Elizabeth Warren Could Fill the Bernie Sanders Void for Hillary Clinton

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.) takes part in the Washington Ideas Forum in Washington, D.C., Oct.1, 2015.

Hillary Clinton will woo the liberal wing of her party, campaigning with a luminary of the left in an effort to consolidate Democratic support and win over Sen. Bernie Sanders’s supporters.

But Mrs. Clinton won’t be sharing a stage with the Vermont senator on this day. Instead, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.) will be at the former secretary of state’s side, making the pitch for Mrs. Clinton’s progressive policies.

With the Democratic National Convention now less than a month away, Mrs. Clinton is forging ahead with the work of unifying her party. Mr. Sanders so far has declined to endorse the Democrats’ presumptive nominee. But Ms. Warren, who is viewed as a rock star by the same far-left activists who backed Mr. Sanders, is in many ways filling that void.

Since Mrs. Clinton clinched the Democratic nomination earlier this month, Ms. Warren has proved to be an enthusiastic and effective surrogate, aggressively sparring with presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump and attesting to Mrs. Clinton’s populist credentials.

Ms. Warren, who remained neutral during the Democratic primary campaign, has thrown her support to the former New York senator and first lady, telling MSNBC that she’s “ready to get in this fight and work my heart out for Hillary Clinton to become the next president of the United States and to make sure that Donald Trump never gets any place close to the White House.”

The two women huddled at Mrs. Clinton’s Washington, D.C., home for a private meeting two weeks ago. And Ms. Warren recently visited Mrs. Clinton’s headquarters in Brooklyn, N.Y., firing up staffers with a speech and a pledge to work with them during the coming months.

Many Democrats expected Mr. Sanders to take on this role by now. His stamp of approval was seen as the linchpin for uniting the party after an unexpectedly competitive primary battle.

But a new Wall Street Journal/ NBC News poll found that Mrs. Clinton already has secured the support of 78% of those who backed Mr. Sanders in the Democratic primaries. And Ms. Warren now could help bridge the gap between the Clinton campaign and some still-skeptical Sanders voters.

The Vermont senator has withheld his endorsement, believing that would give him more leverage in his efforts to compel Mrs. Clinton to embrace some of his policy proposals and suggested changes to party rules.

While those negotiations continue, many top Democrats are coalescing around Mrs. Clinton. Ms. Warren’s debut on the campaign trail raises questions about how consequential a Sanders endorsement ultimately would be if the Massachusetts senator is already rallying liberal voters to Team Clinton.

For now, at least, Mr. Sanders remains on the sidelines, existing somewhere between active candidate and also-ran. Mrs. Clinton has secured the delegates needed to clinch the nomination, but Mr. Sanders has not conceded. He says he will work to ensure that Mr. Trump is not elected president.

Mr. Sanders has even said that he will vote for Mrs. Clinton in November. But, as he told CNN on Sunday, he’s not making an endorsement just yet.

In the meantime, Ms. Warren will be making the case for Mrs. Clinton.


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