Why the Differences Between Sanders and Warren Matter

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The two senators also have distinct theories of change. Sanders is movement/people based, Warren seeks to convert elites

January 2019

"Elizabeth Warren is no centrist. But Bernie Sanders would be the most progressive president in US history — and he'd have a movement to back him up."

"The two senators also have distinct theories of change. Sanders has long believed in bottom-up, movement-based politics. Since his daysas mayor of Burlington, Vermont, he has tried to energize citizens to take part in government. He generally distrusts elites and decision-making that does not include the public. Warren, on the other hand, generally accepts political reality and works to push elite decision-makers towards her point of view."

Before I go any further, I should lay my cards on the table. I have a conflict of interest — towards Warren. In 2012, I worked for the Progressive Change Campaign Committee (PCCC), the most influential outside PAC supporting Warren. I raised thousands of dollars for her and recruited dozens of volunteers. I spent hundreds of hours helping elect Warren to the Senate. I have written favorably about most of her Senate career since.

But I’ve always understood that Warren does not come from the same political tradition as someone like Bernie Sanders. She was a Republican until 1996, when she realized the party had failed to rein in the influence of business (especially finance). “I was with the GOP for a while because I really thought that it was a party that was principled in its conservative approach to economics and to markets,” Warren told George Stephanopoulos in 2014. “And I feel like the GOP just left that.”

She continued: “They moved to a party that said, ‘No, it’s not about a level playing field. It’s now about a field that’s gotten tilted.’” And they really stood up for the big financial institutions when the big financial institutions are just hammering middle-class American families. I just feel like that’s a party that moved way, way away.”

Since her departure from the Republican Party, Warren has busied herself promoting a “level playing field” and a fairer system for workers and consumers. Her ideals, while not out of step with those of a mid-century liberal Republican, would represent a marked shift away from the economic status quo if implemented. In an interview for this article, Noam Chomsky called Warren a “credible candidate” who is “pretty good on domestic policy.”

Yet Sanders has always existed outside the traditional party system. He has more in common with non-American socialists like Evo Morales and Jeremy Corbyn than party figures like John Kennedy, to whom Warren has subtly linked herself. He would be the most progressive president the United States has ever seen.

The two senators also have distinct theories of change. Sanders has long believed in bottom-up, movement-based politics. Since his daysas mayor of Burlington, Vermont, he has tried to energize citizens to take part in government. He generally distrusts elites and decision-making that does not include the public. Warren, on the other hand, generally accepts political reality and works to push elite decision-makers towards her point of view. ...
Read full article at Jacobin

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