Warren, Sanders should agree not to doom each other’s chances

Warren and Sanders are doing well because they have captured the hearts of the left. But to win the nomination, one of them has to go.

SHARE Warren, Sanders should agree not to doom each other’s chances

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (left) and Sen. Bernie Sanders.

AP Photo/Josh Reynolds, AP Photo/John Locher

The two leading progressives in the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination race are on a collision course.

These left-leaning policy provocateurs are fighting for progressive love. Both have richly earned it.

U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders is reprising his last run, one that nearly toppled Hillary Clinton, the presumed juggernaut in the 2016 nomination contest.

Opinion bug


The unabashed democratic socialist from Vermont is building on his unrivaled army of small-dollar donors and their devotion to “feeling the Bern.” He is calling for a Green New Deal, Medicare for all, free public college tuition, universal child care and pre-K.

U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, the former Harvard University professor from Massachusetts, is toting a plethora of proposals. There’s her pitch to split up technology behemoths such as Amazon, a plan to jail misbehaving corporate executives, and yes, her own brand of Medicare for all.

You want the government to do more and make the wealthy pay for it? Her campaign T-shirts declare, “Warren has a plan for that!”

Both candidates are touting ideas that are, at turns, uber-progressive, radical, even revolutionary. They aim to alter the American economy in favor of the poorest, to the detriment of the richest. Their ideas could fundamentally change our culture and alter our democracy.

It’s working, so far. Warren has been moving up in the polls, and in some cases has overcome Sanders. At this stage in the nomination fight, they are aiming for the same goal — to catch up with the front-runner, former Vice-president Joe Biden.

That puts them in direct competition, shows an analysis by Vox.

The news web site examined a series of recent national primary polls tracked by Real Clear Politics. Biden is leading in those polls, averaging nearly 40 percent. “Sanders has seen his support drop lately,” Vox reported last month, while Warren is enjoying “a steady uptick.”

In the early primary state of Nevada, Warren grabbed 19 percent of likely Democratic caucus voters, according to a Monmouth University poll conducted June 6-11. She came in second to Biden, who earned 36 percent. Sanders ranked third, with 13 percent.

“The Biden rivals are the candidates who hope to emerge as the main alternative to Biden and who can mobilize the support of younger, more liberal voters,” Kyle Kondik of the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics told Vox.

“The Biden replacements are those who seek to supplant Biden as a candidate who can rally the more moderate/older elements of the party.”

Who will it be? Warren and Sanders are doing well because they have captured the hearts of the left. But to win the nomination, one of them has to go.

If they split the progressive vote in the 2020 primaries, both will lose to a mainline Democrat — Biden.

There’s one simple solution. Warren and Sanders must get it together, by getting together.

If they truly want to put a progressive in the White House, drop the arms race and forge an alliance. Cut a deal.

Keep competing for now, keep push your ideas into the mainstream. But at some point, whoever prevails in the early primaries must consolidate the base.

They claim to represent “the people,” especially those who are shafted every which way by America’s corporate and government mafia.

If they truly believe in their plans to bring radical change that can remake America, one of them must step aside.

Now, that would be radical.

Send letters to letters@suntimes.com.

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