Elizabeth Warren Not VP Pick, Still Vital to Pushing Biden to the Left

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - DECEMBER 19: Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) speaks as former Vice President Joe Biden listens during the Democratic presidential primary debate at Loyola Marymount University on December 19, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. Seven candidates out of the crowded field qualified for the 6th and last Democratic …
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Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), once on the presidential campaign trail with Joe Biden, got a call from the former vice president on Tuesday telling her she was not his pick for vice president. But that doesn’t mean that her far left policies won’t find their way into the White House and a Biden administration.

Biden’s choice of Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) was “a disappointment to voters on the left who hoped the Massachusetts liberal would give the Democratic ticket a progressive jolt,” the Boston Globe reported.

But the left hopes she will still be a major influence on a Biden presidency.

“It’s clear she’s going to be very influential and important,” former Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA), said in the Globe report. “She is willing to be independent and differ, but she knows how to do that in ways that maximize her influence.”

The Globe laid out what it thinks the future holds for Warren, who vied with Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) as the most left-wing Democrat running for the White House who embraced policies such as Medicare for All and the Green New Deal:

Crucially, she has also emerged as something of a policy adviser to Biden, speaking with her former primary rival by phone regularly since she dropped out of the race. Her imprint is apparent in his “Build Back Better” economic plan — which contains planks of Warren’s “economic patriotism” plan that was a trade proposal designed to increase US jobs — and in his embrace of the cancellation of some student loan debt and expansion of Social Security benefits.

Warren quickly became the favored vice presidential choice of progressive groups including the Working Families Party, which had backed her during the primary, as well as Sanders-supporting groups like Roots Action and the Progressive Democrats of America. They argued she could turn out young and left-leaning voters. But some Democrats worried she would turn off more moderate voters, while others saw her as an ill fit for a historic moment, in the wake of the George Floyd protests, that had led many in the party to urge Biden to choose a woman of color.

Some of her allies, like the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, which endorsed her presidential campaign, are strongly hinting that Biden needs to commit to putting liberals like her in his Cabinet if he wants progressive voters to feel excited about him on Election Day.

A statement from the committee said:

His ambitious Build Back Better agenda, based on ideas from Elizabeth Warren and other progressive leaders, was a strong step toward increasing progressive enthusiasm — and the next will be ongoing evidence that Elizabeth Warren-style progressives will have a strong set of seats in a Biden-Harris Administration.

“Warren will play a big role in laying out an economic agenda with a focus on the working class and middle class,” Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA), the former cochair of Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders’ campaign who backed her as a vice president pick.“Whether from the senator or from the administration, she has the brilliance to help shape policy.”

The left-wing think tank Data for Progress is making the case for Warren to be Biden’s Treasury Secretary.

“But some of her supporters say they would prefer to see her tug a Biden administration to the left from the outside,” the Globe reported. “They remember her oversight role after the 2008 financial crisis and how she publicly grilled then-treasury secretary Timothy Geithner about the Obama administration response.”

“I’d probably rather she stay in the Senate, where she could be a stronger ally that doesn’t always have to toe the administration’s line,” Charles Chamberlain, executive director of the far-left Democracy for America, said in the Globe report. “She might be more powerful in the Senate than as treasury secretary.”

Jorden Giger, a board member of the Sanders-aligned group Our Revolution and an activist with Black Lives Matter in South Bend, Indiana, also said Warren could have a greater influence in the Senate.

“She can challenge [Biden’s] administration to take bold, progressive steps and push for structural change,” Giger said.

“If there’s anyone I trust to actually play the inside-outside game, it’s Elizabeth Warren,” said Nelini Stamp, of the Working Families Party, which endorsed Bernie Sanders for the 2020 presidential nomination.

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