Endorsing Warrenism

Wil Wilkinson had an interesting column in The New York Times a while back.His general thesis is pretty well summarized in this paragraph:

Democrats are hungry for reform, not revolution. To oust Mr. Trump and especially to govern effectively, Democrats need a fighting creed that avoids both Mr. Biden’s blinkered complacency and Mr. Sanders’s quixotic hand-waving. She may be gone from the race, but Elizabeth Warren has a plan for that. Democrats should pick up the fallen flag of Warren-ism and run.

Wilkinson points to the uncomfortable truths that sentient Americans now recognize–our government is increasingly corrupt, and that corruption isn’t confined to the Trump crime syndicate ensconced at the White House.  It has been building for many years.

A self-reinforcing spiral of regulatory capture, self-dealing and influence-peddling has led to intensely concentrated power that is at once economic and political. That concentrated power has rigged the rules that define the structure of America’s democracy and economy to the advantage of the powerful at the expense of ordinary Americans. This has deprived us of our most vital means of collective self-defense: meaningful democratic control over the institutions that shape our lives. Unless we fight to unrig the system, millions of us will continue to live and die on the terms of unaccountable power.

Wilkinson notes that while Warren’s “I have a plan” approach is seen as less revolutionary than Bernie’s inflexible socialism, it is for that very reason more threatening to the plutocrats who benefit from our systemic distortions, because it’s much more realistic about the way things actually work– the political and economic incentives that ultimately determine who gets what and how much.

I personally support what Wilkinson calls “Warrenism”–especially her hostility to the gerrymandering, voter-ID laws, felon disenfranchisement and the filibuster that rig the system and make a mockery of equal representation.

Warrenism grasps what many other Democrats (like Mr. Biden) don’t: Liberalism is on the ropes because it became complacent about power. We liberals got ahead of ourselves and began to take the institutions of inclusive, liberal-democratic capitalism for granted — despite the fact that our first serious strides toward full democratic equality were taken well within living memory. The collapse of Communism made us think we’d won for good, and we became fixated on tweaks to liberal institutions to enhance economic efficiency or make them better conform to academic ideals of distributive justice rather than tackling their deep-seated structural and procedural flaws.

Read that paragraph again, because it identifies our greatest challenge: our inability as citizens to recognize the dangers of complacency, and our obligation to consistently participate in the political process. No political contest is ever won or lost for good. Apathy is always dangerous, not least because when people finally wake up to the mischief done to democracy while they were “checked out,” they too often respond by over-reacting (what we used to call “throwing the baby out with the bathwater.”)

That’s why I hope Elizabeth Warren stays in the Senate, where she has been so effective and can move that body (hopefully, under new leadership) in the right direction. I know many fans want to see her as Vice-Presidential candidate, but as John Nance Garner reportedly said,” being Vice-President isn’t worth a bucket of warm spit.”

Elizabeth Warren’s great talent is her ability to offer studied and calibrated solutions to the complex structural problems that bedevil us. She has produced what Wilkinson calls a “tough-minded agenda for returning control to the democratic citizenry,” and he says that while we are arguing among ourselves about whether the rise of populist nationalism is due to economic or racial anxieties (or both), whether we need a universal basic income,  or whether the fine print of Bernie’s Medicare for All Plan is the best way to achieve universal health care, we haven’t been doing the most important thing–“rallying for a dogfight.”

The fat cats who currently benefit from our structural distortions won’t simply retreat from the field, even if–as I fervently hope– there is a massive “blue wave.” It’s important to know where we want to go–but it is equally, if not more, important to have a plan for getting there.


  1. I hear you. Hopefully we’ve learned a lot of lessons; including how truly distorted the Trump cult has become. OMG Mississippi governor ordering all Mississippi mayors to cease and desist with their orders to close businesses; etc. Desantis and his madness in Florida; etc.
    This crisis has magnified the best and worst of our public servants, and yes, I believe Warren is truly a very effective legislator but this country and its white power /good ol boy mindset will continue to do everything to keep her and any other woman out of the White House as long as possible. As to: :”The fat cats who currently benefit from our structural distortions won’t simply retreat from the field, even if–as I fervently hope– there is a massive “blue wave.” It’s important to know where we want to go–but it is equally, if not more, important to have a plan for getting there”.

  2. Agreed – Elizabeth Warren should remain in the Senate rather than play second fiddle. She has much more bargaining power as a Senator and is far less likely to be muzzled.
    She also knows how to work the levers of power to get things done. Wall Street fears her for good reason.

    I wish there were 60 of her in the U.S. Senate.

  3. Isn’t it astounding that in a real crisis of life and death for the country the politicians reach for the only tool that will help keep us afloat…socialism.
    Bernie was right all along.

  4. I have received surveys asking who I would like to see as Vice Presidential candidate, Liz Warren or Kamala Harris. Both qualify but both would be a loss to the Senate; the only drawback I see to either one as a candidate.

    I just responded to a Facebook post accusing Joe Biden of being afraid to debate Bernie Sanders again. My comment was that Joe has been speaking publicly to encourage all of us to be safe during this Pandemic and to keep well informed as to the vital elections ahead; both the primaries and the election in November. I asked where Bernie is on these issues. A response to my comments was that if I were interested in what Bernie has to say I can search for him on YouTube. If I have to search for a candidate to know his views; no matter who they are, they are not the person to replace Donald Trump in the presidency.

    Liz and Kamala are both active in their vital jobs in the Senate; which is as it should be at this time. Also proof that either of them are qualified to be chosen by whoever the presidential candidate is because they are doing their jobs in the Senate. As is Bernie but he is still a candidate for the presidency and we shouldn’t have to search for him to know his views. The entire presidential election; as well as state and local primaries, has gotten lost in the mass confusion of Trump’s inability to lead this country during the Covid-19 Pandemic. If Trump decides to postpone or cancel all elections; endorsing Warren or anyone will be a moot point. And he may assert his exaggerated presidential powers to do that while refusing to activate his signed Defense Production Act and, as always, be supported by McConnell and his Republican majority Senate.

  5. Yes, Theresa, Bernie has been right all along, and for the record, he’s a Democratic Socialist, which demands democracy-building in all institutions, which is what Will is suggesting needs to happen.

    For the record, look at what countries dominate the Democracy Index’s Top 10:


    Warrenism backed a Neoliberal Warmonger instead of a Progressive in 2016. For some reason, she has remained silent after bailing from this year’s presidential run. I suspect, like with all the other Democratic candidates, DNC folks had a chat with her.

    So, Warrenism also has an element of distrust associated with it.

    However, I disagree that the VP isn’t worth much. Trump was brilliant in choosing Pence to galvanize the Evangelical base. Pence’s base has now donned the Donny sainthood — he can do no wrong.

    Using Warren to galvanize progressives may be the smartest and most dangerous move the DNC ever considered because I don’t see Biden lasting four years in office if he’s even given the chance. His mental deterioration will be on full display during the presidential debates. Trump won’t be as friendly as Bernie has been.

    Quite frankly, Warren chosen as a VP might bring out enough young people to win the election knowing that she might become the first female president in the USA.

    But, that thought also terrifies the DNC and their Wall Street owners.

  6. Here’s a name that would throw Wall street into conniptions: Katie Porter. She’s young, bright, and she knows the rules better than the people whose job it is to defend them (although it seems the job is more often to bend them).

  7. I wouldn’t mind seeing Warren as the new Treasury Secretary in a Biden Administration. I trust her with the $$$ and I think she could make some real change in that role.

  8. Liz for Treasury – Stacey Abrams for VP , we need a new gen candidate and she is as activist as Liz.

  9. Nancy,

    The number you want is 67….just in case the yellow muskrat gets reelected.


    You neglected to mention the most idiotic Republican in a seat of power: Dan Patrick of Texas. This former radio talk show host is so far out of his depth as to be pitiful … if he weren’t so unlikable.

    Screaming dystopia is becoming a cottage rant for frightened and insecure writers, journalists and bloggers. As I just mentioned, we need 67 Democratic Senators so we can dump Citizens United and convict Trump should he be reelected. Will it happen? Probably not. Listening to most Democrat Congress people, I see clear-eyed, pro-Constitution patriots…generally. I see none of that from Republicans. Not one. Yes, the GOP is a cult of Trump, therefore, it must be drowned in Grover Norquist’s bathtub.

  10. We currently have a desperate shortage of qualified leaders in government. It might be argued that blue no matter who will make that problem even worse but, on the other hand, I can’t think of any qualified individuals who would be lost by perfect success in that effort.

  11. Interestingly, presidential approval numbers are shooting up in Gallup and other polls. Gallup usually is slanted right, but other polls are showing similar increases in presidential approval. I would not be surprised if there are no debates between the parties, it will then have to be information disseminated on every platform to refresh the memories of everyone on the level of incompetence, the lack of empathy, the untruthfulness, the flimflamery, the grifterism, and self-dealing that have taken place over the past 3 1/2 years or so.

    Elizabeth warren would be the perfect mouthpiece for this, and if Joe Biden was smart, which I think he is, he would have Elizabeth warren out there with free reign, talking about how this administration will has rolled back consumer protections, how president Nero fiddled as the fireballs landed across the country, and how he sucked up to every authoritarian strongman in the world while belittling allies that stood by this country in times of disaster.

    Then, Joe Biden should give Warren power and control over certain issues, she would be in the limelight, which wouldn’t necessarily be bad for Joe, and she could continue to pound at this current administration pointing out the real unadulterated (appropriate word I guess) facts of this disastrous swamp dwelling administration. During this time of isolation, I grabbed the dog and walked down to the lakefront, I stream the scenery to our friends and family in Italy and Germany, they talk about how beautiful it is, how it looks like an ocean, but one thing I point out, the water level has risen 3 feet in the Great Lakes. Now, they say a few inches, but, the brand-new government pier is already underwater, and with spring and summer rains on the way, Chicago and all of the cities along the lakefront’s will be at risk. So, climate change not only affects the oceans, it affects the inland seas that are connected through the St. Lawrence Seaway and River systems. This is just one example of a tool in the arsenal.

    There is just so so so much, is difficult to keep track. And I believe that’s by design! There needs to be someone like Elizabeth Warren to keep disseminating the administrations BS and continue to keep the spotlight on highbeam, and focus squarely at, illuminating the hypocrisy of this manure spreader called and administration.

  12. I have backed Warren since she first ran for Senate and was disappointed that she did not fare better in the primary horse race. I don’t want her to be VP since she can do more good in the Senate. The only position I would be pleased to see her occupy would be Secretary of the Treasury, a job I think she would relish and one in which, finally, she could bring the Citizens United – endowed corporate culture to heel. She, like me, and contrary to Republican propaganda, is a capitalist and is trying to rescue that system, if the capitalists (afflicted as they are with terminal greed) will let us. If they (with Republican assistance) continue on their present path of terminal greed they are asking for far worse than a Bernie – something they don’t seem to understand, or if they do, are riding this horse to the edge of the cliff. The hedge and equity funds and the untaxed Boeings of this world are with their present trajectory riding for a fall. Perhaps Liz as Treasury Secretary can save them from their own devices.

  13. john,

    “Interestingly, presidential approval numbers are shooting up in Gallup and other polls. Gallup usually is slanted right, but other polls are showing similar increases in presidential approval.”

    Why be surprised? His forces have no opposition. Who lines up against the Tea Party? Is it still only the Coffee Party? You gotta laugh. Right.

  14. There’s no problem. Why don’t we forget about the Virus of Hatred [better called the new strain of the Hitler virus] that has been mutating for over 40 years and just concentrate on the anti-intellectual virus? What could be more simple than that?

  15. If Warren is elected VP, then the Republican gov of Mass appoints another Republican. I do not want to risk this. Leave Liz where she only answers to the people of Mass.

  16. Both Stacy Abrams and Katie Porter are brilliant women. And hopefully have great futures. Either would be a great choice for VP, although one that I really don’t see Biden making. I agree that both Warren and Harris need to stay in the Senate, although Warren would be a great pick for Treasury. Think she would wield much more power and influence in the Senate, and why risk a Senate seat when we need all we can get.

  17. From the above, “Democrats are hungry for reform, not revolution”. I an troubled by this statement does anyone seriously think Biden will reform anything if he is elected President. Other than getting rid of The Trumpet will Biden bring us Medicare 4 All or single payer Health Care System, crack down on tax shelters, loop holes and money laundering the system currently legally allows???

    What should be very painfully obvious at this point our Health Care System is failing with all of it’s Frankenstein pieces reacting not in a coordinated manner by any any means. The Doctors, nurses and other employees of the Health Care are doing a great job.

    All these people being hospitalized – What happens when the bills come rolling in and you know they will??? Do you think Corporate Health Care is going to stop billing patients??? The Corporate “News” Networks Fox, CNN and MSDNC have not said a word about the potential financial damage that Will Be Done once the bills start being submitted.

  18. Marv,

    I would have to agree, once the campaigning begins in earnest, once the left quits trying to rip itself to shreds and turns its focus on Nero, I suspect that will change! If, it looks like it’s going to fall apart for Nero, nothing would surprise me as far as his actions would go. I don’t know what the landscape of reality will look like in the next months down the road, I would imagine it’s going to be an historical wild ride, hopefully a mainstay in the history books.


    Nancy Pelosi just talked about that, it was about 5 minutes ago, and I’m sure you probably saw it. The right claims it will attempt to take that into consideration as far as the bills, but Nancy Pelosi was adamant that The right did not want that in writing. So, in an effort to get money in people’s hands, there is always the most vulnerable that are held hostage by the right and end up being sacrificial lambs for the greater good supposedly! It just goes to show, there is no compassion, or maybe I should say, there are no compassionate or empathetic conservatives especially when it comes towards the poor and least advantaged, But there is plenty of compassion towards the markets, large corporations, and CEOs and COO’s! Idolatry at its finest!

  19. One more thing, I will have to admit I absolutely love love love love love Stacy Abrams! She brings a lot of experiences and knowledge to the table that Elizabeth warren does not possess! But, I believe Either Or would be a fantastic pick!

  20. JoAnn, to be fair, you have to hunt for Bernie’s views, public statements, etc., because the MSM have rendered him invisible, same as they did for Warren. The only time they devoted much attention to either of them was when they were supposedly feuding.

  21. warren for sec of treasury,,,,spit on mmuchin while he goes out the door.,,the above statement, is where we were allowed to overrun a system,with too many ideals.. now looking back,and taking stock,of the shock doctrine we imposed..i had my feelings about too much before the fall of the wall.but the task handed to the politicians by orgs destin to use the media for publicity,became a way of life..though honorable in many endevours,some are just a irresponsable intrusion,that when passed,did not adopt the needs to make the issue liveable,but for a few…as far a the communism falling,i was watching the count of the ruble,and its value,to the money market…(wierd,but i watched the greed,take a second look) when it came on,it didnt make any fan fare,but it was substantial.the chinese ,,, Clinton waving a American flag,telling china he wouldnt sign the WTOs contract to allow china into the markets,(i beleive he was the last signature,) until,human rights were established,as in,child labor,prison slavery,and mass incarcerations by the goverment,, yea right,,he signed,and we see how that played out,a total waste of time..im sure wall street goaded him into signing via some sort of insider,er…”. we come today looking back at what mcconnel is playing,and its not hard to figure,if the time line is remembered, how chisling away at small items became a game of we the senate does not have to do shit,and were in charge,then came trump,mcconnels wet dream..heave ho, the old man blows…we lost…we forgot we are the people,and we sat down and allowed others,to scam our thoughts and anger,to lie and cheat,to get the job..Liz Warren,i like women,any kind,but intelligence with a sense of humor is a killer combo.. ive been lucky to listen to some of the brightest lights who walk, face down a situation while chewing some ass,all the while smiling…not satisfaction, some one respected or gaining resoect,who didnt allow men to override the issues..Liz Warren,,thanks, if anyone should get a too spot she should, but one that changes things,,her economics are top notch,and she can flow..watching mnuchin take the tail between the legs on his way out the door,i want that picture..his ass,not his ass,er face..
    if ugly came in a box,hed be a warehouse full…his neglect and greed is the epitome of how you can screw millions,and have a job as sec of treasury, this alone has shown the greed ,lack of rules and law,and how wall streets abortions get to run this nations and its economy,via greed.. Warren needs to become the working class mentor,and a face to all Americans who desire a living economy where we again rule our democracy..and goldman sacks,(the investor,,) can have mnuchin back, and live to remember how he screwed the people,and kissed trumps ass..

  22. john,

    I’m afraid it’s going to be just another PHONY [POLITICAL]WAR for a while, much like the world witnessed just before the German Blitzkrieg which started W.W. II. There’s absolutely no rumblings of CIVIC COURAGE. If things don’t change for the better, the situation more than likely will turn out to be a ROUT.

  23. John
    Rubio on fox yesterday,,”,we cut amount to the lower wage people because we didnt want them all to quit work and go on unemployment,”,i was watching him in one of our local parts stores, i damn near puked. maybe rubio should take some time off and enjoy living with the poor for a change,,,this is just a refocus to the headliners who,want to believe fox,and the party that screws them too… making the poor the boogyman ,while wall street steals thier wages…best wishes

  24. Marv,
    ill stand with you anytime.. civic courage,or civil disobedience.,,, im here in NoDak and the blood reds are laughing at us.. ill travel to ,im looking,well,im still looking,er, i dont have facebook, er,look up zip code for gatherings,,er,none here,,, Marv, we have a issue…social distanceing.. shades of vietnam, and local radio,i remember well…

  25. jack,

    There has to be a start somewhere. As I’ve often mentioned: Why doesn’t it start? Answering that should be the “$64,000 question.”

  26. I’m with Stacy Abrams. Not only is she brilliant, electric and all in on voter rights, she will bring some real excitement to the Biden administration and really tighten support of his most loyal voters–black women. I mentioned that to an older black woman at a Biden rally while we were waiting to get in. She at first disagreed with me because, as she asserted, “but she didn’t win”. My response was “that’s true, but she would have won if she wasn’t cheated out of the election by voter suppression”. The face on the woman I was talking to lit up and she said “You’re right. I am going to have to think on that.” Stacy would also be a great pick because, after all, we need to take control of the Senate. We would not have to worry about losing a seat in the Senate as she is not there right now. The race for the presidency gave me a new respect for the candidates who were in it. Let’s keep the good Senators in the Senate. We need to take all three branches of the government and restore this country. This clearly can only be accomplished with the removal of the current obstructionist-in-chief and his mighty loyalists.

  27. john Sorg, I did not watch Pelosi. She has in the past and currently will not Co-Sponsor Medicare 4 All. H.R.1384 – Medicare for All Act of 2019. HR 1384 has 118 co-sponsors all Democrats.

    Pelosi seems very comfortable with “Corporate Health Care” – You can have it if you can afford it.

  28. Ginny F; Joe posts on Facebook, speeches, opinions, encouragement, keeping the election on social media so it doesn’t get lost in the virual shuffle. He also sends E-mails and others send E-mails and surveys; nothing from Bernie or about Bernie other than opinion pols asking who I prefer to be the Democratic candidate.

  29. Thanks Jack,

    I will have to say, as they are throwing around trillions of dollars, 2 trillian could have funded America’s social programs and Medicare for all permanently! The optics of riding to the rescue and working through the night is something both sides love. It’s amazing how socialism is okay on the right when it has to do with their constituency, socialism is terrible when it has to do with the least advantaged of our societies!

  30. Marv,

    We’ll have to see how deep this virus gets into the red bastian’s. Most of the leadership in those red States are poo-pooing any sort of pre-emptive action. So if those folks start dropping like flies, there just might be a sea change!

  31. Here is one more item on our For Profit Health Care System:

    US private health insurance companies clog system amid Covid-19 pandemic.

    As Augie Lindmark, a resident physician at Yale University prepared for an onslaught of Covid-19 patients last week, he noticed something at his hospital: there were still patients without the virus, completely stable, in the beds.

    These patients, many of whom should have been moved to a rehab facility or released, were stuck waiting until their private health insurance company authorized the next steps, which can take days.

    “They’re doing healthcare to make money, not to take care of people,” said Dr Judd Hollander, an emergency medicine physician and associate dean at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia.

    That could leave many people falling back on the age-old American dilemma: get healthcare or lose all financial security. And it could leave physicians finding loopholes and workarounds to stay afloat.

    “Insurance companies are not beholden to the patient, they are beholden to the shareholder,” Hollander said.

    Yeah, Medicare 4 All is too complex, We cannot have that here. Medical care is best left in hands of Wall Street.

  32. God works in strange ways….for now, most of the light virus areas are lilly white. Sure they believe they are clearly “the chosen people” as opposed to the mixed folks on the coasts.

  33. If Ol’ Joe wins, with Warren as VP, he could do us all a favor by resigning or dying, I don’t have a preference.

  34. My sentiments (on Warren and her advocacy) exactly). I, too, was hoping that if she (or Bernie, for that matter) didn’t get the Dem. nomination, she would stay in the Senate, or perhaps finally have the opportunity to run her creation, the CFPB, like it was designed to be run. Warren was my #1 choice for the Dem. Presidential nomination, considering the mass of under-educated voters who believe the Right-Wing hysteria that Bernie’s Democratic Socialism is the same as Fidel Castro’s Marxist-Leninist revolutionary authoritarianism. There isn’t enough time, facts don’t matter to the Trump-pets, and authoritarian “re-education” ala Chinese treatment of treatment of the Uyghur population probably isn’t going to be allowed. I had been under the impression that Elizabeth Warren was giving up her Senate seat to run for President, and because the MA Primary was March 3, 2020, that candidacy had been filled already, but I was wrong. She was re-elected in 2018! Whoo-Hoo! Definitely don’t want to lose her, except perhaps to a Cabinet Post or Office like the head of the CFPB! Not only that, even had she been up for re-election, MA has a Sept. 1 Primary election for all but the Presidential candidates who ran on Mar. 3, so my fears were totally unfounded. Actually, Ed Markey is up for re-election, and being challenged in the Sept. 1 MA “down-ballot” primary by Rep. Joe Kennedy III. I hate to see this – Ed Markey may be ancient (I remember him being a stalwart anti-nuclear U.S. House member in the late 70s, early 80s) but has been a strong Progressive voice since his election to the U.S. House in 1976, and has had only one term in the Senate. But at least Elizabeth Warren has as safe a Senate seat (for now) as she possibly could.

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