'Progressive' senator to endorse Clinton's bid

Senator Warren is an outspoken opponent of the influence of money in politics, and could find it difficult to speak out against a Clinton administration if she becomes the vice-president.
Senator Warren is an outspoken opponent of the influence of money in politics, and could find it difficult to speak out against a Clinton administration if she becomes the vice-president.PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

Elizabeth Warren not interested in, but not ruling out, potential vice-president role

WASHINGTON • US Senator Elizabeth Warren will soon endorse presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and, while not currently interested in serving as her running mate, has not ruled it out, several sources close to Ms Warren have said.

If the senator joins the Clinton ticket, she could help energise progressives and win over supporters of Mrs Clinton's rival Bernie Sanders, a Democratic socialist senator from Vermont. Mr Sanders' calls for reining in Wall Street and breaking up big banks dovetail with Ms Warren's views, according to Reuters.

Some sceptics, however, asked if the country is ready for a ticket with two women. Among them was Montana Democratic Senator Jon Tester. When asked by a reporter what he thought about Ms Warren as Mrs Clinton's running mate, he said: "Well, I don't know - is the country ready for two women? I don't know.You know, I don't know."

Ms Warren, 66, herself has concerns about whether joining a Clinton ticket would give the Democrats the best shot at defeating Republican Donald Trump.

She is also committed to advancing her own political agenda, which the sources described as "more progressive" than Mrs Clinton's more centrist positions.

Ms Warren fears that as vice-president, or in a Cabinet position, her voice could be less heard than it is in the Senate on her priority issues such as addressing income inequality, they said.

Nevertheless, her thinking could evolve. Advisers to Ms Warren, a fiery critic of Wall Street and a popular figure among progressive Democrats, have been in close contact with Mrs Clinton's campaign team and the conversations have increased in frequency in recent weeks, the sources said, according to Reuters.

Ms Warren has signalled to people close to her that she is intrigued by the possibility of being Mrs Clinton's No. 2 but has not discussed the role with Mrs Clinton, 68, or anyone else from her campaign, the people said. An endorsement of Mrs Clinton could come within a week or two.

But some say that if Ms Warren aligns herself with Mrs Clinton, she may lose her credibility with the progressives who back Mr Sanders. Ms Warren has built her reputation in part by not hesitating to challenge the Obama administration over issues such as corporate accountability and international trade, and has been an outspoken opponent of the influence of money in politics.

However, it would be difficult for her to speak out against a Clinton administration as vice-president. If she joins hands with Mrs Clinton, it could also mean she finds herself at odds with Mr Sanders and his supporters on core progressive issues, reported The Atlantic magazine.

At the same time, if Ms Warren becomes Mrs Clinton's vice-president, it could make a historic ticket even more noteworthy, energising Democratic voters and increasing turnout. She has also proven to be one of the Democratic Party's most adept critics of Mr Trump, 69. On Twitter over the weekend, Ms Warren emphasised the importance of the party coming together to beat Mr Trump. "Get ready, Donald," she tweeted. "We're coming."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 10, 2016, with the headline ''Progressive' senator to endorse Clinton's bid'. Print Edition | Subscribe