Elizabeth Warren for vice president?

Hillary Clinton has the Democratic presidential nomination locked up. Any remaining suspense associated with the run-up to the convention centers around (1) whether, or to what extent, she will continue to tack to the left and (2) the identity of her running mate.

As to the second matter, Clinton’s campaign has let it be known that she will consider selecting a female VP candidate. Indeed, we are told that her team is intrigued by the idea of an all-female ticket.

It’s easy to dismiss this information as part tease, part ploy, and that’s basically how I perceive it. However, James Hohmann of the Washington Post identifies Elizabeth Warren as a female who might enhance the Democratic ticket politically, not because of her gender but because of her leftism. As Hohmann explains:

Clinton would never choose Sanders as her running mate, but Warren might be able to activate many of his core supporters. If the former Secretary of State remains soft with liberals come summer, she might look leftward.

But Hohmann finds the factors weighing against Warren’s selection to be substantial:

[Warren’s] repeated refusal to endorse Hillary matters. She is the only female Democratic senator to stay on the sidelines. The Clintons are well known for placing a premium on loyalty. As West Wing veterans, they can surely envision the kinds of headaches that a Vice President Warren might cause for them.

The Republican governor of Massachusetts, Charlie Baker, would get to pick Warren’s replacement until a special election is held, which could take 145 to 160 days. Hillary will be reluctant to do anything that could stop Democrats from re-taking the Senate and undermine her ability to push an ambitious agenda during her first 100 days.

Picking a liberal former law professor from Harvard could theoretically help Hillary play the populism card but it would also make it easier for Republicans to caricature her as an out-of-touch and an out-of-the-mainstream elitist.

Warren is really not that tested. She struggled more than she should have in 2012 against Scott Brown, only defeating him by 8 points (even as President Obama beat Mitt Romney in the state where he had been governor by 23 points.)

In my view, Clinton would have to be desperate to choose Warren. If the Republicans nominate Donald Trump, I’m pretty sure she will not feel desperate.

Nominating Ted Cruz won’t necessarily create a sense of desperation in Clinton’s camp either. And Cruz’s strong conservatism will probably cause Team Clinton to take the Sanders-Warren wing of her party for granted in the general election, thus eliminating any need to consider Warren as a running mate.


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