A Sanders-Warren ticket could win big in 2020

On March 19,  Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) will host a town meeting about income inequality that will feature Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenDemocrats opposed to Pelosi lack challenger to topple her More Massachusetts Voters Prefer Deval Patrick for President than Elizabeth Warren Trump's trade war — firing all cannons or closing the portholes? MORE (D-Mass.), film producer and director Michael Moore and the New School economics professor Derrick Hamilton.

This subject is one of the most important issues facing all Americans in their daily lives. It strikes at the heart of the matter of jobs, wages, economic opportunity and the core fairness of the American economy.

In my column this week in The Hill, I urged Democrats to focus intensely on uniting the party and winning control of the House and Senate in November, in the most important midterm elections in a century.

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Let's consider the Democratic options for the presidential ticket in the 2020 elections, with emphasis on the possibility of a Democratic ticket in 2020 of Sanders for president and Warren for vice president.

 

Let's consider three hypothetical Democratic tickets in 2020, which provide alternate models for how Democrats could regain the presidency and govern alongside a Democratic House and Senate after the presidential election.

Democrats are blessed with a large number of excellent potential candidates in 2020 and should consider and confront the mythology spread by Republicans and some insider Democrats that the most progressive Democratic candidates are not the most electable Democratic candidates.

The first model for a Democratic ticket in 2020 would be led by Sanders and Warren. This would be the progressive populist ticket offering the most bold and sweeping agenda.

The second model for a Democratic ticket would be led by former Vice President Joe BidenJoseph (Joe) Robinette BidenBiden to campaign for Stacey Abrams next week Dems with political experience could have edge in 2020 primary, says pollster Ford taps Obama, Clinton alum to navigate Senate hearing MORE, running with a vice-presidential nominee such as Sen. Amy KlobucharAmy Jean KlobucharSenate Democrats increase pressure for FBI investigation of Kavanaugh Election Countdown: Trump confident about midterms in Hill.TV interview | Kavanaugh controversy tests candidates | Sanders, Warren ponder if both can run | Super PACs spending big | Two states open general election voting Friday | Latest Senate polls GOP in striking distance to retake Franken seat MORE (D-Minn.) on a ticket that combines vast presidential calibre experience and a widely respected younger generation progressive leader.

The third model for a Democratic ticket would be led by Rep. Joe KennedyJoseph (Joe) Patrick KennedyDemocrats opposed to Pelosi lack challenger to topple her Ex-GOP donor urges support for Dems in midterms: 'Democracy is at stake' Joe Kennedy: Trump's math counts black and brown lives less than white lives MORE III (D-Mass.), a rising star of House Democrats, running with a vice presidential nominee such as California Attorney General Xavier BecerraXavier BecerraIndustry wins big in methane rules rollback Overnight Energy: Watchdog to investigate EPA over Hurricane Harvey | Panel asks GAO to expand probe into sexual harassment in science | States sue over methane rules rollback Some states back plaintiff suing DHS over Haitians' protected status MORE, who formerly served as chairman of the House Democratic Caucus in Congress, or Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisDem senator calls on Kavanaugh to withdraw after second allegation Feinstein calls for hold on Kavanaugh consideration Senate Democrats increase pressure for FBI investigation of Kavanaugh MORE (D-Calif.). 

This ticket would offer a bold and daring move for dramatic political and generational change. 

Behind the scenes of the national Democratic Party, it is commonly accepted wisdom, though not proven by facts, that the most progressive candidates are not the most electable candidates. In some states and districts this might be true.

But, in terms of winning the national popular vote and an electoral vote majority, there is a credible case that the most clearly progressive and politically aggressive Democrats can indeed win, and potentially win big.

The most important and powerfully persuasive data in modern American politics is that virtually every poll in 2016 showed Sanders defeating Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpGrassley: Dems 'withheld information' on new Kavanaugh allegation Health advocates decry funding transfer over migrant children Groups plan mass walkout in support of Kavanaugh accuser MORE by 10 percent or more. In the Real Clear Politics summary of 2016 polling, Sanders ran ahead of Trump by an average margin of more than 10 percent and often by much larger margins.  

Whether one supports Sanders or any other potential candidate in 2020, the case is clear that a strong progressive program and message would give Democrats a decided advantage in any campaign against the scandal-ridden and crony-capitalist-dominated presidency of Trump and his GOP allies in Congress.

The town meeting that will bring national attention to Sanders, Warren and Moore will dramatize why most voters will economically and financially benefit by a program that maximizes income equality, economic justice and fairness and economic opportunity for poor and middle-income voters in red and blue states alike.

While I could support Sanders, Warren or any of the progressive Democratic change candidates who could run on the ticket in 2020, it is important to disabuse the false notion, which is contrary to the facts demonstrated by national polling throughout 2016 and beyond, that progressive candidates are less electable.

Americans want a clear message of progressive change and would enthusiastically support a Sanders-Warren ticket, or any other ticket running on a similar program in 2020.

Whoever the Democratic nominee in 2020 is, he or she should, and almost certainly will, run a visionary and aggressive campaign that promises to bring the next great era of progressive leadership to America and could well realign American politics for a generation after the post-Trump era.

Brent Budowsky was an aide to former Sen. Lloyd Bentsen (D-Texas) and former Rep. Bill Alexander (D-Ark.), who was chief deputy majority whip of the U.S. House of Representatives. He holds an LLM in international financial law from the London School of Economics.