On May 5, I wrote an op-ed in support of Nevada Senator Catherine Cortez-Masto to be Joe Biden’s Vice Presidential pick. However, The Hill reported on Friday that Senator Masto withdrew her name from consideration because she’s not interested in the job. In light of this update, I have decided to write another op-ed in support of a different candidate. That candidate is Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren. In my previous op-ed, I argued that she would be too risky of a pick due to her unpopularity among Independents and older voters, but after more thorough research, I have found myself sorely mistaken. New data indicates that Warren would actually provide a huge boost for Biden if she is picked.
Before proceeding, I would like to name two candidates who Biden should not select under any circumstances. Those candidates are Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar and former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams.
African-American voters resurrected Biden’s failing Presidential campaign in a series of primary wins on Super Tuesday and selecting Amy Klobuchar as his Vice President would stab those voters in the back. A number of African-American activists have urged Biden not to select Klobuchar due to her record as a prosecutor in Minnesota and those calls have intensified since it was recently revealed that she declined to prosecute multiple policemen accused of misconduct including Derek Chauvin, who has been charged with murdering George Floyd. Chauvin received at least 10 complaints during his 19-year career as a policeman.
Abrams is actively campaigning for Biden to select her and I have no doubt that she has a bright political future ahead of her, but I believe she is not qualified or experienced enough to be the Vice President. She was the House Minority Leader in the state of Georgia from 2007-2017 and she lost her bid to be the state’s governor in 2018. We will likely be dealing with a national medical and economic crisis in January of 2021. Because of this, we will need experienced officials to implement a nationwide recovery plan.
The good news for Biden is that the average of all polls conducted since the beginning of the year shows that he has a consistent lead of 6 points over President Trump, which is the steadiest lead on record. He is also running ahead of Hillary Clinton’s pace in 2016. According to Harry Enten of CNN, “Clinton trailed Trump by 3 points in a Fox News poll out four years ago between May 16-May 23. Now, Biden’s up 8 points in that same poll.”
Biden is leading in the battleground states of Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania by 5 points as well as in Florida by 4 points. Biden and Trump are statistically tied in the state of Utah, a traditionally Republican stronghold. In 2016, Trump won voters 65 and older by 10 points, but recent polls indicate that those voters are defecting to Biden by a margin ranging from 2 to 10 points. Also, Biden has generated a higher turnout among Democratic primary voters. According to a Washington Post analysis, Biden won nearly 60% of voters who stayed home during the 2016 primary while retaining nearly 90% of Hillary Clinton’s primary voters.
In order to beat Trump, Biden must accomplish the following goals: 1. He must energize his base of support to turn out and vote for him because his campaign is suffering from a lack of enthusiasm, especially in comparison to President Trump’s re-election campaign, 2. He has to motivate African-American voters, Hispanic voters, and young voters to support him, 3. He needs to appeal to as many Independents as possible, and 4. He needs to cut into President Trump’s support among non-college educated whites, especially those who voted for Barack Obama in 2012, but swung to Trump in 2016.
It is my belief that Biden’s running mate can assist him in accomplishing these goals and the candidate who is best equipped to do that is Elizabeth Warren. During her Presidential campaign, Politico released an article about her appearance in the state of West Virginia (a state that Trump won by over 42 points) that didn’t receive near enough attention. Warren spoke to an audience of 150 people at Kermit Fire and Rescue Headquarters about her plan to combat the opioid crisis. She was very warmly received by the mostly Trump-supporting audience and one woman who voted for him in 2016 committed to voting for her in 2020. Warren said, “A lot of people told me, ‘You’re in the reddest of the red here,’ but I like being here.”
A New York Times poll indicated that despite Biden’s “reputed appeal to blue-collar workers, he has made little to no progress in winning back the white voters without a college degree who supported Barack Obama in 2012 but swung to Mr. Trump in 2016.” Warren likely won’t be able to bring all of these voters to Biden, but she may be able to cut into Trump’s margins with these voters just enough to make an electoral difference in battleground states.
Ever since she ran for President, I have viewed Warren as the “consensus candidate” who could unify the entire Democratic Party. Party unity is a crucially important factor in propelling Biden to a victory in November. A CBS poll found that 71% of Democratic voters favored Warren to be Vice President. More specifically, she was the top choice of both White and African-American Democratic voters. She was also the top choice among Democratic voters in the crucial Rust Belt states of Michigan and Wisconsin that Trump won in 2016.
A recent poll by Morning Consult/Politico found that Warren would inject the most enthusiasm into Biden’s campaign in comparison to other potential Vice Presidential picks. The poll found that 26% of registered voters would be more likely to vote for her while 23% would be less likely. It also found that Warren performs best with both moderate and liberal voters, African-American voters, Hispanic Voters, Independents, Midwestern voters, suburban voters, and young voters. California Senator Kamala Harris, the top African-American candidate in the veepstakes matches Warren’s approval among African-American, Hispanic, and young voters, but she doesn’t do as well with Independents (Warren has a net favorable rating of 5 points among Independent women while Harris has a net disapproval rating of 6 points among suburban voters and Midwestern voters).
There are two objections against picking Warren for VP. The first objection is about her age. Warren will be 70 years old when she would be sworn in as Vice President in 2021. Some argue that Biden should choose a younger running mate who would theoretically be more physically fit for office, but they discount the fact that Warren’s medical records indicate she is in excellent health. In fact, Warren’s age should actually be viewed as an asset. Her experience as a consumer advocate, a Harvard Law professor, and a Senator whose landmark phrase is, “I have a plan for that!”, will be of great assistance to Biden, who likely will have to manage the next economic recovery of the United States.
The second objection states that Warren will alienate moderate and Independent voters in the heartland. The data clearly shows that this isn’t true. The Morning Consult/Politico found that Warren performed the best with Independents, moderates, and Midwestern voters. Warren’s Republican opponents have branded her as a socialist, but she actually defines herself as a capitalist who believes in “markets that work”. In fact, the former Republican chair of the FDIC, Shelia Blair, wrote an article in the Wall Street Journal titled, “The Republican Case for Elizabeth Warren”.
“I am a Republican and I have known and worked with Ms. Warren for many years. She is a capitalist and a prairie populist, in the tradition of William Allen White and Teddy Roosevelt. She believes in a market economy. She just wants it to work for everyone,” Blair wrote.
Biden is currently the favorite to win the election, but he needs a boost of enthusiasm to turn out African-American voters, Hispanic voters, and young voters. He must also keep his base of older voters and moderate voters intact. But most importantly, he must unify the entire Democratic Party behind him. The candidate who can help him accomplish all of these goals is Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren. She is one of the most intelligent minds in the U.S. Senate and I am confident that she will make the best Vice President.
Dakota Layton graduated from the University of Alabama in Huntsville with a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy. He is currently enrolled at the University of Mississippi where he is working to earn his Master of Arts in Philosophy.