Progressive activist Ady Barkan endorses Biden, urges him to pick Warren as VP

Progressive activist Ady Barkan endorses Biden, urges him to pick Warren as VP

Progressive activist Ady Barkan endorsed presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe BidenJoe BidenMissouri woman seen with Pelosi sign charged in connection with Capitol riots Facebook temporarily bans ads for weapons accessories following Capitol riots Sasse, in fiery op-ed, says QAnon is destroying GOP MORE on Wednesday and encouraged him to pick Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenPorter loses seat on House panel overseeing financial sector OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Nine, including former Michigan governor, charged over Flint water crisis | Regulator finalizes rule forcing banks to serve oil, gun companies | Trump admin adds hurdle to increase efficiency standards for furnaces, water heaters DeVos mulled unilateral student loan forgiveness as COVID-19 wracked economy: memo MORE (D-Mass.) as his running mate.

In an interview with The New York Times, Barkan said he recently had a conversation with Biden and that he is eager to ensure that progressives who were disappointed by the Democratic primary results do not stay on the sidelines during the general election.

“Even though he wasn’t our first choice, I don’t think that progressives and democratic socialists should sit out the election, or vote third party, and I wanted to make that clear,” Barkan said.


“I think that the vice president and his staff understand the need to unify the party, and I think that is why they agreed to the conversation,” Barkan said. “The conversation reinforced my pre-existing understanding of Joe Biden. He is an intelligent, compassionate man who will be a vast improvement over Donald TrumpDonald TrumpFacebook temporarily bans ads for weapons accessories following Capitol riots Sasse, in fiery op-ed, says QAnon is destroying GOP Section 230 worked after the insurrection, but not before: How to regulate social media MORE.”

Barkan, who is a prominent voice in left-wing circles and a well-regarded advocate for "Medicare for All," met with most of the Democratic White House hopefuls during the primary.

But Barkan, who has ALS and is confined to a wheelchair, said at the time that Biden refused to meet with him. He pointedly jabbed at Biden over Twitter at the time, saying: “If he’s afraid of a paralyzed man who talks politely and very slowly, how does he expect to survive a debate with Trump?”

Barkan has a long history of working with and supporting Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersSenate Democrats leery of nixing filibuster 'Almost Heaven, West Virginia' — Joe Manchin and a 50-50 Senate Biden to seek minimum wage in COVID-19 proposal MORE (I-Vt.). However, Barkan endorsed Warren during the Democratic primary.

In his conversation with the Times, Barkan said the best thing Biden can do to “excite young progressive voters” is to pick Warren to be his vice president.


Biden has committed to selecting a woman as his running mate. But the protests surrounding the police killing of George Floyd have raised pressure on Biden to select a woman of color to be his vice president.

Barkan said he was “devastated” when Warren dropped out of the primary, but he said he has warmed up to the idea of supporting Biden in the general election since their conversation.

“He and I have meaningfully different perspectives on the world; not only on what ails it, but on what we must do to address those maladies,” Barkan said. “And yet despite the literal and figurative distances between us, I know that the vice president heard what I was saying. He listened, he understood, and he promised to continue doing both after he is elected.”

Medicare for All is one of the primary sticking points between Biden and the progressive left. Barkan has been a longtime advocate for the progressive plan.

Biden, meanwhile, supports a plan that would keep private insurance and build on ObamaCare by adding a public option.

In their conversation, Biden told Barkan that he would work with progressives on a trillion-dollar proposal to overhaul the health care system that goes beyond what he has supported to date.

“I’m eager to get to you and your folks the remainder of what I call the entire health initiative,” Biden said. “That goes beyond Obamacare with a public option or Medicare for all, goes beyond that in terms of a whole new care network across the board, of giving people more flexibility, allowing people to not have to make choices between their job and taking care of a parent who’s dying.”