Elizabeth Warren's speech wasn’t long. And she wasn't speaking as Hillary Clinton's running mate. But Senator Warren made this much clear: Trump University cheats, Trump actively roots against the American middle class, aligns with Wall Street, deplores Mexicans, hates “others” and undermines/underpays small business workers … A man who must never be President of the United States.
Warren worked to thread a challenging leftist needle last night. Equal parts progressive and party standard bearer against Trump: Stupid wall. No actual ideas. Roll back financial regulations. Unrealistic tax cut.
Minus Bernie, Senator Warren is the only national stage Democrat who compellingly conveys the tension between insider politics, and the structural realities running for President entails (gerrymandering, electoral college, restrictive vote access), while meaningfully juxtaposing with purist grassroots politics. Warren understands the movement that is Bernie, which she worked to inculcate, as well as the electoral reality that Trump is truly abhorrent to American democracy and could win.
So, like Bernie, Senator Elizabeth Warren had to make a calculus that she, and the insider left she represents is understandably uncomfortable with: elections matter. Trump is a navist, misogynist, racist who preys on the poor and working class. All debate regarding “who is left enough” is rendered irrelevant as Warren engages both the ballot box and long term movement. Senator Warren put on the red sweater tonight, plugged her nose, and made real party unity a mission. She is not of the Clinton #girlsquad but spoke last night of HRC’s policy and symbolic importance.
It was a bargain made of recognizing zero-sum. For Warren, and for the far left, HRC is incomplete at best. But she is decidedly better than Trump. The left regularly forces itself to decide between purity and “better than." In HRC, they are confronted by this familiar binary. She is uncomfortably corporate for many but Trump is antithetical to liberal values.
Elizabeth Warren understands both the movement and the party in politics and policy. She made her speech – endorsing the movement’s politics and the party reality. But for Bernie, she is the only unifier of movement and electoral politics.