Biden spent much of Democratic Primary committed to reviving decency in American political culture. Warren launched an appeal for “major structural changes” that launched it at the top of the polls in the summer of 2019, but this year has not translated into success. The heart of Biden’s appeal remains constant, but as the coronavirus relapse deepens, he has also begun to telegraph the desire to strike with a more ambitious political agenda – a political enterprise, in terms and size, that many allies of Warren believe he is uniquely qualified to drive through the government’s mad and macabre gears.
That the possibility of sharing a ticket remains after a primary in which the two occasionally clashed in direct and personal terms is another indicator of the fluidity of the race.
In November 2019, Warren responded to Biden’s criticism of his “Medicare for All” plan accusing him of “repeating Republican talk points” and suggesting that the former vice president, given his stance on the matter, may be “running in the primaries. wrong presidential “. Biden reacted in an unusually blunt post Medium, calling Warren – albeit not by name – for adopting an “approach in my own way or on the highway”, which he described as “condescending to millions of Democrats who have a different view”.
But that episode now only resonates as an abnormal, rare – and short – brawl with bare hands in a race that has seen so few of them. Ever since Warren came out in March, it has been full of praise for Biden. Her “decency”, she told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow in an interview after leaving the race, “comes in pretty much everything she does.”
Earlier this week, Biden tweeted a video of the couple joining in to call and thank a small dollar donor – a personal touch employed by the Massachusetts senator during his campaign.
“I was calling my collaborators,” Biden says to a supporter of the clip, “but I never had so many until (Warren) supported me.”
Warren was also moved by the ex-vice president’s efforts, notably by his March decision to approve Warren’s consumer bankruptcy reform plan, which opens new avenues for student debt relief. It had been a bone of contention between them dating back decades, when they notoriously gathered on it during an audition on Capitol Hill. A source familiar with Warren’s thought said that it meant a lot to her that Biden adopted her bankruptcy plan when she abandoned.
However, Biden’s decision-making process should last for weeks, if not months. And even though he and Warren meet on some button issues, there are still significant political gaps to be bridged between the moderate supporter and the progressive icon. Warren is widely regarded as a “team player”, but the degree to which Biden is willing to deliver significant power to an ideological rival, and what Warren is willing to grant in order to forge a partnership, remains an open question.
A more personal connection
The question that looms over this spring surge of interest in Warren’s prospects is most frequently based on whether she and Biden have – or are on track to make – the kind of personal connection they want in their racing partner.
A source familiar with the Biden-Warren relationship acknowledged that the couple does not necessarily “get along as if they were friends,” but said they both believe the other is in politics “for the right reasons.”
“I would say they are very nice,” said the source, channeling a term that Biden himself often used when talking about the decision. “Personal relationships are part of it. But also the way you see the world.”
Biden contacted Warren shortly after his brother’s death, the source said. Speaking in the Atlantic, he described the exchange that followed as “a person who had lost loved ones in an attempt to console another person who had just lost his beloved brother”. A source familiar with their discussions said that Warren and Biden have spoken several times since Warren left the race, both before and after his brother’s death.
Warren has been on the other side of similar calls.
Murshed Zaheed, former aide of the former Senate majority leader Harry Reid and progressive agent who became one of Warren’s most vocal external supporters, recalled that his phone rang on the morning of his father’s funeral in March 2018.
“He talked to me and I can’t put into words how powerful that stuff is,” said Zaheed. “And then he called me a year later, on the anniversary of Dad’s disappearance. So when I read the story of Biden and Warren connecting for pain – it’s powerful. It’s a bond you can’t fully explain.”
“I saw that paragraph (in the Atlantic) and it hit me at the time,” he said. “It’s like, ‘OK, not everyone will make it, but it’s not a lip service, that stuff matters.’ And this creates a different type of chemistry. “
Biden’s campaign has been strained on his trial and maintains a shorter list than can be ascertained from public statements and appearances, which seem to oscillate among the contenders. When asked why she perceived greater openness for Warren, Sara Nelson, international president of the Flight Attendants Association, indicated a specific time when Biden and her team chose to highlight.
“I’m seeing actions that prove it,” said Nelson, an increasingly influential work leader. “The barbecue Elizabeth Warren gave Steve Mnuchin (Tuesday) about the application of the CARES Act … was perfectly in line with what we were talking about. Biden collected it and amplified it with a tweet thread.”
Richard Cordray, the first director of the Consumer Financial Protection Office built by Warren, who worked closely with her and Biden, told CNN that he believed in a new economic crisis – and the prospect that it could persist for years without significant intervention – raised Warren action.
He also suggested that despite all the political differences they spared during the primary, Biden and Warren had more in common than many thought.
“They both have enormous personal tension in their politics. They really see politics in terms of, for Biden, in terms of middle class education, and the same in reality for Elizabeth,” Cordray said. “And it’s something that neither of them has ever lost for many years in the public arena. Many people move away from their roots, but neither has ever done it.”
The coronavirus effect
“The crisis has clearly changed things,” said representative Ro Khanna, former campaign co-chairman of Senator Bernie Sanders, who wrote an advertisement last week, asking Biden to choose Warren as his running partner. “It requires courageous and structural programs. This argument was more difficult to express when we were at 3.5% unemployment.”
Other Warren allies have indicated his shift as a pre-pandemic Cassandra, whose warning in the summer of 2019 that the economy was a “shock” away from another collapse have mostly been ignored. When he offered a series of plans earlier this year to deal with the coronavirus when his force was released to the country, those were also largely overlooked.
“It was Elizabeth Warren in January who had a plan for coronavirus. No one else talked about it then,” said Rebecca Katz, a progressive political strategist. “She had a plan on the health crisis around the coronavirus and a plan on the economic crisis. Imagine if we really had done what she had suggested in the plans a few months ago – where would we be now?”
Katz also indicated the political brand that Warren brings to the competition, the one that helped her rise to the top of the primary field for a period of last year, when she drove in the polls while the Democrats embraced her as a candidate with a “plan” for everything.
“You don’t have to make it a new message,” said Katz. “Warren kept having a plan and that’s something he broke through and people know about her a year later. It’s not abstract.”
Biden and his team said the decision will ultimately turn into two key bets: that it may involve a partnership in the White House that has the potential to reflect the close relationship he shared with President Barack Obama. And that his choice is ready to go up and lead, if necessary, with little or no training in the workplace.
Warren’s ability to enter the role without difficulty – and to take the step forward if necessary – is not disputed by most Democrats.
“I don’t pretend to know who (Biden) will choose, but as far as I’m concerned, I think he should look for someone who has the necessary qualifications to take on the role of vice president,” said Jim Manley, a longtime collaborator with Reid. “And I’m not convinced that everyone who is arguing meets these criteria.”
As for Warren?
“That’s right. I mean, you’re a detective for a woman!” Manley said. “Obviously he has the political chops, but perhaps more importantly, he knows how to move the levers of power within the regulatory process to do things.”
Pitted against each other, Warren has returned to the top again, with 36% having named it their first choice. Harris finished second at 19%. Abrams and Klobuchar again finished third and fourth respectively.
Warren’s allies shape their case
Progressives have, for various reasons, been reluctant to plump publicly too harshly for Warren.
Sanders missed the opportunity, publicly and privately, to submit his request to the Biden team. Even his longtime senior consultant Jeff Weaver stopped saying, saying he was taking “the same position as Bernie Sanders, which is: this is a decision (Biden) he has to make for himself.
But Weaver, who recently launched a super PAC to support Biden, echoed other major progressive voices with his specific praise.
“Senator Warren has a long history of great concentration on staff as a means of bringing about progressive change,” he told CNN. “And of course this would be an incredibly valuable skill in administration.”
Warren’s choice would also help Biden with his small dollar fundraiser, reduce the potential grumbling of skeptical progressives about his commitment to engaging their ideas and potentially inspiring Warren’s sizable core support to become more active in the campaign.
“Reducing the type of negative media obtained by the” Bernie or bust “type of voters, because it’s the overwhelming preference of Bernie’s supporters, while it also helps to root those gains in the suburbs, is an advantage,” said Sean McElwee, co – founder of Data for Progress, a progressive think tank and a pollster.
But like many of Warren’s other allies, McElwee returned to the topic of competence, a structure designed to appeal to all the ideological divisions of the party and the country – and, in the event that the Democrats win, position them to immediately use their new power.
“To ensure that we maintain the House in 2022, (Biden) must offer immediate and visible benefits to working-class and middle-class Americans,” said McElwee. “And that means you have to take the government ship that has been completely destroyed by the Republicans and rebuild it in a way that can actually benefit people.”
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