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5 Reasons Hillary Clinton Should Choose Elizabeth Warren For Veep

L-R, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is pictured on Feb. 8, 2016; Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., is pictured Oct. 6, 2015.
L-R, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is pictured on Feb. 8, 2016; Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., is pictured Oct. 6, 2015.
This article is more than 3 years old.

Speculation is rampant over whether Hillary Clinton will choose Sen. Elizabeth Warren as her vice president. The two met for more than an hour today.

Here are five reasons why Clinton would be a fool not to do so:

1. Warren Will Lock in Progressives and Economic Populists (i.e. Bernie Supporters)

As a former Bernie supporter — one genuinely concerned about Hillary’s cozy relationship with Wall Street — I would greet the selection of Warren as a signal that Hillary is serious about pursuing a progressive economic agenda.

The slogan that would usher them into the White House practically writes itself: Two strong women beat one strongman.

To put that more affirmatively: Warren is not the sort of person who is going to obediently put aside her agenda in exchange for a place on the ticket. I suspect the only way she would agree to serve as Clinton’s running mate is if she’s promised a meaningful role in the administration.

2. Warren Will Eviscerate Trump

The traditional role of the vice presidential candidate is to go after the other side’s presidential candidate. In this respect, Warren would be an astonishingly gutsy and effective choice. As she has proved in speech after speech, she sees Trump for what precisely he is: an insecure, selfish bully who decided to run for president because Obama humiliated him.

Warren understands that what animates Trump’s bluster is ultimately wounded masculinity. And she attacks him with relentless precision. She literally unmans him. See below:

Trump will go crazy trying to answer her attacks, and will come to seem more and more deranged by pride.

These attacks will free Hillary from the burden of slinging mud, will allow her to talk about her policy ideas, and thus shine a light on Trump’s shocking ignorance.

3. Warren Also Links Trumpism to Conservatism

Warren has been wise enough not just to throw haymakers at Trump, but to explicate the ways in which Trump — far from being an enemy of conservatism — is in fact a vulgar avatar of that movement. His modus operandi may be cruder and more overtly racist. But his intention is precisely the same as the men who enable him (Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell, etc.): to protect the interests of the wealthy few at the expense of the struggling masses.

This is precisely the critique that Democrats up and down the ballot should be making. And Warren’s experience — as a struggling single mother, and as the Senate’s leading consumer advocate — allows her to articulate it in language that is simple and resonant.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., emerges from the home of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton following a private meeting the day after Warren’s endorsement, Friday, June 10, 2016, in Washington. (JJ. Scott Applewhite/AP)
Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., emerges from the home of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton following a private meeting the day after Warren’s endorsement, Friday, June 10, 2016, in Washington. (JJ. Scott Applewhite/AP)

4. Warren Would Be a Double Down Against a Sexist Pig

Whatever else he may be, Trump is astonishingly sexist. He clearly views women as sexual objects, as trophies, as pigs, or (in the best case) as surprisingly competent employees. He’s not going to change these views.

Nominating a strong woman as her vice president would create undeniable optics. It would be Trump — the chauvinist — against two women who don’t just want to break the glass ceiling, but shatter it.

It would also force Trump to defend the various despicable comments he’s made towards women. And not just about their looks or bodily functions. But the very idea (for instance) that they should be punished for deciding to get abortions.

5. Remember Al Gore!

The pundits and pollsters would no doubt like Clinton to make a safer choice for veep. A governor from a swing state, for instance, or a prominent Hispanic. That’s exactly why she should choose Warren. Because it’s a bold move from a candidate who is too often safe and calculated.

She should also remember how wise her husband was in choosing Al Gore. Warren would be that same kind of pick. Yes, she’s from the same region as Clinton. And yes, she’s the same gender and race. And yes, the Democrats would lose a seat in the Senate (though probably only for a few months).

But Warren offers Hillary something that can’t be measured in polls: a wow factor that is based on ideological and rhetorical courage.

The slogan that would usher them into the White House practically writes itself: Two strong women beat one strongman.

Related:

Steve Almond Twitter Cognoscenti contributor
Steve Almond's new book, "Bad Stories: What the Hell Just Happened to Our Country," is now available. He hosts the Dear Sugars podcast with Cheryl Strayed.

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