The Biggest Difference Between Warren and Sanders Is Compromise

With the Democratic primaries in full swing, the Waypoint Radio crew decided it would be a good time to sit down and flesh out their thoughts on the current candidates, and what has emerged from their campaigns so far. If you’ve listened to Waypoint Radio before, it’s probably no surprise who we prefer, but we’ve taken the time to discuss their real and material differences. It’s not just the individual campaign promises and potential policies, but what baggage they carry from the Democratic party’s sketchy history in past elections, and where they’re likely to cede ground in search being “reasonable.” You can read an excerpt and listen to the full episode below.

Rob: What appealed to me about Warren is that I think she actually has a very good idea for the levers of power the Democratic president would likely have access to via executive order, via regulatory appointments. I think she would make a lot of Immediate material impact on a lot of bad situations. The thing that worried me was the lack of a theory of change, that Warren represents a much farther left political position than we generally see from the Democratic Party, but still pretty traditional liberal electoralism in terms of how we bring about that change.

Whereas Bernie is the head of a movement that is basically arguing that we have a pretty disenfranchised mass of people who are either just so alienated from the political process that they don’t take part, or they’re being kept out of the political process by a lot of structural factors. We need mass mobilization, mass movement, and keeping that in the field, not doing what Obama did in ’08mt which was “Hey, thanks for winning that election OFA [Organizing for America], let’s shut that down and fuck ACORN too while we’re at it.” But [they should] keep those people in the field, keep that movement alive and healthy and fed and ready for the next electoral cycle. That seems to be the difference.

Austin: Exactly. You can use them at that point to pressure and win the elections that end up really mattering for legislative change, right?

Rob: I think the other reason there’s this pressure to demobilize movements like that is [that] traditional democratic politicians don’t want folks like that sticking around. “Hey, we won the election. Don’t worry too much about what we’re about to do next. Look, I’m just gonna appoint some people to the Treasury Department. And we’re going to sort out this whole complicated economy thing. My buddy, Tim and I and Larry, we’re just gonna—we got your best interests at heart. But don’t pay too much attention. Don’t write letters.”

Austin: Go about your business.

Rob: Yeah, go home.

Austin: Right, you don’t need to be invested in this. You don’t need to be thinking about what decisions we’re making. We got it. Yeah, exactly. Joe Biden: “We got this.”

Rob: You’ll hear from Citibank in a few months about your mortgage. Then you’ll know how things are going.

Austin: Fuck dude, totally. I think you identify something here too, which is there were a number of steps along the way [where I thought] you know what, I need to reevaluate if I want to stay on this thing of “Warren seems like someone who could win this election because she’s a uniter” and blah, blah, blah. And a big thing for me was the Medicare-for-all walk back, which immediately was followed by a bunch of editorials from people like Jim Cramer, who were like, “you know, what? Maybe Liz Warren ain’t so bad, maybe we don’t have to be so scared of her. You know, what I’m hearing now is people aren’t so scared of her, because it’s clear she’s willing to work with us.” And I’m [thinking], the primaries haven’t even started yet and it’s and you’re at compromise time. You’re already at the point at which you’re trying to meet people halfway.

Patrick: That’s what I became scared of was that, I remember Rob and I had a conversation about this when we were both kind of going through a similar thinking transition. Look, I’m deeply cynical about Bernie’s ability to actually enact a lot of the big things he wants to do, but I trust him better on the compromise that he makes along the way. And part of his theory is don’t make that compromise now, you make it when you’re at the fucking table, when you’re actually trying to enact that change. What happens so often [is] the Democratic party, and what Elizabeth Warren to some degree seems to represent over the course of the primaries, is “let’s cede that ground now.” Like we’re ceding that in the transition to the general election just as electability thing.

Gita: You’re just gonna lose even more, though.

Patrick: And that’s my worry! If you’re going to lose, go down fucking fighting for what you believe in, don’t go down compromising and then also lose, which is what happened with Clinton. With Bernie, I don’t know how it’s gonna play out, but I better trust him to be in the dark room where they make they make the compromise and him to be fighting for the values that I find important. So when he comes out and says, “Look, this is what we can actually do.”

Austin: [impersonating Bernie Sanders] Look.


Patrick: I trust the deal he goes into make. I feel like whatever he comes back with, I trust more.

Gita: My boyfriend grew up Orthodox Jewish, I have good Bernie Sanders.


Gita: Anyways, I just know, based on his track record, he’s just not gonna sell out the working class. For a lot of Democrats and for what we’ve seen Elizabeth Warren, those are the first people on the chopping block.

Austin: It’s so frustrating.

Gita: It’s really frustrating and disappointing. I don’t come from a working class family, I come from a deeply middle class family. My parents grew up poor, so I have some understanding of like money anxiety. My dad still washes and saves plastic utensils you get from takeout. We don’t need that shit. They are remodeling their kitchen right now, they don’t need to do that, but he still does it!

Austin: That trauma runs deep.

Patrick: It’s impossible to get rid of it.

Austin: You cannot get rid of it. I promise you. You cannot. It’s wild.

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