With Bernie Sanders all but mathematically eliminated from contention for the Democratic party presidential nomination, pundits and pollsters are gearing up for a Trump-Clinton general election showdown. Although practically the de facto presumptive Democratic nominee, Clinton has yet to evoke much enthusiasm from young voters and progressives. To offset this enormous handicap some talking heads are floating the idea of a Clinton-Warren ticket former Harvard economics professor and one of the leading liberal voices in the U.S. Senate, as a possible vice-presidential nominee. While the prospect of a Clinton-Warren ticket is certainly compelling, the notion is actually a tremendous strategic mistake because of the Bernie or bust movement and Clinton’s relatively rare opportunity to capture disaffected Republican votes.
Bernie or Busted
First, the rapidly increasing prominence of the Bernie or Bust movement undercuts Warren’s potential appeal. As concisely summarized here, Bernie or Bust is built around the premise that Bernie Sanders was treated unfairly by the DNC in multiple primaries and thus voters should, come November, vote for him via write-in ballot rather than support Clinton. While this notion has yet to gain serious traction beyond the realm of social media, it nevertheless is poised to peal many young and left-leaning voters, the very group Warren’s nomination is intended to court, away from the party fold. These disenfranchised Bernie devotees, bitterly resentful of the Democratic establishment, are unlikely to vote for Hilary Clinton regardless of her VP pick. Assuming Hilary counts Bernie or Bust ideologues as a lost cause, as she absolutely must at this juncture, The Only Sanders supporters she needs to win are the ones she’s guaranteed not to lose: those who, fearing a Trump presidency above all else, will hold their noses and choose pragmatism over principle. Therefore, Clinton would do better selecting a running mate with wider cross-over appeal than Warren who, for all her popularity on the left, won’t attract a wide swathe of support across the political spectrum.
Fomenting Desertion From the GOP Ranks
Furthermore, as Clinton secures her victory in the Democratic presidential race she has an unprecedented opportunity to draw support from disillusioned Republicans. Garnering attention from mainstream online media, some traditional GOP voters are so discontented by Trump’s nomination as to contemplate the unthinkable- supporting Clinton, however grudgingly, over Trump or any other third party challenger. Though the number of Republican voters willing to take such drastic action is probably small, compared to those who will toe the party line, it is conceivably large enough to tip the balance in swing states like Ohio and Florida where elections are actually decided. Of course Clinton will want to capitalize, nobody with her acumen would pass up such a chance, and what better way than choosing a centrist, moderate running mate? Possible contenders might include Florida senator Bill Nelson, Colorado governor John Hickenlooper or even left-leaning Republicans like New York representative Peter King. In any event, if Clinton aims to sabotage Trump and abscond with a potentially decisive slice, however small, from the GOP it’s hard to imagine any more coun ter-intuitive and destructive strategy than putting Elizabeth Warren on her ticket.