Hillary Clinton's path to the presidency seems all but inevitable, it is the imperative of the Democratic Party to maintain an air of unity throughout the primary season -- in stark contrast to the contest brewing on the Republican side.
The progressive wing of the Democratic Party has been highly vocal and highly critical of the party establishment, and of Clinton -- who is seen by many as too hawkish and too close to Wall Street -- opting to run a grassroots effort to draft U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D - Mass.) to seek the nation's highest office.
However, being vocal is one thing: squaring off against the broad base of support held by the Democratic establishment is quite another. While many rally behind a Warren candidacy, they have yet to overcome the sheer magnitude of the Ready for Hillary campaign -- which features an overwhelming network of volunteers and donors just waiting for Clinton to announce.
Not to mention, Warren isn't running and she may be getting tired of being asked.
Taking the above into consideration, there does still exist a means of bringing populist economic ideas to the forefront of a Clinton agenda: shift the "Draft Warren" movement into one focused on the vice presidency.
The idea should be appealing, both to the existing establishment as well as the further leftwing that seeks to bring a paradigm shift to the Democratic Party. Here's why:
Party unity. Both wings will agree that the party will need to maintain the semblance of unity in order to keep headlines focused on the warring establishment, social conservative, and tea party factions at play on the other side. Regardless of what the message is, it will behoove the Democrats to have everyone subscribed to it -- the establishment because it will serve as early cover for Clinton, who is not known for her campaigning skills, and the progressives because it will mean their agenda will be a centerpiece of the campaign message as well as the potential national agenda.
A complete candidacy. Hillary Clinton is in her late 60s and a Yale graduate, two characteristics that typically do not bode well among the youth vote or populist demographics. Those groups will seek someone younger, or someone who relates to them more closely than an 'Ivy League Elite' ever could. Ironically, this is where Warren would serve well: her message resonates well among both demographics despite being just two years younger than Clinton and a former professor at Harvard Law School. It is this quality in particular that would make Warren the ideal complement to Clinton.
Institutional memory. Running a Clinton-Warren ticket in 2016 would not only serve to unite the party but also lay out a framework for consecutive administrations. The Democratic and Republican parties think beyond who is next in line; they plan well in advance just what their message is going to be and who will be the standard-bearers. There are few knocks against Warren as a candidate apart from the broad sentiment that it is, quite simply, 'Hillary's turn,' and there will be even fewer if Warren were to run to succeed Clinton after having served as second-in-command. As the Democratic bench stands nearly depleted, it would benefit the party to have Warren in the wings when faced with the slew of Republican hopefuls that already fare well against anyone not named Hillary Clinton and will emerge election after election until one is successful. In that way, the Democratic Party will have a strong chance to retain the executive seat for years to come and the progressive wing may very well have their chance to push their agenda with far less interference.
When you consider the above, a Clinton-Warren ticket becomes the proverbial no-brainer, something that the party establishment should be prepared to embrace and the progressive wing should be prepared to capitalize on. Both sides will have until the 2016 convention in Philadelphia to work out the details.