Democrats see Clinton and Warren as dream team

Democrats are openly hoping that Hillary Clinton will pick Elizabeth Warren as her running mate.

Amid concerns that supporters of Bernie Sanders will choose to stay home on Election Day, a number of Democrats see a Clinton-Warren alliance as an all-woman dream team that could ignite deep enthusiasm in the progressive base and make the 2016 Democratic presidential ticket truly historic. 

{mosads}It would also eliminate the pro-Wall Street storyline that has haunted Clinton’s campaign throughout the primary season, Clinton allies believe.

Democratic strategist and presidential campaign veteran Jamal Simmons said the longer Sanders stays in the race, the more likely Clinton will select Warren.

“I think so more every day,” he said. “[Warren] solves so many problems: enthusiasm, women, young liberals, older white liberals.”

Simmons sees the prospect of a Clinton-Warren ticket growing with Donald Trump as the GOP’s presumptive presidential nominee. Trump has used the gender card against Clinton repeatedly. 

“Trump’s continued misogyny and rhetoric also increases the likelihood of selecting Warren,” Simmons said. 

There are plenty of reasons to think Clinton would never pick Warren, who would be seen as a risky choice for a fundamentally risk-averse candidate.

Yet Clinton and her close team of advisers are said to be considering the idea as the campaign inches closer to the general election. Democratic consultants and other Clinton insiders have been informally asked about their thoughts on Warren, along with other possible vice presidential picks. 

Clinton, those around her say, wants someone who will completely contrast to what Trump and his running mate will offer.

“It’s a wild idea, but look at this race,” Simmons said. “You can’t be too wild. People are not in the mood for even and consistent. People are in the mood for long shots. They want someone to disrupt the status quo.”

A Warren representative refused to comment on whether Clinton and Warren had interacted recently. 

Instead, the representative referred to recent comments by Warren about Trump. 

“Republicans waited way too long to stand up and tell the truth about Donald Trump’s record, his temperament, and why he is unfit to be president,” Warren said. “We can’t repeat that mistake.”

Clinton is weeks away from a decision, according to those in her orbit, and is still mulling the likes of Sens. Sherrod Brown (Ohio) and Tim Kaine (Va.). In the meantime, she is dealing with the primary challenge from Sanders, who is expected to defeat her in West Virginia’s primary on Tuesday. 

A win by Sanders, who also hopes to do well in May 17 contests in Oregon and Kentucky, could give more ammunition to progressives who want to see someone give voice to their issues.

Warren has been neutral in the race between Clinton and Sanders, whose complaints about Wall Street and income inequality are in line with the Massachusetts senator’s message. It’s unlikely that Warren will come off the sidelines in the primary race until after the race is decided. 

Trump has taken aim at Warren, writing on Twitter last week, “I hope corrupt Hillary Clinton chooses goofy Elizabeth Warren as her running mate. I will defeat them both.” 

In a separate tweet, he wrote, “Let’s properly check goofy Elizabeth Warren’s records to see if she is Native American. I say she’s a fraud.”

Trump’s tweet was likely motivated by Warren’s vow to “fight my heart out” to prevent Trump’s “toxic stew of hatred and insecurity” from reaching the White House. Warren said Trump has “built his campaign on racism, sexism, and xenophobia.”

In invoking her Native American ancestry, Trump was raising a controversy from Warren’s 2012 Senate election against then-Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.). 

Warren has said she is proud of her Native American heritage, and Harvard University referred to her Native American background in touting its diverse faculty. Warren said she listed herself as such in a university directory to connect to other people, but did not use it to get a position. 

While there is buzz about a Clinton-Warren ticket, not everyone thinks it would be a great idea. 

One former senior Obama administration official said Warren was a “royal pain in the ass in the White House” when she worked as an assistant to the president and special adviser to the secretary of the Treasury for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

The official said Warren developed a reputation as “wanting her way, wanting all of it” and “expecting to be treated as senior staff.”

Asked if Clinton could have gotten those impressions of Warren from her time in President Obama’s Cabinet, the former official added, “Oh, I don’t think you need to be a Cabinet secretary to know that Elizabeth Warren is a challenging soul.

“Hillaryland hopefully will not feel so desperate to unify the Sanders base that she’d bring on Warren,” the former official said. “I would be shocked if [Clinton] picked her.”

A longtime adviser to Clinton pointed out that while Warren “would help in bringing the Sanders supporters back in the fold, it wouldn’t help in terms of attracting certain independents or moderate Republicans.”

The adviser continued, saying, “While you could argue she’d attract more votes and enthusiasm from the left than she’d lose on the center-right, I believe there are alternatives who could help avoid making it a near-zero sum equation.” Someone like Brown, the adviser added, could “help with left-leaning voters to some extent while not alienating center-right voters.”

Other political observers say a Warren selection remains unlikely because of her star power and how she could ultimately undermine Clinton. 

Others cast doubts over a two-woman ticket. 

“I don’t think it would be a good strategic move for the Clinton campaign,” said Katherine Jellison, a professor of women’s history and chairperson in the department of history at Ohio University. “The traditional wisdom is that you want to balance the ticket, someone who balances out a region or a demographic.”

Jellison said it’s “tantalizing the voters” by keeping Warren in the mix to telegraph that the campaign is pro-women, “but I’m skeptical that there will be follow-through on that.”

Tags Bernie Sanders Donald Trump Elizabeth Warren Hillary Clinton Sherrod Brown Tim Kaine

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