No matter how much money they raise, every political campaign is strapped for cash. Even Hillary Clinton’s campaign. So here’s my tip on how the Clinton campaign can save a lot of money: for Secretary Clinton to turn off the spigot. Tell her vice-presidential selection team to go home. Stop vetting anybody else – and just name Elizabeth Warren as her running mate.
There’s only one reason to pick Warren, and it’s not what most pundits say: not because Clinton needs Warren on the ticket to win over Bernie Sanders supporters. Despite all the fears expressed by Clinton staffers during the campaign, that’s not a problem. The latest Washington Post/ABC News poll, released this week, shows that 81 percent of Sanders supporters already say they’ll vote for Clinton. Only 8 percent of them support Donald Trump.
To put that in perspective, in 2008, according to the Washington Post, Clinton supporters were much slower to embrace Barack Obama. In June 2008, immediately after the primaries, 20 percent of Clinton supporters said they’d never vote for Obama. In July, their number rose to 22 percent; by October, they leveled off at 14 percent. In other words, Clinton’s already won over a greater percentage of Sanders supporters than Obama ever won among Clinton supporters. So that’s not why Clinton needs Warren.
No, the one reason for choosing Warren is that she’s simply the best, period. Best candidate. Best public speaker. Best in revving up a crowd. Best on her feet. And best on the issues. On the progressive agenda, there’s little daylight between Sanders and Warren. In the campaign and in the White House, she’ll play the same role Sanders did during the primary: pushing Clinton to the left on issues like trade, climate change, campaign reform, fracking, minimum wage and cracking down on Wall Street.
Warren has one other advantage: More than anybody else, she knows how to get under Donald Trump’s thin skin. He gets totally flustered when trying to respond to her taunts, falling back on childish name-calling, like “Pocahontas,” “sell-out,” or even “goofy.” To which Warren deliciously responds: “You want to see goofy? Look at him in that hat.” She also sums up best who Donald Trump really is: “a small, insecure money-grubber.”
The case for Elizabeth Warren becomes stronger the longer you look at the weak arguments against her.
One. She has little foreign policy experience. How much did Barack Obama have? Or George W. Bush? Plus, she’d be running with someone who probably has more foreign policy experience than any presidential candidate since Thomas Jefferson.
Two. If she wins, Democrats would lose her Senate seat for the next six years. Not necessarily true. Under Massachusetts law, the governor nominates someone to fill a Senate vacancy, but only temporarily — until a special election, held three months later. So even if Republican Gov. Charlie Baker named a Republican replacement for Warren, Democrats would still have a chance to recapture the seat in three months.
Three. But Wall Street doesn’t like her. Exactly! That’s why she’s perfect. Because Americans don’t like Wall Street, either. With Elizabeth Warren alongside Hillary Clinton in the White House, Americans would know there was someone fighting for Main Street, protecting consumers by keeping financial institutions in check and preventing them from playing the same funny-money games that crashed the economy in 2008.
Fourth and final argument against Elizabeth Warren – don’t you love this one? – “America’s not ready for two women on the ticket.” Nonsense. That reminds me of 1992 in California when everybody said California would never elect two women, two Jews, or two candidates from the San Francisco Bay Area to the U.S. Senate. Guess what? Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer are still there.
Let’s face it, the United States lags behind Israel, England, Indonesia, Germany, Ireland, Latvia and many other countries in electing a female leader. There’s no doubt a woman can do the job as well as, if not better, than a man. Indeed, men have messed things up for so long, it’s time to give a woman a chance. And the only thing better than one woman in the White House is two.
Of course, there will be those who advise Clinton to play it safe and go with a boring white male – advice she should simply ignore. This is the time for bold, not cautious, leadership. If you’re going to make history, make it big.