Budowsky: Warren has a plan for Democrats

Budowsky: Warren has a plan for Democrats
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In one of the most innovative and important strategic moves in modern presidential politics, Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenTrump preps conspiracy theory to explain faltering economy Sanders, Warren back major shift to fight drug overdoses Rendell: Biden 'baked in' as Democratic nominee MORE (D-Mass.) is running for president by offering a substantial list of detailed plans she would implement if she is elected to succeed President TrumpDonald John TrumpGraham: America must 'accept the pain that comes in standing up to China' Weld 'thrilled' more Republicans are challenging Trump New data challenges Trump's economic narrative MORE in the White House.

In my view, Warren, who has been steadily creeping up toward third place in polling and has invested heavily in creating a ground operation for the Iowa caucuses, is the most underestimated candidate for the Democratic nomination.

While I am not today supporting any presidential candidate, Warren’s concept of showing maximum respect for voters by offering comprehensive plans to develop a powerful and cogent progressive agenda is worthy of praise, attention and political consideration.

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On issue after issue Warren is offering detailed plans to make the economy more fair, require the most wealthy Americans to pay a reasonable wealth tax, create universal child care, address the plaguing burden of student debt, and champion a progressive capitalism by running against a system in which the game is fixed and the deck is stacked against poor, middle-income and working-class voters. By offering such detailed plans, Warren is showing great respect for the intelligence of voters, a stunning contrast to Trump.

Today, for purpose of analysis, imagine if Warren is nominated and selects retired Adm. William McRaven as her vice presidential candidate or pledges to offer him the post of national security adviser or secretary of Defense if she is elected.

McRaven, whose personal heroism is universally admired and whose leadership is widely revered throughout the military community, has been a strong and courageous critic of Trump and a strong and internationally respected voice for the alliance of democratic nations and time-honored American values. McRaven as a VP candidate would generate enormous goodwill and support in all 50 states and provide a rocket boost of support for any strong progressive nominee such as Warren.

Democrats face a tremendous and historic opportunity in 2020. They face a hugely unpopular president and Republicans in Congress who have locked their political fate, their political careers and the future of the GOP to Trump’s presidency and his reelection.

The danger for Democrats is overconfidence leading to overshoot, with a nominating process that could appear to voters like comic opera with far too many candidates elbowing and criticizing each other, and trailing candidates saying outrageous things in desperate efforts to get attention.

There are two different paths for Democrats to win the presidency, Senate and House in 2020.  

The first path is with a nominee such as former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenScaramucci attends charity event featuring Biden in the Hamptons Klobuchar knocks Trump: 'This negotiating by tweet hasn't been working' Rendell: Biden 'baked in' as Democratic nominee MORE who is eminently qualified, widely respected, universally known, personally likable and generally but not courageously liberal.

The alternate path is with a more sharply progressive candidate such as Warren, Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisSanders doubles down on 'Medicare For All' defense: 'We have not changed one word' Obama reveals his summer playlist Democratic candidates face hard choices as 2020 field winnows MORE (D-Calif.) or Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersTrump preps conspiracy theory to explain faltering economy Sanders doubles down on 'Medicare For All' defense: 'We have not changed one word' Sanders, Warren back major shift to fight drug overdoses MORE (I-Vt.), who is today the leading challenger to Biden for the nomination, though Warren and Harris are within striking range.

The Democratic ticket in 2020 should bring a unity between these two alternative paths. The ticket should include a male and female nominee for president and vice president, in either order, and ultimately merge the two alternative paths at the Democratic National Convention.

For Democrats in 2020, the vice presidential choice will be far more critical than in previous elections. Biden would be well-advised to run with a younger, dynamic and strongly progressive female running mate. Warren, Sanders or Harris would be well-advised to choose a running mate who would back progressive values but significantly appeal to moderate, swing vote and blue collar voters in key states and congressional districts — especially those that backed Trump in 2016 but elected 31 new Democratic House members in 2018.

Throughout the progressive community and Democratic Party there is a deep yearning for the candidate most likely to defeat Trump. Both the broad reaching out from Biden and the compelling plans from Warren offer road maps for a historic Democratic victory in 2020.

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 House of Representatives. He holds an LLM in international financial law from the London School of Economics.