A leading Elizabeth Warren backer has called for supporters of the Massachussetts senator to get behind Bernie Sanders for the Democratic nomination.
Erica Sagrans started the “Ready for Warren” campaign more than a year ago in order to draft Senator Elizabeth Warren to run for the presidency. Although Warren declined to do so, her shadow has loomed large in the Democratic race, with even the field leader, Hillary Clinton, having to adopt a leftist, populist tone in relation to some issues. Fifty-six per cent of the “Ready for Warren” campaign have now indicated that they want to support Bernie Sanders for President and Sagrans has now formed a grassroots initiative called “Ready to Fight” in order to lend Warren’s support to the Sanders campaign.
In doing so, it would seem she’s struck a chord with many Warren supporters. Bernie Sanders is cut from the same progressive populist cloth as Senator Warren and he is the ideal candidate to take her fight to the White House. He too wants to take on the corporations and the billionaires and even if he doesn’t win the nomination or the general election, Sanders has the potential to significantly shape the debate in favour of progressive populist policies.
The draft movement for Warren was never really about her – it was about her message. Bernie Sanders is the only candidate in the Democratic race with the credentials, drive and commitment to push that message in the presidential race. The message itself is more appealing to middle America than ever. Most people in the US see the American dream flying beyond their reach. As Robert Reich notes, the percentage of Americans who believe that one can get ahead by hard work has dropped an astronomical 14 points since 2000.
The voice of ordinary people is being drowned out by corporate elites and the wealthier classes. As a Princeton study found, the United States has transformed from a representative democracy to a country where wealthy elites hold power and shape policy regardless of the will of the majority of voters. Sagrans argues that this is most recently evident in the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which Bernie Sanders strongly opposes. Sanders strong opposition to this and other economically liberal measures will no doubt win him the support of Warren backers, as well as many working Americans.
However, the campaign to see Bernie Sanders as President, like the campaign to draft Warren, is a grass roots movement. Sanders’ success depends on how well he can organise chapters of local activists to campaign for him across the country. Bernie Sanders lacks the fundraising power and political nous of the Clintons and it is only people power that will get him across the line for the nomination. His chances against any of the potential Republican candidates are anyone’s guess but even if he doesn’t win, Sanders will have made a significant impact in the name of progressive populism on the 2016 election.