If Warren has to play politics to be Clinton’s VP, so be it

Clinton-Warren handshake
Chip Somodevilla, Getty Images

On June 9, two days after the California primary, Massachusetts senator and heralded progressive Elizabeth Warren endorsed Hillary Clinton for president.

Clinton – who won four of the six primaries on June 7, including California’s – appears likely to become the Democratic nominee for president, barring a criminal conviction for her email scandal or an unprecedented sea change in the leanings of some five hundred superdelegates.

Some Bernie Sanders supporters have been taking Warren to task on social media over her endorsement of Clinton, some calling her a “corporate whore” while others have said the endorsement shows that “everyone has their price.”

Really, guys? Yes, it’s disappointing that Warren held off on endorsing Sanders, even though it seemed her views were much closer to his than to Clinton’s. Yes, it’s also disappointing that Clinton has all but won the nomination and that Democratic power players are falling in line behind her.

But that’s what usually happens. I know this election is different – that Bernie’s candidacy is about reclaiming our country and our government from a corrupt system – but the endorsement game is politics as usual, and we should not be surprised.

Why has Warren taken this step now? Well, there’s a lot of speculation that Elizabeth Warren is near the top of Clinton’s list of potential vice presidential running mates.

My take, as an ardent Bernie Sanders supporter and volunteer, is that if an endorsement of Clinton is what it takes to become vice president, then Elizabeth Warren should do it. A single endorsement of an establishment politician and an admittedly cringeworthy interview on CBS This Morning can’t erase the incredible things Sen. Warren has done for the people of the U.S. and the progressive movement. In case you’ve forgotten, here are some of the best quotes from just a few of the times Elizabeth Warren has stood up for us:

Jonathan Ernst, Reuters

Don’t abandon Elizabeth Warren. She’s a progressive champion who sounds a lot like Bernie Sanders whenever she opens her mouth to complain about inequality and injustice. If some Bernie Sanders supporters are willing to openly eviscerate a populist firebrand like Warren just because she endorsed Hillary Clinton, what on  earth are they going to do when Bernie Sanders endorses Hillary Clinton?

Yes, it’s probably going to happen. Again, I’ll mention that a huge shift in superdelegates and/or a criminal conviction regarding her email scandal could change the game before the July 25 Democratic National Convention, but in all likelihood, Sanders will endorse Hillary Clinton in the likely event she is officially nominated or maybe before.

To those of you who have been tearing Elizabeth Warren apart: do you plan on doing the same to Sanders when he endorses Clinton, as he likely will? Do you plan on abandoning the man you’ve been fighting for for more than a year because he’s playing politics, as politicians – even unconventional ones like Bernie – often must? Do you plan on forsaking Bernie Sanders forever because he recognized that he lost but wanted to use his power to influence the Democratic Party rather than burning bridges to preserve idealogical purity?

I didn’t think so. At the end of the day, we have come close, but it appears America isn’t yet ready for the political revolution. As crushing as that is, we have to move forward and see what kind of real change we can enact. If Bernie is willing to work with the Democrats to get his supporters on Clinton’s side, the party might be willing to make the party more inclusive in the future. We might see the end of superdelegates. The end of caucuses. The end of closed primaries. We might see a Democratic Party that more closely represents the interests of the 45% of primary voters who chose Sanders.

Bernie thinking

If Bernie is willing to work with the Democrats – which I’m almost certain he is – we should stay behind him. So why aren’t we staying behind Elizabeth Warren? If she has to side with Clinton to become vice president, then we should be behind her. If Elizabeth Warren becomes the vice president of the United States, she will have national media coverage whenever she wants to speak about income inequality. Whenever she wants to speak about the injustice inherent in our financial system. Whenever she wants to speak about the student loan crisis and the need for greater public financing of colleges.

The list goes on and on. Vice President Elizabeth Warren would mean that most of the issues Bernie cares about would be given a national voice by the second-highest elected official in the country. Plus, Warren could pressure Clinton to come through on promises like nominating anti-Citizens United Supreme Court justices, really fighting for the middle class, and more. Vice President Elizabeth Warren would be an incredible victory for Bernie Sanders and for the progressive movement because she would have strong influence over our national priorities. The more the spotlight turns toward the issues Bernie has tried to address, the more people will come on board with our movement, and the greater chance we have of winning in 2020, 2024, and beyond.

I support Elizabeth Warren in whatever she has to do to become the Democratic nominee for vice president. If you have forsaken Elizabeth Warren because she’s trying to gain the power to advance the progressive issues Bernie cares about, then you’re too blinded by adherence to ideological purity to recognize that she’s trying to win a victory for the political revolution.


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