It’s easy to see why, say, Wall Street bankers might not want Elizabeth Warren in the White House. The Massachusetts Democratic senator has earned a reputation as an outspoken opponent of corporate America and the influence of money in politics. Harry Reid, the U.S. Senate’s top Democrat, is reportedly promoting Warren as a vice-presidential contender in the 2016 election—an indication that party leaders believe her populist message would resonate on the campaign trail. But would she even want the job?
While Warren is widely considered a progressive icon, Democrats could end up in a precarious situation if she becomes Hillary Clinton’s running mate. To defeat Donald Trump, Clinton will need to unite her party after a fractious primary battle with Bernie Sanders. For now, Sanders remains in the race, but on Monday the Associated Press reported that Clinton had amassed enough delegates to secure the nomination. If Clinton believes she has placated Sanders supporters by selecting Warren as her vice president, she may run a more moderate campaign in a bid to appeal to Republicans and Independents.
Progressives may find it hard to sustain an influential political movement if Warren becomes vice president. Sanders is poised to return to Capitol Hill with newfound political clout. He could join forces with Warren to amplify a progressive agenda in Congress. But the pair may end up at odds if Warren serves as VP and Sanders opts to take on the administration at any point. If Warren withdraws from the senate, she could leave behind a power vacuum. “Elizabeth Warren has been a key independent voice for the American public,” said Ben Schreiber, a spokesperson for the progressive environmental group Friends of the Earth Action, which endorsed Sanders last year. “She has taken on banks and polluters and stood up for everyday Americans. That’s really important since we have far too few politicians in Congress [who] are willing to take on big money.”