the odds-on favorite to win a second term in Congress this year.

There’s also the possibility that Warren could be grooming herself as a potential running mate for Sanders and didn’t want to screw things up by pissing him off. In case you haven’t noticed, it doesn’t take much for old grumpy pants to get his dander up. The only person who holds a grudge longer than Sanders is the current occupant in the Oval Office.

But whatever the reason, it doesn’t alter the fact that Biden needs Warren as his running mate if he has any hope of beating Trump in the general. Left unsaid in all the angst over Sanders driving away moderate voters in the fall, is the very real possibility of progressives sitting out the entire election if he isn’t the nominee. If that happens, Trump will waltz his way to a second term. While it’s true that no progressive can win the White House without moderates, it’s equally true that no moderate can do the same without progressives. Like it or not, they come as a package.

When I look back at the 2016 election, I sometimes wonder what would’ve happened if, instead of choosing Tim Kaine to be her running mate, Hillary Clinton had chosen Warren. I remember all the handwringing from pundits who were concerned that Warren might scare away moderate voters, so Hillary went the safe route by picking someone who, for all intents and purposes, was a doppelgänger of herself. Imagine two scoops of vanilla ice-cream with whipped cream on top. That was the ticket of Clinton / Kaine. About as exciting as a weather forecast from San Diego in June.

The bold play, in retrospect, would’ve been Warren. Her presence on the ticket would’ve excited the base and likely resulted in more of them showing up at the polls. It also would’ve taken some of the sting out of the resentment that Bernie’s supporters harbored over him not getting the nomination. To this day, most of them still insist he got screwed by the DNC. For the record, he didn’t. Hillary just got more delegates. Period.

But that’s all water under the bridge now. What Biden can’t do is repeat Clinton’s mistake. He can’t afford to play it safe. If he gets the nomination, he needs to pick someone as his running mate who will appeal to progressives in a way that will motivate them to vote this November. Contrary to what I wrote previously, a Biden / Buttigieg ticket won’t cut it. For one reason or another, the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, despite being only 38 years old and to the left of Barack Obama policy wise, is not very popular with millennials or progressives. Go figure. By the way, if you’re thinking Biden / Klobuchar, forget it. That would literally be Clinton / Kaine, part deux. Twice wrong is still wrong.

So why would Warren agree to be Biden’s running mate? To put it succinctly, it gets her that much closer to the presidency. Let’s face it: Biden is 78 and Warren is 70, so we’re not exactly talking the king and the queen of the prom here. Biden’s not even sure he wants to run for a second term; at least he hasn’t committed to it yet. So if he were to win in November and decide not to seek reelection, whoever happens to be his VP would find him or herself in a very enviable position. Not all vice presidents win the White House – just ask Al Gore – but they do have a distinct advantage over their political rivals.

To get Warren to say yes, Biden could promise her that at some point during his term in office he will propose a Medicare for All plan with a phase in period similar to the plan she rolled out last fall. He could also go halfway with her on raising revenues, forgoing the wealth tax – which I still maintain is unconstitutional – for a substantial hike in the marginal rates for millionaires and billionaires. Instead of wiping out all student loan debt, Biden could agree to free tuition for two-year college degrees. He could even adopt some, but not all, of the Green New Deal. It’ll be a delicate balancing act, but one I’m sure the two of them can handle.

Look, Kennedy needed Johnson, Reagan needed Bush and Obama needed Biden. Guess what? Biden needs Warren. It’s really not that complicated. A Biden / Warren ticket would ostensibly kill two birds with one stone. It would unite the Left and the Center; but more than that, it would put an end to one of the darkest chapters in American history.

Who could be against that?

Author: Peter Fegan

Progressive but pragmatic. Lover of music, die-hard Giants' fan and reluctant Mets' fan. My favorite motto? I'd rather be ruled by a smart Turk than a dumb Christian.

18 thoughts on “A Biden / Warren Ticket Could Unify the Democratic Party

  1. This pairing stuff is meaningless other than to promote good feelings. The primary role of a VP, other than to break a Senate tie, is to be the spare President.

  2. But Sanders is behaving as if he is entitled to the Presidency. He is not. He’s laid out a good game, but if the people say no to his over the top progressive ways, he can’t get mad and split the party again.

  3. Sanders is like FDR and MLK, not Warren. Biden even with Warren is another 4 years of Trump. Moderates fail to generate the energy even with a VP that has made recent mistakes that have harmed her trustworthiness to many progressives.
    Best case scenario to avoid Trump is to elect the candidate with plurality of votes, don’t use superdelegates to erase democracy. It will be the end of the Democrat Party if they try to sabotage his candidacy. The fact is, the Democrat Party doesn’t have enough registered Democrats to defeat Trump without independents.

  4. But independents are not necessarily independent. They tend to lean one way or the other in voting, either right or left. After the past 3 years it’s hard to imagine anyone voting for Trump or staying home rather than to vote for any Democrat.

  5. Two dishonest sociopaths who plagiarize their way through life, who live war, who favor the wealthy but don,’t care about the working classes.

  6. Sanders/Turner or Sanders/Gabbard
    Or you’re 100% guaranteed to get 4 more years of Trump.

    Stealing the nomination from him will flat out destroy the democratic party for good.

  7. Depending on what the delegate count looks like, if Bernie has a plurality but far from a majority then it depends on the relative delegate strengths of Biden and Warren could determine which of them would be the Pres and which the VP. Warren together with compromises from Bernie could get her at the top of the ticket. The cost of both tendencies in the Democratic Party not trying to negotiate with the other could well give us the Reign of Trump.

  8. Let’s take a look at reality here. The majority of Americans are more than sick and dying of getting skinned alive by outrageous rent, education, and out of pocket medical expenses. 2016 was a protest vote from millions of dying, broke and bleeding US citizens looking for a political solution to their agony, by voting. Something that is supposedly guaranteed in the US Constitution.

    That vile pig/sell out Clinton and her fellow corporate whores subverted democracy by rigging the primaries in 2016, something they now admit without shame, and somehow not being in jail.

    So we, “the people”, will vote the only person running who offers us any solution to our whole sale slaughter, Bernie Sanders. As it stands, without massive, criminal fraud like the DNC somehow got away with in 2016, Bernie stands poised to sweep the democratic primary and win the presidency against Donald Trump

    YET we have these so called ‘delegates’ and these corrupt, controlled, corporate whores called “superdelegates” that supposedly have the ability to install the runner ups, suspending elections and essentially denying the majority their supposed Constitutional right to vote.

    This could happen right here in the USA, not some third world dictatorship. Are we going to just sit back and allow this?!!! The ‘delegate/superdelegate” system is undemocratic and has to go. It is yet another side stepping of our Constitutional rights and has to go, along with the criminals/sell outs that supported it.

  9. Jessica Armstrong, The fact IS the “Democrat” Party would have 17 MILLION more registered Democrats if the GOP didn’t cheat every chance they get. They have purged at least 17 million just since 2016. Most of whom have names that sound Black, Latino, or Native American using suspect methods of deciding who should be eliminated, If they had to play fair they wouldn’t win.

  10. I’m laughing, because of the absurdity, but it’s not really funny that there are people who genuinely believe this is true. You have to be completely out of the loop to think progressive voters, TRUE progressive voters, are in any way placated by a opportunistic, flip-flopping, truth-bending, prevaricating fraud like Warren. The DNC and those who acquiesce to their bidding are the enemies of progress. If Bernie is not the nominee, we will have four more years of Trump. Period. You can take that to the bank. Now, step out of that echo chamber, pay attention, and catch up!

  11. Democrats All candidates all blue no matter dont disappoint the key to winning is turnout. your delegates are in for the long haul Nov Vote!

  12. No, it wouldn’t. Warren is toxic, and her behavior has been unacceptable to most Berners. She will not bring us in, she has zero chance of that now.

    Get real.

  13. No. Warren has backtracked on every major issue and also deliberately hamstrung Bernie when she knows she has no chance. She is politically done as a Democrat. The Bernie movement won’t show up for her, OR for Joe. That’s a promise.

  14. Stacey Abrams would be a better choice. Let warren deal with the financial markets. As to the angry white guy known as sanders, who cares. He talks loud with empty promises that would never be kept. Assume he wins, it would be a least 4 years before anything related to “Medicare for all” would show up. Who is going to pay for all of this?

  15. No other running mate could pull in the Progressives like Warren could do. Assuming Biden wins, this is the best!

  16. Well…. this is Warren’s statement on Biden.
    “I respect his years of service,” Warren said Monday night during a rally in Los Angeles. “But no matter how many Washington insiders tell you to support him, nominating their fellow Washington insider will not meet this moment.”

    “Nominating a man who says we do not need any fundamental change in this country will not meet this moment. Nominating someone who wants to restore the world before Donald Trump, when the status quo has been leaving more and more people behind for decades, is a big risk for our party and our country,” Warren said in her strongest critique of the former vice president in this race so far. Really you should listen to her.

What say you, the people?