Vice President Warren? Political Scientists Weigh In On Possibility Of A Biden-Warren Ticket

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Former Vice President Joe Biden is set on selecting a woman as his VP candidate in 2020. Could it be Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren?

Biden, the Democratic Party’s presumptive 2020 nominee for president, is thought to have a handful of options to pick as his VP candidate. Political scientists tell New Boston Post that Warren’s name has to be in the conversation, if only because of her sizable following among the hard left of the party.

But would she be a good pick? And is it likely? Political scientists weighed in on the upsides and downsides she would bring to a Biden ticket.

Iowa State political scientist Kelly Winfrey said the obvious downside for Warren with Democratic voters is that she’s white. 

“Warren would be a good pick for mobilizing the more progressive wing of the party and for mobilizing white women voters,” she told New Boston Post in an email message. “She’s also a clear, engaging speaker — which Biden is not, so she’d be an asset to the ticket in talking to media and voters. The downside is she’s not young and not a woman of color, and someone that checked one or both of those boxes too might be better able to mobilize some of the people who didn’t vote in 2016.”

New England College political scientist Wayne Lesperance expressed a similar sentiment. 

He also noted that Warren being from Massachusetts also isn’t particularly helpful.

“The Vice President has numerous qualified and capable options for his VP pick,” he told New Boston Post in an email message. “Certainly, Sen. Warren is one of those choices and would help him address any concerns the campaign might have about progressive voters. Still, I think the pressure to select a candidate of color and/or a candidate that would help him in a battleground state is greater and I expect that means it is not likely Sen. Warren’s time for a VP slot.”

Iowa State University political scientist Mack Shelley said there were a couple of plusses that Warren would bring to a Biden campaign:  she has a base of progressive supporters, and ran a policy-centric campaign. 

“Warren had a detailed plan for just about everything, so could add some policy punch to the ticket,” Shelley told New Boston Post in an email message. “However, Biden would be calling the shots on policy and it is quite likely that Warren’s ability to spin off well-thought-out policies would be frustrated by Biden’s and the DNC’s penchant for playing it safe and trying to follow a middle lane to the White House rather than a more exciting progressive lane. 

“That penchant for ‘fanatical centrism’ is likely to muffle the impact that Warren otherwise could have in drawing in Sanders supporters and the independents that are essential to a winning campaign but are always looking for something fresh on the menu and not just ideas recycled from the 1970s if not before,” he added.

Shelley also pointed out that Warren is 71 and Biden is 78, so that aspect of her identity could also make it hard for her to resonate with younger voters, who tend to have a lower turnout rate than their elders.

And Boston College political scientist Dave Hopkins said the pick would come at some costs to Democrats.

“There would obviously be some downsides as well:  She wouldn’t do much to appeal to moderate voters, and she wouldn’t broaden the generational representation on the ticket,” Hopkins told New Boston Post in an email message. “There’s also the question of whether Democrats would lose control of her Senate seat.”

“All in all, she’d wouldn’t be a shocking choice, but she’s probably a less likely pick than a few other candidates,” he added.