Sanders and Warren lure presidential speculation with big moves
(The Hill) — Two of the Senate’s most prominent progressives are once again drawing presidential speculation.
About two years after the senses. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) suspended their White House candidacies to back Joe Biden as the party’s nominee, they draw attention to what some Democrats say resemble the first national campaigns – pending.
None of the senators announced another offer or even came close. They have faithfully supported the president’s agenda, worked the halls of Congress, and said they want to see him prosper.
But as Biden’s approval rating fails to cross the 40 mark, Sanders and Warren – who are both up for re-election in 2024 – are pushing him in new ways, raising questions about their own maneuvers in the process.
“Nobody really knows whether Biden is going to run or not,” said Cooper Teboe, donor adviser for the progressive candidates. “People are trying to claim if he doesn’t.”
This week, a top Sanders adviser raised the possibility that Sanders could mount a third bid for the White House, a scenario that seemed almost unfathomable when he quickly endorsed Biden’s nomination against former President Trump.
In a memo released Wednesday, former Sanders campaign manager Faiz Shakir answered a hypothetical question from a supporter about whether Sanders would consider running if Biden did not seek a second term.
“In the event of an open Democratic presidential primary in 2024, Senator Sanders has not ruled out an alternate presidential bid, so we advise you answer all questions about 2024 with that in mind,” Shakir wrote. .
The memo, first reported by The Washington Post and confirmed by The Hill, sent shockwaves through Democratic circles and made some progressives prick up their ears.
“I was heartened to see that Senator Sanders and his progressive message still resonate so strongly with the vast majority of Americans,” said Stacey Walker, a political organizer from Iowa who received the memo as a fervent partisan.
Some in Sanders World hailed the move as good policy.
“There’s no question it’s smart,” a leftist close to the senator’s orbit said of the memo’s design. “You have to do this.”
Granted, Biden has given no indication that he has no intention of running again. The White House has repeatedly dismissed such speculation, and earlier this week The Hill learned from two sources that Biden had told former President Obama he intended to run in 2024.
But while not too long ago Biden was all but assured of the 2024 nomination, things may not be so settled anymore.
The trajectory of his presidency continues to worry Democrats who fear his low approval ratings will hamper the party’s chances of staying in office and possibly his own. If that happens, Biden’s fate is considerably less certain, these voices say.
Sanders had all but ruled out a third presidential campaign after failing against Biden and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in 2016. In May, he was explicit: “I am very, very unlikely to run for president again. . ”
Some relatives of the senator take his word for his intentions. They believe that discussions of its national outlook are premature, unserious or misguided.
“It’s a way for his team to keep him in the conversation,” said Chuck Rocha, who was a senior adviser to Sanders’ 2020 campaign. “If it’s not him, others are already starting to plan and watch.”
Talk of a possible gradual replacement of Biden is not new.
It started in earnest when negotiations around Build Back Better, its sweeping social spending and climate program, broke down because of two moderate Democrats. Progressives were appalled when the senses. Joe Manchin (DW.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Arizona) effectively killed in the Senate what the House had already passed.
That anger deepened when Biden also couldn’t convince the slim majority in the House to pass a voting rights bill and then, as the country’s chief executive, refused to use its authority to adopt other measures such as the cancellation of student loans.
Six months away from the midterm elections, Sanders and Warren are pressuring Biden to act more decisively, effectively prompting questions about why they are criticizing him harsher now than in the past.
“We can’t govern if we don’t win,” Walker said. “However, at this particular moment, Americans are beginning to ask themselves, what’s the point of winning if we refuse to govern when we do?”
Unlike Sanders, Warren’s movements have been less overt.
That changed this week when she penned an op-ed asking Biden to do more of what he promised by November.
“To put it bluntly: If we fail to use the remaining months before the election to further implement our agenda, Democrats are heading for big midterm losses,” she wrote in the Monday. New York Times. She then followed up in an interview with “Pod Save America,” the popular program started by Obama alumni.
Some Democrats said Warren described what activists had long been calling for during Biden’s first term.
“She is right and joins a chorus of mostly progressive activists, thinkers and policymakers who have been singing this song for months now,” Walker said.
The Massachusetts Democrat has maintained a relatively low public profile since Biden took office in January, except for a few bursts of attention. She tried out for vice president and later expressed an interest in becoming treasury secretary, a job the allies saw as a wobbly and natural choice, but which was ignored by Janet Yellen.
She has since weighed in on major policy debates and nominations, from Federal Reserve chairmanship to antitrust issues, without much fanfare. More recently, she has been a leading voice pushing Biden to forgive up to $50,000 in student loan debt per borrower.
She has also recently lent her name to several candidates on the ballot this year: Summer Lee in Pennsylvania’s 12th congressional district, David Segal in Rhode Island’s 2nd congressional district, and Delia Ramirez in Illinois’ 3rd congressional district. . She also endorsed Rep. Anthony Brown (D-Md.) in the state attorney general’s contest.
These movements, according to some progressives, are signs that the senator is interested in making herself known.
“Not just this editorial,” Teboe said.
“If you look at her political operation, she approves every race she can get her hands on. She sends emails. She tries to build a political currency in as many states as possible,” he added , stressing that it all depends on whether Biden refuses to run again.
As distinct as Warren’s upside-down style has become his personal brand, Sanders has remained more in your face.
The Democratic socialist has publicly argued with Manchin and Sinema and pushed Biden for as much as $6 billion in early talks over the spending package. As chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, he has expressed frustration with centrists in his caucus who have refused to budge on the same issues that inspired voters to run for Biden.
Sanders has made a series of newscast appearances, seeming each time more dissatisfied with the political reality that Democrats can’t pass things like a $15 minimum wage or Medicare for All without an overwhelming majority. Support.
“Sen. Sanders clearly conditioned his consideration of another presidential race on an open primary, which of course means President Biden would have decided not to seek re-election,” Walker said. “I think that’s admirable.”
Sanders has made a series of newscast appearances, seeming each time more dissatisfied with the political reality that Democrats can’t pass things like a $15 minimum wage or Medicare for All without an overwhelming majority of support. .
He is also increasing his travel schedule, including taking part in several competitive races with national implications. He will be in New York and Virginia this weekend to voice his support for workers at Amazon and Starbucks, two of the senator’s biggest targets, who have recently formed unions.
“If we find ourselves in a position where President Biden chooses not to run, I imagine Senator Sanders will feel compelled to think about taking over,” Walker said. “For him to even consider doing it again is a brave act of patriotism.”