Progressive movement wary of Warren for VP

Cohen said he views Warren as “the strongest unity candidate” and moderate Sen. Amy Klobuchar as “the most divisive choice” for Biden’s running mate. And Sara Nelson, president of the Association of Flight Attendants, has also been singing Warren’s praises in talks with the Biden campaign.

She “would be a wonderful choice,” Nelson said. “We’re watching her leadership play out in real time during this coronavirus crisis and she would unite the party.”

Warren’s advocates argue that she would bring a number of strengths to the ticket, including a strong record on many progressive issues and a robust small-dollar fundraising operation.

A recent POLITICO/Morning Consult poll showed Warren with the highest net favorability ratings of the potential VP candidates listed. And her experience in the Senate and in launching a consumer advocacy agency could play well with Democrats who said in the survey that they value experience for Biden’s vice presidential pick more than race, age, or ideology.

Despite the scar tissue from the primary, some Sanders campaign officials said Warren is the most viable progressive in contention for Biden’s vice presidential selection.

“I think one of the things we should do as a progressive movement is, given that he can’t pick Bernie — he said he’s going to pick a woman — we should push for the most progressive woman,” Khanna said. “And in my view, that’s Elizabeth Warren.”

Yet other Sanders allies and aides are outright dismissive of any effort to make Warren the consensus pick of the left. Sanders’ campaign leadership believes that her assertion that Sanders privately told her a woman couldn’t win, which he denied, hurt him among women voters and amounted to a personal betrayal. Sanders was also deeply disappointed that she didn’t endorse him after she dropped out of the primary, and it even made him question her progressivism, a person close to their talks previously told POLITICO.

“You’re not going to see a lot of groups who endorsed Bernie pushing for [Warren] given how things ended,” said one leader of a group that backed Sanders. The person privately believes “Warren would probably be the person who would win over the most progressives,” but said the organization would likely stay mum given the raw feelings.

A former aide to Sanders’ 2020 campaign added, “Elizabeth Warren has a progressive voting record and progressive ideas and has been a progressive leader. But if the goal is to bring disaffected Democrats into the fold, I think the primary and how that played out complicates her ability to do that.”

Many former Warren aides scoff at the finger-pointing and say Sanders’ campaign has itself to blame for his defeat.

Others Sanders supporters recommended people other than Warren to be Biden’s running mate.

Rep. Marc Pocan (D-Wis.), co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus and a top Sanders endorser, talked up his home state senator, Tammy Baldwin. At the same time, he disagreed with the notion that Sanders and Warren aren’t on good terms, and said their teams have worked together with the CPC on battling the coronavirus.

“I don’t know if we have a particular VP candidate,” he said of progressives generally. “Personally, I’m a huge fan of Tammy Baldwin’s. Wisconsin’s a must-win state. She’s a progressive. She won the state by 11 points.”

Melissa Byrne, the former grassroots director for Sanders in California and New York, suggested Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) on Twitter Tuesday, and Sanders policy adviser Terrel Champion cheered her on.

Other progressives are advocating for the vice presidential pick to be a woman of color. Groups including Indivisible, She the People, and Latino Victory Project signed a letter in March calling for just that.

Jennifer Epps-Addison, the co-executive director of Center for Popular Democracy, which endorsed Sanders, seconded that call. “We think the VP pick must be a woman of color,” she told POLITICO, adding that “Stacey Abrams is qualified beyond measure.”

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) on Wednesday also signaled she wants a progressive woman of color on the ticket in interviews with POLITICO and ABC’s “The View.” Asked which woman she wanted to see on the ticket, Ocasio-Cortez said “to have our first female vice president and to have that be a woman of color is a significant milestone.”

But she then subtly acknowledged the lack of a consensus choice: “In terms of who that is, you know, it’s really hard to kind of, um, to point some out because there are leaders out there, but, you know, I don’t think we have a shortage of them. That’s for sure.”

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