Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren is Hillary's best bet for VP. Why? Despite the relentless lampooning, ridiculing and name-calling of Trump, and the smug writing of his political obituary, the election will be a close run up. The big GOP donors and handlers, the hate driven passion to beat Hillary, Trump's skilled fear mongering and pander to bigotry, the never-ending media fawn over him, and GOP dominance in the majority of the state's legislatures and state houses will insure that.
The fatal mistake is to assume that simply painting and then writing off Trump as a kook will be enough to scare millions to storm the polls to defeat him. Clinton's campaign is a political textbook study in business like organization, precision, and professionalism. But it's not a campaign of passion.
Its passion that pushes people, especially young people, and minorities, out the door and to the polls on Election Day. These voters made the White House a wrap for Obama in 2008 and 2012. But Clinton is not Obama, and in the handful of swing states that will decide the election, the numbers and turnout will mean everything.
Warren provides the passion needed to get younger voters out the door Election Day. This was evident the moment that she fired up the imagination of millions by hammering on the corruption, gaming, and greed of Wall Street, and lashing the tepid, faint hearted effort by Washington to rein it in. Wall Street quickly warned that Warren was toxic for the Democrats, and reminded that a lot of its campaign money has gone to Obama and other Democrats, and that includes Hillary. The Wall Street saber-rattle about Warren cinched it.
Progressives had long last found their champion and hero, and screamed for her to toss her hat in the presidential rink. Warren said no, and Sanders stepped into the breech. Though millions eagerly and fervently rallied to his bandwagon, Warren's name was still on the lips of many. With the Democrat's tight party rules on voting in primaries, and core Democrat and super-delegate allegiance firmly in place for Clinton, Sanders never really had much chance to outduel her for the party's presidential nomination.
However, the brutal reality is legions of Sanders' backers tar Clinton as a war monger, Wall Street and corporate shill, party hack, and untrustworthy. A significant number of them vow that they will not vote for her, write in Sanders' name, vote Green Party, or stay home. That's OK if they are all in California, New York, or Massachusetts, lock down Democratic states, but if more than a few of them are in Ohio, Pennsylvania or Florida that could spell real trouble for Clinton. The potential ice breaker with them is someone on the Clinton ticket who is totally acceptable to Sanders and just as acceptable to Sander's Clinton wary supporters. That obvious someone is Warren.
Clinton is mindful of the loathing that legions of Sanders' Democrats have for her Wall Street connection. So early on at a Democratic gubernatorial campaign rally in Massachusetts last year she was effusive in her praise of Warren and in the process took a big shot at Wall Street and the corporations minimizing their role in job creation. Later she walked it back claiming she had "short-handed" her comments. In the general election she will be continually challenged to tell which Clinton Sanders backers are to believe; the Wall Street or the populist Clinton.
Warren will compel Clinton to spell out her position on the issues and tell how a Clinton administration will differ from Obama's and husband Bill's. She will also have to spend time making assurances that she is not the unreconstructed hawk on foreign policy issues that progressive Democratic critics lambaste her as. She'll have to talk even more boldly about tough financial regulations and reforms, and putting real meaning into her oft stated embrace of the label "progressive."
A slew of unnamed Wall Street insiders recently loudly warned Clinton that if she picked Warren as your VP, she could kiss our cash good-bye. But this is just so much hot air. Policy as always will be made by the president, not the vice-president, and if they didn't give their campaign cash to Clinton, who would they give it to, Trump, with his digs at Wall Street, doubtful. But even more, Wall Street also likes a winner, and it will not dare risk being cut out of the Washington loop by folding up its financial tent on Clinton, solely because of VP Warren.
Core Democrats and the party establishment are solidly behind Clinton. That's the good news. The bad news is that this masks the weak enthusiasm or outright opposition that many Democrats and independents who backed Sanders have to a Clinton presidential bid. Warren will do much to dispel that. Again, that makes Warren Clinton's best bet for VP.
Earl Ofari Hutchinson is an author and political analyst. He is the author of Let's Stop Denying Made in America Terrorism, (Amazon Kindle) He is an associate editor of New America Media. He is a weekly co-host of the Al Sharpton Show on Radio One. He is the host of the weekly Hutchinson Report on KPFK 90.7 FM Los Angeles and the Pacifica Network.