Don’t Expect Elizabeth Warren In A Joe Biden Administration, Political Scientists Say

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It appears as though U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren wants to be a part of a Joe Biden administration.

The Massachusetts Democrat previously indicated that she would accept the vice-presidential nomination if selected, and late last month a Politico report said that Warren wanted to be named Secretary of the Treasury if Biden won the election.

Biden has claimed victory in the disputed presidential election this past weekend, though President Donald Trump is challenging the unofficial results in several key battleground states.

Democrats expecting that Biden’s lead will hold up are already jockeying over the plum executive branch jobs. In Warren’s case, she apparently started her campaign even before the Tuesday, November 3 election.

Will it happen? Will Biden, viewed by some as one of the more moderate Democrats who ran in the 2020 election, want anything to do with Warren, regarded as more in line with the Bernie Sanders wing of the party?

Don’t count it, political scientists tell New Boston Post.

That includes Iowa State University political scientist Mack Shelley, who says there is a good chance that Warren couldn’t get the votes she would need to be confirmed.

“If the Democrats could win both Georgia seats and nothing else gets in the way, Vice President Kamala Harris could vote to break a tie vote,” Warren noted in an email message. “Barring that eventuality, Biden will need to submit Cabinet nominees who could pass muster with McConnell and maybe gain a vote or two from Republican senators who will not have to worry about possible retaliation from a then-former president Trump. Biden’s inclination, in any event, is to follow a centrist path, so nominating a progressive such as Warren would go against the grain of his own proclivities and those of his close advisors and of the party’s leadership.”

As Shelley notes, the Democratic Party has a chance to earn a 50-50 majority in the U.S. Senate if the party wins a pair of runoff elections in Georgia in January 2021 against incumbent U.S. Senators Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue. If Democrats only win one of the two races, Republicans would still hold the majority in the U.S. Senate.

Shelley pointed out that Biden could appoint Warren as an acting Cabinet member without congressional approval, and keep her in a post until 2022. However, he also noted that losing Warren in the Senate would trigger a special election in Massachusetts.

He doesn’t see it happening.

“Biden is going to have enough trouble as it is trying to govern a badly fractured country and to try to hold together a party doing its usual circular firing squad routine in which the centrists who run the party and therefore are the ones who should be blamed for underperforming are taking aim at anyone in the party who is vaguely progressive,” Shelley wrote.

The current and near-future makeup of the U.S. Senate causes UMass Boston political scientist Mo Cunningham to hesitate when it comes to naming Warren to the Cabinet.

“I think the obvious post and one urged by many progressives would be Treasury,” Cunningham told New Boston Post in an email message. “A lot depends on what losing her would mean to partisan balance in the Senate. But as Warren herself has said many times personnel is policy.”

UMass Lowell political scientist John Cluverius agreed that Warren joining Biden’s Cabinet doesn’t seem likely, and called her, “unconfirmable for any position in government by a Republican Senate.”

“I think Elizabeth Warren’s chances to be in a Biden cabinet are very low at this point,” Cluverius told New Boston Post in an email message. “At best, Biden will have a narrow Senate majority with no room for error.”

“Of a lot of potential candidates, she’s probably the most adept bureaucratic knife fighter,” he added. “She also knows the law and how to apply the law to achieve the policy results that she wants. There will also probably be some grumbling about her among the Democratic donor class, particularly in the technology and banking sectors. As much as Biden himself might want Warren in the cabinet, it won’t be possible without some institutional wrangling, most likely appointing Warren to an acting position, changing the rules in Massachusetts, and effectively anointing Warren’s replacement as someone who cannot lose a statewide election in Massachusetts. It’s hard for anyone to pull that off politically, and it’s a lot of effort to secure a single cabinet post.”