A Way-Too-Early Look at Bernie Sanders’ VP Choices

By Thomas Neuburger. Originally published at DownWithTyranny!

What is Bernie Sanders looking for in a potential vice-presidential pick? What should he be looking for? These two questions, while it may be too early to ask them, are nonetheless worth considering.

For one thing, the issue of Sanders’ age, for those who are inspired by his policies, can be easily countered if he chooses a vice-president who is a) younger and b) just as progressive or nearly so. Questions about his age are appearing now. So let’s take an early look at potential Sanders vice-presidential picks.

Who Is Bernie Sanders Most Likely to Choose?

As the video below points out, Sanders has already said that he was looking for someone who is “maybe not of the same gender as I am, and maybe somebody who might be a couple of years younger than me, and somebody who can take the progressive banner as vice-president and carry it all over this country to help us with our agenda and help us to rally the American people.”

These criteria produce many choices, and the video lists them:

  • Kamala Harris
  • Tulsi Gabbard
  • Rashida Tlaib
  • Ilhan Omar
  • Pramilla Jayapal
  • Nina Turner
  • Stacy Abrams
  • Marianne Williamson
  • Elizabeth Warren

Of these, Harris is a strong campaigner but not very progressive. Though she’s been presenting her progressive social justice side recently, she has a history in California as a tough prosecutor, including of minorities and including for minor drug crimes. She has enough negatives to make her vulnerable on social justice and prosecution of bank fraud, both important Sanders issues.

Gabbard is also a strong campaigner, but doesn’t have much of a relationship with Sanders. Her background and résumé also raise questions that have yet to be answered, for example about her support for Modi in India. Her polling is also extremely low.

The young congressional women — Tlaib, Omar, Jayapal — seem unlikely choices. All are too unknown; Omar is too controversial (due in part to her own party’s attacks on her); and Omar is not a natural-born U.S. citizen. Nina Turner is a possibility given her relationship with Sanders and Our Revolution, but may not pass the experience test. Marianne Williamson has no government experience at all (though she is an excellent speaker and might be a desirable choice anyway based on policies she supports).

Stacy Abrams is not polling very well, and while she’s considered a progressive by the media, many of her policies are not, and she recently joined the Board of CAP, the Center for American Progress, where she said this: “Led by the extraordinary Neera Tanden, CAP has been at the forefront of progressive policy development and activism for years. Together, we will find and support bold solutions on health care access, voting rights, the economy, and other critical issues our nation faces.”

CAP’s positions on Medicare for All and economic issues, among many others, are decidedly neoliberal and decidedly donor-driven. For this reason, I’d be shocked and disappointed if Sanders chose Abrams.

That leaves Elizabeth Warren, who in many estimations is the most likely woman to be chosen, if Sanders chooses a woman.

Note: The video acknowledges (at 10:57) that “Bernie supporters remember her failure to back him during the 2016 primaries.” I think this is one of the reasons that Warren hasn’t gained traction this year among the strongest Sanders supporters on social media, and may partially account for her low polling. After all, in the early days of the 2016 primary, “Run Liz Run” was quite the rallying cry.

Warren has failed to recapture her 2015 “Run Liz Run” magic this time around, which helps explain her mid–second tier polling among 2020 Democratic candidates — she’s below people like Harris and above people like Klobuchar, with the Pete’s and the Beto’s of the world floating up and down, above her and below, as the moment and local political winds may move them.

Yet Warren’s weaker position may actually work out to Sanders’ advantage, as I’ll detail in a future piece. It may also work to Warren’s advantage as well — given her lower polling, she’s unlikely to feel she has to attack Sanders to capture his place alongside the ephemeral Joe Biden.

Who Besides Warren Might Sanders Consider?

There are negatives, of course, to choosing Warren. Her favorability rating isn’t particularly high — I know a number of Republican voters who would strongly consider Sanders over Trump but would not consider Warren — yet that may not be an issue were she second on the ticket. In addition, she doesn’t add geographic diversity and she doesn’t have special expertise, for example, in foreign policy, that supplements what Sanders offers.

Non-Warren alternatives suggested in the video include:

Pete Buttigieg — a direct counter to the freakishly Christian Mike Pence in the VP debate

Andrew Yang — a tech-savvy entrepreneur with many progressive policies who knows how to talk to rust-belt and disaffected workers (for example, see 15:05 in the video above)

But neither of these people, plus others like Beto O’Rourke, are choices Sanders would make. To start, Yang is too unknown (and male), Buttigieg is too neoliberal. (and male). There are other reasons for Sanders to avoid them as well, and I think he will.

It looks almost certain therefore that Warren will be his VP choice. The question then becomes, when should he announce it?

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    1. Yves Smith Post author

      I can’t see Warren either. I normally agree with Neuburger’s analyses, but this is an exception. Warren would double down on the Northeast, when one of the general rules of VP selection is to pick someone from a different part of the country. I haven’t seen much of Turner, but she seems very likable and direct.

      1. Nax

        I think that having Warren as an ally in the Senate would be far more valuable to Sanders if he became President than having her as Vice President.

        in order to be a successful President Sanders has to get bills through the house and Senate and weakening the left in the Senate will really hurt his ability to do that.

        Originally I was horrified at the idea of Harris as VP but, assuming Sanders lives out his term, it would clear a senate seat in California for someone who might be less awful than Harris is.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          If the idea of a President Harris would horrify you, then the idea of a VP Harris should horrify you just as much, I should think.

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          Yes, and he got only 43% of the popular vote and had to renege on what he had as an agenda and go even further to the right in his first term.

      2. dcblogger

        Remember when that governor from Arkansas picked a Senator from Tennessee? What a disaster that was.

        If Bernie wins this thing he needs to reach out to the Not Bernie crowd, and he needs a woman. Warren is the best choice.

        1. Chris

          That’s the way I’ve been thinking about it. But then I don’t really know how seriously to take the issue about them both being from New England. Bernie’s appeal isn’t really regional, and I’m not sure hers is either, so I wonder if that conventional wisdom fits better with a (much) earlier era.

          1. Matthew Kopka

            I see a strong strain of anti-intellectualism informing anti-Warren sentiment on FB, including, unfortunately, from some liberal friends. I’d worry about that losing Bernie lots of votes. In the Senate, she and Bernie could collaborate on legislation, as others note. . .

            What much of the very good reader analysis suggests to me: it may prove a darned hard task. You don’t want somebody handing the revo back to Wall Street Dems should Bernie suddenly shuffle off ye olde coil.

        2. Fiery Hunt

          How did we get to such a place where you need any particular identity for a political office, be it gender, or race, or sexual preference? Isn’t that the very definition of discrimination? Or is it ok because the right color or sex is being rejected/elevated? Policy and beliefs and values don’t matter?

          God, I hate identity politics.

              1. Mattski

                Yeah, but a lot of attitudes are baked into us because of the cultural overlay–few of even the most radically progressive African American people I know think identity can simply be set aside. I’m in Grenada right now, and the monocrop farmers in the country’s middle belt tend to be of mixed Indian, white, and African heritage; the small farmer members who live along the country’s coasts–who traditionally farmed sugarcane with provision and cash crops–who fed everyone but had no secure tenure and suffered serious poverty, are quite dark-skinned. Pretending this is not the case obscures a thousand ills. We all just have to keep thinking it through together.

    2. Jonathan Holland Becnel

      Exactly, author skips right over Turner. Turners a beast on the campaign trail. “With These Hands…”
      Tbh id prefer Turner if she can keep up the pace. Working Class Mom 2020?

      1. SuperDan

        Agreed. I feel Turner and Sanders are A POWERHOUSE team that already have experience working together. Besides, she’s a former senator! How is that inexperienced? Wasn’t our last president an inexperienced senator? Turner also brings in diversity and a certain degree and edge that could catch any debater off guard. Besides, she’s played a pivotal role in helping lead OurRev!

    3. Lambert Strether

      I like Turner, but I don’t think she was worked long enough at the national scale.

      Buttigieg won the South Bend mayoralty in 2015 with 8369 votes. Turner is like that, but without the McKinsey trappings or the piano. (I think it’s good that Turner doesn’t have the McKinsey trappings, but still.)

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Turner is unfortunately exhibit A of why Team Blue has been so awful (by the standards of the human race not Team Blue) at candidate recruitment and development. How much money was sunk on that doofus Ossoff?

      2. Marc

        Really, dismissing someone because of their first job out of college. If more colour can be given on his neo-liberal views, that would also be useful. I do get the sense that Bernie supporters are very unhappy with the attention he is getting and are trying to deflate him on relatively flimsy grounds (given that we don’t know that much about hsi policy). I actually think they would make a good pairing from a ticket perspective

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          What does Buttigieg bring? He has the support of all the wrong people. The key to Sanders popularity is the people behind Buttigieg don’t like Sanders. Their pairing makes no sense except in a sanitized Aaron Sorkin nightmare.

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            As a running mate:
            -Buttigieg can’t promise a swing state. He did worse than HRC. I suppose this is one of those Biden appeals to work I go class white folk mantras. As long as you ignore previous results, this sounds like it could be true.
            -policy? He doesn’t need ideas. He needs moral sounding terms.
            -there aren’t that many false identify gay voters and I imagine they are clustered in safer states.
            -there are other young people
            -he’s backed by all the wrong people.
            -he has no issues he’s championed other than gentrification.
            -visually, he’s 5’7″, so he doesn’t bring a presence to TV which will be noticed. Americans are a shallow lot.

            He makes Tim Kaine look like a solid choice.

        2. WJ

          As a very wealthy mainstream Democratic donor from the upper West Side, I concur with Marc. I’ve had dinner with Buttigieg a few times now and I’ve been so impressed with him that some of my friends and I have agreed to work with some of Obama’s old bundlers to help push his campaign forward!

          1. JE

            Exactly! Buttigieg is another Obama. An elite-run marketing product. Sweet Jebus, Buttigieg even has the focus-grouped autobiography out in time to run?!!!? If president I expect the same results. More empire, more status quo, more inequality, no change we can believe in. Fool me once…

          2. nippersdad

            As a comparatively poor Southerner I will be interested to see how much money will be thrown away on Buttigieg before the realization sets in that he is the mayor of a small town and yet is still too divorced from the realities that most people live to win a national election; Trump, especially, will eat him alive. He might make an invaluable ambassador to France, but Alabama will cough him up like a fur ball.

            Over a billion dollars were thrown away on a Clinton campaign for which every norm was abandoned to get her carcass over the line, and that still shocks a lot of us. What we are witnessing is all of that money that never trickled down being placed on casino bets at a white tie event we will never be invited to. That didn’t work well last time, but it is your money and you are welcome to burn it in any way you choose.

            1. WJ

              Just in case it is unclear, I am not actually a “very wealthy mainstream Democratic donor from the upper West Side”; I was just channeling Buttigieg’s base.

            2. none

              mayor of a small town and yet is still too divorced from the realities

              You mean like Sarah Palin? ;-)

          3. Sanxi

            Down here at Local 512, there is no way Buttigieg is getting anyone’s votes. Seems like a nice enough guy, but we have got serious problems.

            1. Marc

              Wow. I dip in once in a while in NC but clearly an echo chamber and have seen similar reactions in places like TYT etc (though more moderate than the above so quite worrying). Relative to what I have seen and heard, way over the top and reaching for reasons to trash the guy (like he worked for McKinsey in his early to mid 20s and for three whole years). The question of his neoliberal views was genuine because I have seen very little substance from him and remain to be convinced as a result. But the model here is Sanders is the presidential candidate. The VP is to fill in the blanks. I can list a bunch of things that he brings to the table also relative to others in combination with Sanders and I guess we can choose to ignore the fact that he has struck a cord, has very high favourabitity ratings and the rest of it. Politics is about winning. Seems to me the the visceral reaction and seeming need to tear somethng down for some kind of made up purity is the kind of sanctimony that is going to turn off independents.

              1. nippersmom

                He has high favorability ratings because the people who are giving him those ratings haven’t seen anything other than his own press releases and his language skills. When they start to see his record as Mayor and hear some of the questionable (to put it mildly) comments he has made, the favorability will drop. Aside from checking off identity politics boxes, what exactly are the “bunch of things he brings to the table”?

                I’ll hang up and listen.

              2. jrs

                but what about very little track record? Potential is one thing, but is it really enough, until it’s proven in something other than mayor of a small town.

                1. jrs

                  because even if he’s not as bad as all that and I agree some of the criticism is overblown, how to convince people they aren’t buying a pig in a poke? A relative unknown might not be the worst bet for state representative especially if the other choices are worse, but this is potential President.

                  He was on noone’s radar at all (other than South Bend’s) until he decided to run for president, he didn’t become known because of this or that courageous stance (Tulsi and Tina have went to bat for Sanders), and can’t even make up for it with quiet but solid governance as he doesn’t have much of a record at all.

              3. Jeff W

                But the model here is Sanders is the presidential candidate. The VP is to fill in the blanks.

                Well, I’d want Sanders to pick someone who is in consonance with his values and his policies. Pete Buttigieg, being as neoliberal as they come, is nothing like that. (And I’m sure that, if the idea of choosing Buttigieg as VP even crossed Sanders’s mind, he compared what Buttigieg did with what he, Sanders, did as mayor of Burlington, Vermont—they were both mayors after all—and discarded it instantly.)

              4. Yves Smith Post author

                Oh, come on. First, Buttigieg and his allies swoon over his time at McKinsey. I agree substantively it’s main significance is that he got the job (those “analyst” positions are hard to land) but since this is being treated as a big part of his brand, he owns it.

                And he does have a track record in South Bend, despite your handwave otherwise, and it’s not pretty. Being proud of displacing 1000 poor families for inadequate consideration in the name of “development.”

                See here for more:



                Moreover, you have this backwards. Sanders does very well with independents. The point of Buttigieg would be to appeal to neoliberals and mainstream Dems.

                Another point of having a VP is assassination/impeachment insurance (see Dan Qualye and Pence) and Buttigieg is a fail there too. The mainstream would much rather have a tractable corporate-friendy type all day than Sanders.

              5. drumlin woodchuckles

                He stands against many things which Sanders stands for. People who want those things would wonder why Sanders would make a VP candidate out of someone who does not want people to have those things.

                Suppose Sanders actually became the DemPrez Nominee. Accepting Buttigieg as his running mate would be the same kind of display of cringing weakness that McGovern displayed by naming Tom Eagleton as his running mate. Naming Eagleton was McGovern’s own self-inflicted stomp-on-a-land-mine moment. Hunter S. Thompson wrote about that in Fear and Loathing: On the Campaign Trail 1972.

                In this scenario, Sanders’ choice of VP would show whether Sanders is ready to crush and destroy the Catfood Democrat enemy, or whether he is ready to turn around and appease it and restore it to power.

              6. JE

                McKinsey has very high turnover as people burn out, are recruited away or otherwise move on. Average tenure was in the neighborhood of 18 months when I was in the know. So his 3 years there is above average and indicates the place fit his worldview. That is a problem in my book. As I commented earlier, Pete is an Obama-esque marketing product. I expect President Pete would similarly give us more empire, more status quo, more inequality, and no change we can believe in. Fool me once…

        3. Stanley Dundee

          Buttigieg’s neoliberal views are given a bit of an airing in a recent update of my Macronies enquiry. Spoiler alert: yup, he’s a neoliberal; judge him by his writing, his history, and the people who are stumping up money for him.

          1. Marc

            Haven’t read it yet (wrote a comment above before I saw this) but thanks for the link and will read it with interest and react accordingly. But still think that a relatively benign moderating presence to Bernie would help the ticket without changing the thrust of what Bernie is trying to achieve (which I support). And my comments about the shrillness of the commentary remains.

            1. Stanley Dundee

              Marc, my comment was in reply to yours above! Should have addressed you by name. Hope you find the link useful. The larger narrative is, given our history with the likes of Obama, Trudeau, Macron, etc., we should be very suspicious of youngish, good-looking, articulate newcomers with thin records, especially when they win the enthusiastic backing of the big donors we are trying to disenfranchise. Thanks for reading!

            2. Fiery Hunt

              I repeat myself but…

              Neoliberals need to be blasted from the beginning and with full fury.

              The country doesn’t need or want Republican Lite even if the wealthy try to slap a “moderate” or “centrist” label on it. Mayor Privilege can pull up a seat on the bench with Biden, Beto, Harris, Clinton, Obama, et al.

              No more neoliberals… No more.

            3. Yves Smith Post author

              Sanders does not need a “moderating presence”. You act as if he needs a minder.

              Despite the blaring of the Mighty Wurlitzer of the press, progressive positions like raising minimum wages, strengthening Social Security, moving to single payer or Medicare for All, taxing the rich, ending our military adventurism, have polled strong majorities or at the very worst clear pluralities (when the questions are clearly leading in the other direction) for decades. Voters like what Bernie is proposing. The problem is the moneyed classes, who can crank up a lot of noise against him via campaign ads and biased reporting, as we saw in 2016.

        4. Spring Texan

          Nope. McKinsey is horrible and Buttigieg has no perspective on them. Plus, have you heard him talk about free college? (His explanation of what he thinks is bad about it is damning in terms of his damaged worldview.) About national service? Brag about his military record? Buttigieg is awful. It would make me doubt Sanders if he chose Buttigieg.

          1. Spring Texan

            Also did you pay attention to what Buttigieg said about prisoners’ voting vs what Sanders said?

            Night and day.

        5. Mattski

          Oh, THAT’S why David Brock had all those billionaire dinner parties in NYC and SF and–after one last drunken game of eenie, meenie, miney, moe–they all landed on Butigieg? I had no idea. :)

      3. Carla

        I live in NE Ohio. Nina Turner appears to be good at her current job. She is not a vice president or president.

  1. Will Shetterly

    Warren is too old—he needs someone no older than sixty, and ideally no older than fifty. He can’t have an all-Boomer ticket.

    1. Pavel

      My reaction as well. Her age makes her a non-starter IMO. And Omar? Give me a break. Why is she on the list?

      Harris is dreadful but the Estab Dems would be thrilled. Sanders had better hire a food taster…

      I’d prefer Tulsi. She’s not polling well because she’s being ignored (b/c of her excellent antiwar policies).

      1. PlutoniumKun

        I’d add that its a mistake to assess a VP on the basis of his or her raw polling numbers.

        In electoral terms, the VP’s job is add key votes (geographically or demographically or politically) without undermining the candidates support. Pence was a good pick for Trump because he added religious conservatives to the coalition, not because he was popular. I don’t believe Warren would bring many votes to Sanders, except maybe by reassuring some elements of the upper middle classes that its ok to vote Sanders (and most will anyway, out of hatred of Trump). Someone like Yang or Gabbard brings something additional to the ticket, I don’t think Warren does.

        1. Carolinian

          The younger the better I’d say but Tulsi would give establishment elites yet another reason to vehemently oppose him. Maybe we need to vote them out of office (somehow).

          1. inode_buddha

            Thats easy. Shut down their economy. Buy everything used or second hand. Demand real wages an benefits. Organize, because you will have to support each other for a while till they crack….

        2. Jeremy

          reassuring some elements of the upper middle classes that its ok to vote Sanders

          This is a better argument for Warren than you think. On a national level, Bernie wins all the demographic groups already IIRC, except for middle class and up white people. The #stillwithher-adjacent Democratic base is big. I like Turner too but I think Warren is a strong choice.

        3. Sanxi

          Pence – stop the Dems got 3 million more votes then Trump ok? All Pence did was cause prayers to be said in hopes that Trump wouldn’t die.

      2. nippersdad

        I agree. Tulsi would bring out the anti-war vote that is presently skeptical of Sanders in droves. She would also be a great addition to the ticket in that she ticks a lot of the fashionable boxes; an attractive young minority religion/race female with military experience is something that would drive the identitarian crowd mad with joy. I could easily see her on the cover of every magazine at the checkout in the grocery store…………..

        1. Chris

          I think you’re taking the identitarian crowd too much at their word. They are not going for Tulsi now, and without a big media makeover, she won’t win them over to Bernie.

        2. Mattski

          Agree with Chris. That identitarian crowd does not operate out deep philosophical conviction but cleaves to this that or the other gender or color combo out of market conditioning. They all headed in quite the opposite direction for a few weeks, convinced that Dems need to meet Trump at the post with Great White Hope Tio Joe Biden. Another bell clanged and they are headed over the cliff-edge with Buttigieg.

          I find it very hard to get over Gabbard’s embrace of Modi and the money she’s been taking from the right-wing Hindu Americans. I’m happy to believe in anyone’s evolution but there are some carmine red cautionary flags. Linked pieces in the Intercept and Nation here somewhere. . .

      3. Robert McGregor

        A lot of Dems still don’t know much about Tulsi. When they hear her in the debates, the polling, and Las Vegas odds are going to change. She’s like a Sarah Palin with brains and progressive views. You shouldn’t penalize her for her earlier anti-gay views. She was brought up in a political anti-gay family, and now she has CHANGED. I think she is the STRONGEST on foreign policy of those in the running. I think some Republican red necks leaning away from Trump will cotton to Gabbard in a way they won’t cotton to Warren.

      4. dcrane

        Concerns about CFR aside, Tulsi might be the best assassination insurance as well. Sorry to be dark but I can’t help worrying about this sort of thing at least a bit.

    2. Cal2

      Tulsi is about half her age, is an athlete, an Army Major, combat veteran and has a long political life ahead of her.

      Warren is old, never served, has the Ivy stain on her, is mockable because of Fauxchahontas, no matter how unfair it was and comes late to the policy party first thrown by Tulsi.

        1. Cal2

          Oops, I confused the loan forgiveness, 2012 by Sen Brian Schatz, D Hawaii for Gabbard’s plan.

          Student loan forgiveness is the party punchbowl.

          Warren did propose refinancing, a while ago, not the same as forgiveness. Now both Warren and Gabbard have signed onto Bernie’s student plan.

          “United States Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Congressman Joe Courtney (CT-2) and 136 of their congressional colleagues today reintroduced the Bank on Students Emergency Loan Refinancing Act in the Senate and House. The legislation would allow those with outstanding student loan debt to refinance at the interest rates offered to new federal borrowers in the 2016-2017 school year.”

          I’ve learned my lesson. Never count on memory.

  2. The Rev Kev

    Does anybody remember when John McCain selected Sarah Palin to be his Vice Presidential candidate back in 2008? There was a lot of disquiet about that decision as people said that potentially Sarah Palin was one heartbeat away from becoming President of the United States. McCain was 72 years of age at the time. Well assuming that Bernie somehow gets through the democratic dodgem cars course next year and becomes President of the United States, he will be 79 year of age them. Donald trump is supposed to the oldest President elected and he was only 70 when that happened. All I am saying here is that it might be an idea to have as a Vice Presidential candidate someone that does not qualify for a pensioner’s discount. And for God’s sake not a Clintonite (e.g. Buttigieg) as a compromise with the democrats. If Bernie did this, his Presidency would be constantly sidelined by having Presidential power routed through the Clinton clone instead.

    1. jrs

      I think Tulsi would be to Sanders as Palin was to McCain. But Sanders wouldn’t pick her anyway probably.

        1. Martin Finnucane

          My sense from spending too much time on the Twitter is that a lot of Bernie’s followers hate Tulsi like poison, and also that a lot of people think Tulsi is some sort of right winger. She does have a Modi/Israel problem, but I’m having trouble believing that’s really the issue.

          Which leaves us with: anti-interventionism is right wing.

          Which leaves me feeling like I just need to sit down and take a break.

          1. Liberal Mole

            My experience is the exact opposite. My twitter feed is full of pro Tulsi, pro Bernie users. Feel the Bern Reddit, 29,000 members, is absolutely pro-Tulsi, with weeks of pushing for donations to her campaign so she could make the debate stage.

            And what’s with the writer claiming Gabbard has no relationship with Sanders? Remember her resigning from her position as the DNC vice chair to support Sanders in 2016? They are actual friends, and she has said she spoke with Sanders before she started her campaign and that he encouraged her to run. This so sloppy I can only imagine the writer has either hasn’t bothered to do any research, or is doing this on purpose to denigrate her chances.

          2. Mattski

            Three articles I scared up in trying to do a bit of a limited dive. I don’t think that Gabbard passes progressive muster, unfortunately. I’ve spent time with members of the Dalit community in Bangalore, so Modi is to me no laughing matter. But see what you think:




            The Intercept piece comes under considerable fire from readers who have a hard time swallowing criticism of Hindu nationalism; Hindutva is fundamentalism, though, with a murderous rightward edge. I didn’t know it had such a following in the U.S.

        2. Adam Eran

          I attended a Gabbard organizational meeting and met a lot of local Hindus. Gabbard is Hindu, and Modi’s campaign was for “Hindus first”…so there may be something going with religious sympathy that isn’t immediately apparent.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Thanks for the correction. Come to think of it, didn’t he suffer from Alzheimers for much of his second term? And everybody covered for him?

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          To be fair, Reagan was an idiot in his first term, and everyone covered for him then too.

        2. Arizona Slim

          That pretty well sums it up. And Ron Reagan (the president’s son) told a similar story in his book, My Father at 100: A Memoir.

  3. none

    Gravel is unfortunately both male AND older than Sanders. I like Turner. I don’t know how serious that Modi thing is about Gabbard, and Gabbard is good in many other regards. Government experience is overrated: Clinton in 2016 had tons, and Trump had none. Warren doesn’t excite me but is nowhere near as repellent as Harris, Buttigieg, etc. Jayapal seems good (don’t know much about her).

    I think there is a deliberate media shutout of Gabbard because she scares them, which for me speaks in her favor. If she is #2 they will have to stop ignoring her.

    1. Gregorio

      Considering that Indian politics are nowhere on the radar for US voters, it’s hard to see how any support Gabbard might have shown Modi, would be a serious issue for her.

      1. Cal2

        And, the average low information Trump voter, essential for Bernie to win if they defected to him, will react to India being the enemy of Moslem Pakistan.

        Plus Tulsi has criticized Obama for not using the term “radical Islamic terrorism.”

        Therefore Tulsi as V.P. will harvest more ex-Trump voters than any other candidate would.

    2. Spring Texan

      The Modi thing – and being anti-Muslim in general, and her cult background (not her fault as she was raised in the cult, but quite damaging I think as she has not really separated from it, the cult is pretty bad – anti-homosexual though good on environmental issues) are real negatives. We don’t need an anti-Muslim candidate.

      Remember, she’s someone who criticized Obama for not being willing to declaim about “Islamic extremism”.

      1. Cal2

        Remember, she’s someone who criticized Obama for not being willing to declaim about “Islamic extremism”.

        So Obama helped spend trillion$ and kill millions but didn’t use the wrong terminology,
        while she wants to save trillions and millions of lives by withdrawing our military from losing Middle Eastern wars? I will take her non P.C. language any day.

        And, that language is why she would help harvest votes from disaffected Trump voters for a winning Sanders/Gabbard ticket.

    3. Montanamaven

      Tulsi is very smart, articulate and inspirational. She is anti-interventionist but pro-military being an Major in the Reserves. She considers herself a warrior. I’m a pacifist and dislike the militaristic bent of our politics, but I would support Gabbard because she has seen war and hates it. She empathizes with the troops and with the hapless victims of our military adventures. She seems them as human being with families like our families. She seems wise beyond her years. She would definitely appeal to the Trump voters who believe in taking care of America first and using our military for defense. And give some needed heft to Bernie’s lackadaisical and somewhat incoherent foreign policy.

  4. cuibono

    best choice will be someone even more loathsome to the neocons as a form of life insurance.

    1. J-Money

      I second that. Been clearly vocal about left policies since she was elected to public office a few years ago.

    2. QuarkfromDS9

      She’s ineligible, as she isn’t a natural born citizen.

      I do wish she could run though, she’s pretty amazing.

    1. Arizona Slim

      I live in Grijalva’s district. As a US rep, he’s a lot better than Martha McSally, who also hails from southern Arizona. Where Grijalva really shines is in constituent service. The best I’ve ever experienced.

  5. Lambert Strether

    Not to pick out the Oval Office drapes, but my criteria for a VP are (a) excellent implementation skills and (b) a sufficient level of viciousness to repel the assaults that will surely come (while avoiding any dealbreakers on policy, and networks like Abrams and CFR/CAP). Those skills would also serve a VP well should they succeed Sanders.

    For me, therefore, the set of Sanders VP candidates numbers one: Warren.*,**

    (FWIW, I understand the age argument, but in terms of electability, I don’t think Warren codes as “old”: The school marm persona — glasses, hair, tough grader — works for her, there. School marms are supposed to be of a certain age. Just my perception; I have no data to back it up.)

    * Granted, Warren has poor political judgement, or she would have been a real player in 2016, when the door was wide open for her. But it may be that a Warren elected on a Sanders mandate is less cautious.

    ** Jayapal fits the criteria, but she’s doing great where she is. The Majority Leader position is critical too.

    1. WJ

      Re: Warren’s poor political judgment

      That would also include, I think, her failure to endorse Sanders in the primary in the hope and expectation of being rewarded (or being left alone) by a Clinton presidency.

      1. MichaelSF

        I think Cheney did a bit more than that.

        Isn’t what tasks the VP does up to the President and the VP? If a president is willing to let their understudy do a lot of work, and the VP is keen on doing it, it seems like you could actually get more than one active person out of the ticket rather than a president and a place-holder.

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          There is often great emnity between the Prez and the VP. Eisenhower loathed Nixon. Nixon loathed Agnew. I can’t imagine Pappy Bush gave Qualye the time of day. Biden was much closer to the “go to funerals” version of the job. Clinton working closely with Gore and Cheney acting as the real power on a lot of policy matters are big departures from historical norms.

          1. Jack Parsons

            I would guess that brokered conventions inherently created “Odd Couple” pairs: “I have to take on that jerk to get your magic vote? Sure.” This is where the “VP must pull in another part of the country” rule comes from. Really it was “VP must bundle in another bunch of delegates that I otherwise have to write off”. And these delegate bundles were heavily regional.

            From the early 60s to maybe 1980 we had a transition from brokered conventions to “pre-baked” conventions. In the pre-baked model, this went out the window. Also, regional loyalties became less strong and pan-geographic class loyalties more strong.

            The VP choice has become a pan-geographic class appeal. Also, when they’re on screen together they have to appear cordial- acting was second nature to Reagan and WJC, not so much to other recent candidates. (A guy who filmed silly home movies in the White House during December 2000 said Bill was so good on camera it scared him.)

            (I can’t ask her now, but I think a family member once told me she was a Goldwater delegate in ’64. Or maybe she tried but failed to get sent.)

            If this is all upsetting, wait until I tell you what our primaries are really about.

      2. Michael K

        That’s exactly what I was thinking. VP would be a complete waste of her talent. She’d be able to recommend and implement so many needed reforms at Treasury. MMT might even get a fair hearing, particularly in light of Sanders’ past relationship with Stephanie Kelton.

    2. Left in Wisconsin

      One of your asterisks should be Tammy Baldwin. She’s not great but she’s pretty good. Wisconsin. She is a very under-rated politician and knows how to win votes in the midwest. And we have a Dem gov now so wouldn’t be losing the Senate seat.

      1. neo-realist

        Baldwin is an interesting choice. The dems need those battleground state electoral college votes to win the Presidential election and she could be a solid VP choice not only with an appealing mid-west pedigree, but also with the experience and the stands on the issues in congress that would appeal to Sanders’ supporters, e.g., health care, infrastructure, education, farmers, Wall Street accountability.

  6. PlutoniumKun

    I’m kind of surprised at Gabbard being dismissed. I had the impression she has a strong recognition factor and strong positives from Republicans due to her regular Fox appearances, and her focus on foreign policy is a perfect balance with Sanders strength on domestic issues. The ex-military vibe around her would protect Sanders from the ‘he’s too weak to protect us’ line of attack. Judging from the response to her Joe Rogan appearance she seems to go down very well with the type of libertarian who would be open to voting for Sanders on the basis that the establishment hates him. I’ve always suspected that its her potential popularity with deplorables that has led to her very poor polling from Dems.

    And not least, having her as VP would be like giving Sanders a bullet proof vest. I know this sounds foily, but I think nominating any mainstream Dem would be a virtual guarantee that Sanders would, if elected, suffer some sort of unexpected health issue.

    And just to throw out a left field name for Sanders (but who ticks a lot of boxes), someone who is outstanding in debates, hugely popular with the young (including pro-gun types), and who gets on personally very well with Sanders – Killer Mike.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      Also, just to add about Warren – surely her talents would be wasted as VP? Why not announce from the beginning if nominated that his first decision will be to nominate Warren Secretary of the Treasury? He could then campaign as a threesome with his VP pick.

      1. Pad

        yes PK good thought about Sec of the Treasury.
        and while i thought that Warren should have been Bernies VP pick in 2016

        i like Tulsi for the spot this time.
        she has the balls as evidenced by her split with the democratic estabishment
        by backing Bernie last time.
        she is female
        she is young

        and WE DESPERATELY NEED someone to push back on the MIC
        and i think that foreign policy is Bernies weakest issue

        she is from the next generation and we need to start thinking of passing the baton
        because the boomers are rapidly approaching ther end of their shelf life

    2. rusti

      I’ve always suspected that its her potential popularity with deplorables that has led to her very poor polling from Dems.

      Seems a bit like Trump’s winning formula. Voters aren’t that volatile in presidential elections, so go for the ones that can actually swing the election (not the fabled “moderate suburban Republicans”) even if the old guard in your party resents you for it.

      Turning the tables on the Clintonite, “Where ya gonna go, lefties? Ha ha ha!”

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        In regards to the Clinton strategy of chain white flight republicans, one would think the constant use of Bill Clinton’s 70’s Era strategy for winning in Arkansas would face more scrutiny given the lack of victories it’s produced. Even his laugh Le election in 1992 still required 12 years of a GOP White house.

      2. PlutoniumKun

        Yes, exactly – having Trump as the opponent strengthens Sanders hand if he is nominated. He doesn’t have to play nice with centrists (whatever party they belong to), because they’ve nowhere to go – its him or Trump.

  7. Anonymous

    Sanders age requires that there should be no question what so ever as to where his Vice President stands on Medicare For All.

  8. Kasia

    In choosing his VP, Sanders needs to keep in mind his need to co-opt the Big Three policy ideas that Trump used to win the 2016 election:

    1. Anti-imperialism
    2. Anti-immigration
    3. Protectionism

    Sanders is outstanding on both anti-immigration and protectionism and will need no help from his VP candidate on these. For example Sanders can push full funding and implementation of E-Verify instead of building a highly symbolic wall. But on foreign policy Sanders is a little weak and this is where Tulsi Gabbard can help him.

    Yes, picking Gabbard will totally trigger the virulently pro-Israel donor class. This is a feature, not a bug. Where are all the “liberal interventionists” going to go? Support Trump / Pence? A key factor to Trump’s 2016 victory was having the entire media establishment against him. This signals to working class voters that the rich are feeling threatened by this candidate and so that’s more than enough reason to vote for them.

    Sanders / Gabbard could run an openly Israeli-sceptic campaign which will push Trump clearly into the mainstream establishment foreign policy position which is hugely unpopular among working class Americans. Sanders needs no funding from the donor class and so he should use this financial freedom to strongly attack their unpopular positions.

    1. Carla

      I like the way you think. Since the media is keeping Tulsi a big secret, I suggest the commentariat go to tulsigabbard.com and click on the Issues tab to learn about her record, and the policies she supports.

    2. WJ

      What you say is right, which is why I predict that in the (unlikely) event of a Sanders/Gabbard ticket a third-party “Centrist” candidate a la Bloomberg (preferably with Buttigieg or Harris announced as VP*) will enter the race. The aim here will be to prevent, at all costs, a Sanders/Gabbard administration.

      *I have no doubt that, if need be, the Democratic Party would allow this despite the “Pledge” signed by the candidates. As Jesus might have put it, the Pledge was made for Grifters, not Grifters for the Pledge.

    3. Spring Texan

      I like Gabbard’s anti-interventionalism a lot and unfortunately Warren isn’t strong on foreign policy, but I hate her anti-Muslim bias.

      1. Kasia

        Given the fact Gabbard is a woman and remembering all the violence and ethnic cleansing perpetrated by Muslims against Hindus during the later part of the 20th century — not to mention the historic episodic genocides committed by Muslims against Hindus; it is little wonder Gabbard is wary of Islam.

        Be that as it may; if I were Muslim, I’m pretty sure I would prefer a politician like Gabbard, who while being skeptical of my world view, is nonetheless campaigning to stop Western armies from invading my nations and slaughtering my people, over a politician who is 100% PC towards Muslims and even sports a hijab for special occasions but who would back more US invasions of my nations even if that means as a consolation prize, a few Muslim refugees will get to settle in the West.

  9. NotTimothyGeithner

    I’m usually loathe to watch campaign events, but Ro Khanna shouldn’t be forgotten especially when he explains his support for Sanders. It’s not the dopey “right person for the job” garbage they usually say. They have worked together on Yemen recently.

    Though my suspicion is a short list exists and it’s Khanna and Gabbard, who seems to be running on a platform of Sanders primary deficiency.

    1. Utah

      I agree with this. I think Khanna is a solid choice. He’s a person of color (identity politics), young (ageism), but very progressive.
      That said, I think Warren is running to be VP. She recently bought a table for my country Democratic party organizing convention. Nobody does that. And she’d be a solid choice for the establishment to feel better “because she’s a Democrat.”

  10. Matthew Kopka

    Jayapal impresses me; and as noted above, Khanna is great, though–repelled as I personally am by identitarian politics I think it would be great if the candidate were a woman.

    Not being well known is hardly an issue for veep candidates, as we’ve seen over and over.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      55% of the population isn’t false identity politics. The lack of obvious lady choices for VP is an indictment of Team Blue recruiting in the Clinton Era (I’m convinced Obama is the back end of this era). Gabbard is 37. Everyone checked AOC’s age for non creepy reasons. Turner is on this list.

      Even the DLC types are looking towards Abrams because their field is a joke. Harris was already dumped though some of that stuff because she would inevitably displace large parts of DC. Gillenbrand abruptly decided to be a Blue Dog again despite getting away from this. Klobuchar just had a CNN town hall. I mean yeesh. The GOP has more credible future GOP women than Team Blue.

    2. Yves Smith Post author

      Oh, I like the idea of Khanna, young + CA + solid progressive who has stuck his neck out….

      Right, who had heard of Tim Kaine outside VA? Lambert may correct, me, but I don’t think he had much/any national profile.

    3. Jeff W

      I like Pramila Jayapal and Ro Khanna, too. With Jayapal, Sanders would be assured that she would carry through on Medicare-for-All (her bill in the House, as far as I recall, was more progressive than his in the Senate) and, as Yves says, Khanna is a solid progressive from California. (The more I think about it, the more I think Khanna is an excellent choice.)

  11. cm

    Assuming a brokered convention, would Sanders have much of a choice? Can’t the DNC mandate the VP?

  12. mle detroit

    I think naming cabinet members (or “WH advisors”) could be as useful as a VP pick. All of the above could have a role. I’d much prefer Gabbard to Bolton. As for VP, based on experience, geography, and the elephant-in-the-room issue of climate change, I’d choose Inslee, tasked to “Get the GND done.”

  13. Eureka Springs

    Warren on Maddow after she read the Mueller report now favors impeachment. I listened to the clip online and found her reasoning/conclusions to be a deal breaker. It’s the attempted coup which disturbs me most and I’ll make no apologies for that nor allow myself to be distracted from it.

    I don’t know what Gabbard or Sanders thinks about the report yet. But as one who sees the 99 percent of the D party to be the problem, only Gabbard with Sanders would make me consider voting for that party. Gabbard had Sanders back like no other in the last primary season. Hell, by leaving the party under Wasserman Shultz actions in that primary theft she demonstrated more spine, leadership and loyalty to Sanders than Sanders did to himself and his supporters. That was bold action, far surpassing any words. Warren has never supported Bernie when it would have made a huge difference… even on policies she seems to hold dear. Those were very telling moments.

    Gabbard on defense alone, has hands on experience with far better fp views than Sanders expresses. FP/defense is too damn important at the executive level to ignore this. I would want clear assurances Gabbard as VP would be very influential on foreign policy with Sanders. At the very least she should be openly promised Sec Def by Sanders on or before the moment he chooses a different VP.

    1. Fiery Hunt

      I hear ya, Springs….Warren on Trump/impeachment is AWFUL, she can’t be any closer to the ticket than Treasury Sec.. And while I personally like Gabbard on FP, she’s toxic to the general public.

      Nope. Vp is gonna come out of left field.

      1. Eureka Springs

        Toxic, to the establishment neolibralcons perhaps. But if Gabbard/sanity is toxic, then give those neolibralcons a lethal dose. I have to disagree about her being toxic, far from it. Sanders Gabbard should both have major draw from veterans alone. They’ve earned it.

      2. WJ

        The “general public” aka deplorables would love Gabbard the more they were exposed to her positions and her rationale for holding them. That’s WHY she’s so vilified by the media and “Democratic activists” and fraudsters like Bari Weiss.

        Some people have raised concerns about Gabbard re: Modi in India and about her membership in CFR. The first concern is simply a non-issue for me and (I am willing to bet) 95% of the American electorate. The second concern is answered by the way her campaign is being treated by typical CFR “humanitarian” interventionist warmongers. She’s been derided, mocked, ignored, and misrepresented by all these people since she decided to visit Assad on her own initiative and without permission (again the courage and principle of this woman are scary). Her campaign is depicted as fringe and “unpopular” BECAUSE she represents a real threat to the military-industrial-intelligence-congressional-media complex and they are terrified of her.

        1. Fiery Hunt

          Oh, I agree on her appeal…my point is the neos (both liberal and conservatives) have already destroyed her this cycle thru smears, blacklisting, propaganda and narratives.Witness how hard it was for Sanders 3 years ago.

          Never underestimate the power the elites and their media arms have.

        2. nippersdad

          I’m glad to see the point about the CFR so well put. Three months ago that was a deal killer for me, but watching how the usual suspects are treating her has completely changed my viewpoint.

  14. TMoney

    Marcy Kaptur OH-9 Representative – hits a lot of boxes. Pro Unions, Anti NAFTA so much so she was mentions as a potential VP for Pat Buchanan of all people, Midwesterner (good for electoral college), not pro-abortion which might have some crossover appeal. Railed against Wall street. Helped create WWII memorial (Patriot). Not a favorite of Democratic leadership :)

  15. Daize

    I am very surprised at the easy dismissal of Gabbard as well. She will help Sanders over the line in the presidential election against Trump for sure (she is liked by quite a few on the right), and she covers bases regarding foreign policy/defense which Sanders does poorly. If he is smart (and I think he is of course), he will pick Gabbard.

    1. nycTerrierist

      Interesting idea.

      She was brilliant on Dimon, that was one for the ages.
      More please!

  16. PKMKII

    Surprised no one has mentioned Barbara Lee. Hits both the different gender and different race “checkboxes,” from a different geographical region, strong progressive standing from her voting “no” on both the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, generally all-around progressive politics. Only downside is she is a bit old for the VP slot if Bernie wants a contrast to his age.

    1. Fiery Hunt

      Barbara Lee is a corrupted member of the neoliberal Democrat elite team.
      One vote 20 years ago. ..Nothing but gravy since.

  17. rod

    I think Senator Sanders VP and most of his Cabinet and Staff are already in the race. Lots of constituencies represented by those declared–and the name recognition will just continue throughout the Primaries.
    It would be an extension of Sander’s Slogan–Not me, US–and unifying focus on changing the Trump Policies and oligarchic preferences in legislation.
    Sanders focus is on issues–which is somewhat of a effective shield to ‘gotcha’ questioning. Common Sense would focus primary debate between contenders on ISSUES-not personality or ethnicity.
    Dem bloodletting should not be part of the spectacle upcoming-imo

  18. The Rev Kev

    Here is a thought. Looking at all those names made me wonder – in the 2016 US Presidential elections, over 60 million voters just stayed home and did not vote which is about 1 in 3. Out of 335 million Americans, the system spewed up a choice of Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton and people, who were still badly burned after voting for a hope and change candidate, just bugged out. And I don’t blame them. So my question is this. How many of those names are capable of firing up those 60 million voters to come out and vote and create a landslide victory? Or have those 60 million voters been written off already by both parties (maybe by design)?

  19. John Mc

    Elizabeth Warren’s age is less of an issue for me. Her problem is that she is better served in the Senate than as Vice President banner holder for the progressives. She does have more of a pedigree for progressivism than any female in the field (maybe not staunch, but definitely fighting power with her policy initiatives – CFPB etc..).

    The identity politics sold by the DNC/Clintonian wing of the party means the left have pivot from this mentality to start thinking differently (less of the symbology and brand of their ticket) and more about what they will actually do when elected. Liz is needed in a different capacity.

    Just like the idea of changing the number of supreme court justices from 9 to 13 etc,,, we should look at changing the age requirement for president of US. 35 years old is pretty arbitrary, why not change to 30 with amendment and select AOC… She’s perfect for the carrying the banner, engaging the public and stumping for specific policy aims — Green New Deal, Wage Parity, Higher Taxes on the wealthy etc..

    Only problem is the kind of vitriol and enmity she might attract — safety would be an issue for far right nut wings…

    The rest of the list provided (imo) is a combination of
    1. Not ready for Prime Time
    2. Clintonian Redux
    3. New Flavor of Posers
    4. Do not help the ticket or bring the baggage

    Agree with many here, the choices here should have been much better after 3 years of Trump in office.
    Its a reflection of society.

    1. WJ

      “should look at changing the age requirement for president of US. 35 years old is pretty arbitrary, why not change to 30 with amendment…”

      This requirement gives you a good sense of just how “conservative” and “establishmentarian” the Presidency is envisaged by the constitution. A 35yr age requirement in 1776 would likely be equivalent to a 55yr? 50yr? age requirement in 2020. The point being that *very few* property-holding men and women are by this age still the radical, idealistic firebrands they were twenty or thirty years earlier, because they are so much more now part of the system.

      I have no idea what the asserted rationale was for the age requirement of the Presidency in the constitution but I am fairly confident the real rationale was something like the above.

  20. James F

    Picking Tulsi guarantees a strong foreign policy platform. She’s young, tough, and an experienced leader. She will alienate centrists. I say good. A third party spoiler/sacrificial lamb (Biden?) is a real possibility with a Bernie/Tulsi ticket, but how would that play out? A centrist couldn’t win the general and is as likely to split Republican votes as those of Democrats. A centrist would have strength in New York, California, Colorado, Nevada, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland, Virginia, and Delaware but I don’t think a centrist (Biden) could hope for anything more than PA, NJ, and DE given Bernie’s ground game. Turner and Killer Mike in Baltimore, Northern NJ, Camden, Philly, and Pittsburgh, and Tulsi/Ojeda in central PA, and the VA/MD vet heavy areas with Bernie everywhere would be a hard team to beat. Biden might only pull DE, if that. Bernie/Tulsi would benefit from a Trump/Centrist Dem split in WV, MI, WI, OH, NC, MO, and GA. Alaska, ND, SD, NE, IA, IN, TX, KY, KS, OK, AR, and TN might even come into play with a combination Tulsi, Ojeda, Turner, and Killer Mike campaign team. Keep Bernie mostly in the battlegrounds, let Liz shore up NY, NJ, CO, and CA, but let Tulsi (and Turner, Ojeda, Killer Mike) play the periphery. Make Trump fight everywhere even for the states he’ll win – push him towards the neocons, make him rely on Pence and Lindsey Graham, and force him to alienate his base.

    1. Alex Cox

      Just as Nixon picked Agnew and Trump picked Pence, Sanders must pick a VP who is perceived as more extreme than he is. That is his insurance policy against ending up the tragic victim of a lone assassin.

      It’s Tulsi, isn’t it?

  21. rjs

    re: “Gabbard… doesn’t have much of a relationship with Sanders”

    did she not nominate him at the last convention?

  22. Kurt Sperry

    Sanders’ small donor funding model opens up policy space denied to all his corporate/PAC-funded opponents. His ultimate opponent, Trump, and the TDS running rampant among the liberal set, opens up even more. TDS-sufferers (who are also tribal partisans) facing a choice between Sanders and Trump are in a trap. These are largely the same group who harangued anyone on the Left not holding their nose and voting for HRC to prevent a Trump victory. They will be faced with the prospect of either voting for Sanders to prevent four more years of Trump or deep diving into a pool of thick, flagrant hypocrisy.

    I see a path to victory set up by this, turning the Clintonian triangulation strategy on its head and instead of chasing the Rs right, moving left and populist and using the never-Trumpers as a guardrail. It will be almost impossible to alienate those TDS-stricken Ds sufficiently to make them vote Trump.These are also by and large people who hold (or at least loudly profess to) a deep-seated belief in voting as civic duty and voting against the most likely candidate to defeat Trump — even if it involves nose-holding — is all the carrot that will be needed for them. That’s something that can and should be exploited. Looking at Trump’s high and hard polling negatives, it you can get a large voter turnout, and appeal to independents and non-voters, Trump is done. At least half of the electorate will *never* vote for Trump. That’s like a twenty-yard headstart in a hundred-yard dash.

    Sanders’ small donor funding model gives him freedom to take positions none of his likely opponents can without alienating their gazillionaire donor bases, he can advocate for concrete material benefits (“free stuff” in the vernacular of the right) for the electorate that his opponents cannot. Sanders’ not needing the large donors onside means that the stock set-piece response of “how you gonna pay for that” that will stymie anyone who is supported by large donors can be deftly parried by advocating higher taxes on the wealthy and corporations — a position that will only alienate voters who would never vote Sanders in a million years. What would be fatal for his opponents bounces off Sanders like machine gun bullets off Superman’s chest.

    As for veep, he should probably defer to his in-house polling geeks but Tulsi would make a hell of an insurance policy against the spooks I’d reckon.

  23. Steven Greenberg

    Tulsi Gabbard is the only choice because of the foreign policy experience and the gravitas she brings. How anyone could consider Sarah Palin in the same universe as Tulsi Gabbard just boggles my mind. Tulsi is on the correct side on domestic issues, though I am not sure she has the depth of understanding that Bernie does. As a VP she could learn, so it is not necessary that she have all the qualifications or experience that Bernie does. You couldn’t get more geographic balance than Vermont and Hawaii.

    I would be happy if either Bernie Sanders or Tulsi Gabbard won the nomination for President.

    Elizabeth Warren has an over-inflated opinion on what she has accomplished so far. When asked how she would be different from Obama as President, she trotted out her CFPB. CFPB has returned billions of dollars to the 99% to compensate to the $29 Trillion of help during the Obama years for the 1%. Obama failed to prosecute even a single Wall Street crook, but she didn’t say a word about what she would have done differently.

    1. John Mc

      This analysis seems exaggerated. FP experience and gravitas?

      We should stick to what Bernie has said — female, younger and carry the progressive banner. True Tulsi fits this.

      But nothing about Gravitas or FP experience. Hawaii is not a electoral map factor, and there is always pieces of “Not known to the public” but known to the inside baseball politicians.

      Warren does not have an over-inflated opinion on her accomplishments. She is by far and away the most accomplished of all the candidates (single mom, bankruptcy expert law academic, best-selling author (Two-income trap), special advisor during the economic crisis, CFPB brainchild, Senator).

      I really do not like it when her record gets bashed as over-inflated. Of course, she could be more progressive and her policy specifics could go much further — but let’s be careful here in disparaging her record (except Israel and foreign policy weaknesses) — she is a legitimate solution.

      But as Yves points out, she probably should have showed more courage last presidential election cycle, and she would be better suited to run an agency or stay the policy wonk in the Senate than be a VP.
      So, let’s not confuse her issues with “over-inflation”.

  24. Matthew G. Saroff

    This analysis leaves out the most important issue, that Bernie would be 78 on assuming office, and there is a real chance that the VP would become President.

    As such, it is crucial that whoever Sanders chooses be aligned with his agenda.

    Remember also, unlike how Trump’s selection of Pence sent a solidified his position with the Talibaptist wing of the Republican Party, there simply is no significant constituency within the Democratic Party, or for that matter among independents, who will be swayed by a VP choice.

    The CAP types and the consultant class will hate him, and work against him regardless, and for everyone else, Sanders will be the issue.

    I would suggest a firmly progressive running mate, starting with Sherrod Brown and moving left from there.

    I would also suggest that labor leaders be given consideration, so, in no particular order:

    * Randi Weingarten (American Federation of Teachers) <– A good anti-charter school choice.

    * Ai-jen Poo (National Domestic Workers Alliance)

    * Robert McEllrath (International Longshore and Warehouse Union) <– Also sends a message about imports

    * Mary Kay Henry (SEIU)

    * Bernie Lunzer (NewsGuild-CWA) <– A good way to signal to the press that Bernie supports reporters' efforts to improve their work situations.

    1. nippersmom

      I would not describe Sherrod Brown as “firmly progressive”.

      I find it interesting that you state “Bernie would be 78 on assuming office, and there is a real chance that the VP would become President.

      As such, it is crucial that whoever Sanders chooses be aligned with his agenda.”

      You then proceed to list a group of labor leaders as options for VP, none of whom (to my knowledge, anyway) have ever demonstrated any interest in holding the office or any qualifications for occupying it. There appears to be an inherent contradiction here. If there is a “real chance” Bernie’s VP could become president, then shouldn’t we (and he) be focused on VP candidates who would actually be willing and able to do the job?

    2. Swamp Yankee

      As a former AFT member, Randi Weingarten is no friend of the left. Wouldn’t trust her as far as I could throw her.

    1. WJ

      It may be that Neuberger just doesn’t like Gabbard for some reason and is doing his best to write her off as a viable VP pick. Factually dubious (and politically irrelevant) concerns like “doesn’t have much of a relationship with” and insinuations (“raise questions”) about Gabbard’s purportedly reactionary politics both work to this end. Also, the obvious strength of Gabbard–foreign policy–is not even mentioned by him, nor is the obvious fact that this obvious strength of hers complements Sanders’ relative weakness on foreign policy, and therefore makes her a natural fit for VP.

      Or, conversely, it may be that Neuberger has a fascination for some reason with the idea of Warren as VP and is juking his arguments to arrive at that conclusion.

  25. John k

    Bernie said, a couple years younger…
    but everybody’s younger, does a couple imply warren?
    Or is this just deliberately vague, not yet sure who he’d pick, and or certainly not ready to signal? In fact, an early tulsi pick would be anti insurance policy.
    Tulsi certainly not a palin… not just good looking but smart, too. By far best for me on foreign, and this provides useful insurance policy for Bernie.
    Would be fun to see Clintons trying to explain why tulsi is the wrong female…
    Anyway, I agree with others she would bring in both indies and some former trump male voters not that happy with trump. And with some saying warren should get treasury, confirmation of senator automatic even with bank oppo.

  26. Wyoming

    Should Bernie get the nomination (I hope but am not really optimistic) what is going to be his biggest problem? It is going to be the reciprocal of Hillary’s is it not? She so screwed with Bernie and his people in 2016 that a large number of them walked away and did not vote for her (me included). He needs to find a way to not lose the votes of a large percentage of those D’s (or Liberals, or neocon DINO’s) who fought in the primary for his conservative D opponents. Or he suffers the same fate as Hillary perhaps. It is grab those voters or he has to strip off a large number of Trumps camp.

    Picking young (or not so young) supposed socialists as VP’s might not work for either of those above options. Stacy Abrams is a DINO/Liberal signed on member of the Clinton machine who can represent their interests and also has the female and minority tickets punched. So she makes some sense if you are trying to pick the option of salvaging the type of voters that Clinton lost. If you want to gain your voters from the other option things are pretty weak obviously. But maybe Biden as VP again (he has no shame and would likely take it) as he is the definition of a DINO, can appeal to lots of Trump voters from 2016 and is also a member of the Clinton machine. Real Politic defined!

    1. dcrane

      With someone like Biden as Veep, odds are that Bernie gets sick a few months after the election. If we’re lucky enough to get Sanders nominated, his second in command has to be someone who wouldn’t nullify his agenda upon ascending to Prez.

  27. Thomas Neuburger

    Fascinating. I like the Ro Khanna suggestion. If I revise/recast this piece, he’ll be added as the first-choice male. Brings geographic diversity; also SV contacts and ties. Khanna is getting close to being in Sanders’ inner circle as well. With Sanders that’s always a plus.

    BTW, it looks like not many listened to the video. My comment about Tulsi’s non-relationship with Sanders meant personal relationship. Do they interact much? Sanders favors people he interacts with a lot, like Warren.

    Re Tulsi, I should have hit the anti-Muslim gong a little harder. I can’t find much that shows she’s repudiated it. I’m sure that’s a strong element of her Modi support. As near as I can tell, he’s strongly allied with hard-right (fundamentalist) Hindu extremism and is strongly anti-Muslim himself.

    Great comment thread, as usual. Thanks.


    1. Nax

      I think the geographic diversity that Khanna would bring is illusory. Yes, he’s certainly from a different part of the country but California is solidly Democratic. If Trump has a serious chance of winning California without Khanna being on the ticket then he’s likely sweeping most of the rest of the country and it’s all academic.

      I’d probably look for someone from, say, Pennsylvania, Ohio, North Carolina, Michigan or possibly Georgia or Florida. Possibly someone from a smaller swing state like Wisconsin might work.

      However I’d be very cautious about picking a Senator or Congressperson from a swing state because of the risk of losing that seat.

  28. Scott1

    Last time I was very impressed with Tulsi Gabbard & saw her & Sanders together as an ideal.
    Could be I was right the first time.

    If we assume whomever is the Sanders VP will possibly become President during either his first term or second & Yves is right about the rejection of Warren, then it sure looks like Kamala Harris is the best possible pick. I’m accounting for her Clinton Democratic Party nomination set up immediately after the Clinton loss. The name of the game is to win.

    Sanders has built an organization that operates & is likely to outlive him. Who will be the leader of Our Revolution? AOC is to me a Churchillian character & will be running for President sooner more that later I expect.

    AOC is the only one of the political figures (Influencers) who has supported MMT. I’d really love to stop hearing the Big Lie about how our Financial System works. It is all Econ Wars Domestic & Foreign. Electing someone who knows “Congress Votes the Bill & the Treasury provides the money.” would just be ideal.

    From the standpoint of Economists & their views, the ones I believe in anyway, a Warren Mosler & Stephanie Kelton ticket would have been ideal. I can still imagine Ms. Kelton as Sec. of he Treasury. P.S. Forgive me for the repetitive use of Ideal. It just was my word for the day.

    1. Cal2

      Harris as V.P.? Enough to tip centrists to reject Bernie and vote for Trump,
      at least in the Bay Area, where we know all about Kamala.

      9 of 12 friends voted for Trump after supporting Sanders and seeing how our secretary of state,
      who worked for the Clinton campaign, disenfranchised Bernie in a blatant abuse of his office.

      See the video on Youtube “Uncounted” about that process.

    2. nippersmom

      Kamala Harris is a neoliberal through and through. No one who is concerned about Sanders policies being carried out should his VP take over would support her as his choice. If I were unsure about Sanders’ health and truly worried he would die in office, the specter of Harris becoming president might even be enough to make me reconsider voting for him. All putting her on the ticket would accomplish would be to provide an incentive to the Clintonistas to find a way to get rid of him.

  29. John Mc

    “The name of the game is to win.”

    Agree with this. Win and consolidate.

    Except for me, any neoliberal on the ticket is really not a win – (we have seen this countless times in the last two decades). No PINO’s.

    Also, we might win by changing current rules as well (age of Presidency, Electoral College, Student Debt Jubilee, and mandated release of tax returns/all conflict of financial interest, plus supreme court expansion) — we have seen this as a strategy of right for decades – Trump and his tax records, Obama’s supreme court nominee not getting a vote, Obamacare battles….

    We need to really think about how we might restructure the rules to advantage the left for decades not just in the moment (where emotion and circumstance are ephemeral).

    Warren and Gabbard are on the team, but what should their roles be? For me, neither should be VP.
    AOC, Katie Porter (as mentioned above) or one of the freshman women in congress not currently getting the limelight would be better (grooming them for future leadership).

    And if something, god forbid happened to Bernie, the party should have a plan to follow involving Warren et al.

  30. Left in Wisconsin

    After reading through all the comments, I think Tammy Baldwin deserves another plug.
    1. Proven vote-getter in Wisconsin (ran 10 points better than HRC in 2016). This could be enough by itself, since the #1 objective is for Bernie to win.
    2. Supports Medicare-for-all
    3. Younger, female, midwest, gay (take that, Mayor Pete)
    4. Generally good on the issues – about as far to the left as a “team player” Dem gets.
    5. Not real foreign policy bona fides (no one votes on FP) but the veterans here love her.
    6. Endorsed HRC in 2016. If one were to try and thread the needle as far as attracting DNC types, I can’t think of anyone better.
    7. We now have a Dem Gov in the state so the Senate seat wouldn’t be lost.

    1. neo-realist

      Baldwin would not be the lighting rod for attacks for positions considered extreme, e.g., anti-muslim bias, no strong Israel criticisms. She would satisfy people who want a woman on the ticket (Hillary, Kamala), she could arguably help Sanders be more competitive for midwest battleground states votes than the other possibilities. More of a congenial personality rather than a strident one (Kamala) who could help the ticket get moderate votes (particularly those midwestern ones). And if not identical to Sanders on the issues, she is similar enough, not a blue dog, that she could satisfy progressives.

      I couldn’t emphasize enough not having an extra lighting rod on the ticket. Sanders is controversial enough to the PTB and worry wort centrist dems who think he’s too extreme. While Gabbard is highly qualified, I suspect the ticket would risk more controversy and rear guard actions against it from the establishment over some of her anti-muslim views and foreign policy, which would detract from Sanders populist message. Better to get her in as Defense Secretary if Sanders can get elected.

  31. mtnwoman

    I prefer the politics of Liz Warren, but politically If Bernie chose Kamala Harris she’d help more electorally.
    1) woman
    2) black/Asian
    3) Valued in Dem estab circles
    4) For Medicare for All

    1 & 2 would motivate voters to the polls who otherwise might not go.

    1. nippersmom

      I don’t believe Harris actually supports Medicare for All; I believe she supports the similarly named bait-and-switch being proposed by the Democratic establishment. Her policy positions in general are pretty appalling to most Sanders supporters I know. She could not be counted on- or even realistically expected- to carry out Sanders’ agenda.

    2. neo-realist

      Could Harris sell in the mid-west battleground states–Iowa, Wisconsin, Ohio, Indiana? I don’t think her style would play well.

  32. Lynne

    Freakishly Christian? The problem is not that Pence is Christian, but that he is extreme in his neocon views. At least, I hope your problem with him is not that he’s Christian. After the last few days of people here bashing Christians, I’m no longer sure. Your site, of course, but I was a little shocked at how much hate you are letting publish these days.

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      The concern is with what kind of Christian Pence really is. I understand Pence to be a sort of Rapturanian Armageddonist . . . . which is very different from being a Catholic, or an Episcopalian, or a
      Presbyterian, or a Methodist, or . . or . . or . .

      If you have found serial examples of hate expressed here for various mainstream denominations of Christian, you should certainly bring that to our attention. But if you try accusing us of hatred for Christianity based on whatever richly earned hatred some here may have for Biblical Inerrancy Literalism, or Seven Mountains Dominionism, or other fringe-Christian analogs of Salafism or ISISism or whatnot; such accusations may well not be taken seriously or to heart.

  33. SuperDan

    After reading dozens of your responses, I’m just as confident Nina Turner is not only an excellent choice but the only choice. Were she NOT an option, the closest resemblance would be Yang.
    Turner and Sanders have a history. They’re FRIENDS. They truly seem to be the epitome of each others’ Ying and Yang. She brings that edge that fully supports his Brooklyn-esque accent and attitude. She (I hate pointing out the obvious or over simplifying) ticks the boxes of:
    1) youth
    2) minority
    3) Pitbull
    4) some experience in government
    5) perpetuating his policies

    I see no other likely pick aside from an Andrew Yang…orrrrrrrrr… Andrew Gillum

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