Clinton, Warren, and Sanders: It’s complicated

Elizabeth Warren has so far resisted every appeal from her progressive fanbase to get into the 2016 race for president. Some refuse to believe that her “no” is genuine, which is why her recent meeting with a coalition of social and racial justice advocates that included Draft Warren supporters has created a frisson of anticipation through the Democratic ranks.

Why might Elizabeth Warren be thinking that her time is now? Two words: Bernie Sanders. 

Sanders complicates the presidential landscape in a way that few would have imagined 12 months ago. Who would have thought that a 73-year-old Vermont socialist would be running for the Democratic nomination for president with a script straight out of the 1960s?

Except the second decade of the 21st century seems more like the Sixties every day. With income equality, police brutality, and racism in the headlines (not to mention saber-rattling from the Russians), the Senate’s unapologetic socialist now has a receptive audience for his brand of politics.

The Atlantic explained the disruptive effect that Sanders has on the race: “Mainstream candidates often retreat into safe, Hallmark-card platitudes.” Sanders, by contrast, told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos, “I’m the only candidate who is prepared to take on the billionaire class which controls our economy and increasingly controls the political life of this country.”

“Freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose,” sang Janis Joplin and that is pretty much where the one-time mayor of Burlington, Vermont, is today. Sanders has the freedom of incumbency and popularity back home. He roared to reelection to his Senate seat in 2012 with 71 percent of the vote.

Sanders’s philosophy may be slowly coming into vogue among Americans. As The American Prospect noted, “Most Americans, even if they’re not socialists themselves, don’t have the same knee-jerk, vitriolic hostility to the idea that was widespread during the hysteria of the Cold War. Salon goes further. Bernie Sanders helped “Vermont into the enlightened place it is today…Wouldn’t it be great to put America on a path like the one Vermont took?”

In this alternative universe, winning isn’t everything. No one thinks that Sanders has a shot at the Democratic nomination. But as The American Prospect explained, socialists have a way of nudging the Democratic Party leftward.

Gawker takes the next logical step: “Like Elizabeth Warren? Vote for Bernie Sanders.” Sanders, who shrewdly decided not to run as a third party candidate, will make life difficult for Hillary Clinton on issues like Wall Street and the Keystone XL pipeline. Which makes Clinton supporters nervous.

He should make the senior senator from Massachusetts nervous, too, if she is, in fact, harboring some secret desire to bolt into the presidential race. Sanders scores lower on the charisma scale than the folksy Warren, but he brings a depth of political experience and a wider portfolio to the race than does Warren, who progressives forget is less than halfway through her first Senate term.

Neither of them can match the former secretary of state’s experience in foreign affairs. But American elections typically turn on pocket book issues, not what Russia is up to on the fringes of the former Soviet empire. Clinton is vulnerable to Sanders’s oligarchy critique, and she will have to devise a strategy to deal it. Which is a problem that Clinton can probably handle as long as Warren’s answer continues to be no.

–GABRIELLE GURLEY

 

BEACON HILL

Scot Lehigh says Brian Joyce‘s problems are now Stan Rosenberg‘s and that the Senate president needs to show leadership by addressing the questions raised about one of his chief underlings in a Sunday Globe story on Joyce’s intermingling of Senate business and his law practice. (Boston Globe)

Case workers from the Department of Children and Families picketed outside the agency’s Fall River office to call attention to what they say is a dangerous growth in the number of cases each of them has to monitor, which they say is putting children at risk. (Herald News)

MUNICIPAL MATTERS

Rockport votes 1,186 to 800 to keep adding fluoride to the town’s water. (Gloucester Times)

Lawrence Mayor Dan Rivera recommends borrowing $8 million to buy and rehab a downtown building to house the school department. (Eagle-Tribune) CommonWealth earlier explored the hard feelings between Rivera and the landlord of the school department’s former headquarters.

WASHINGTON/NATIONAL/INTERNATIONAL

Maine’s Susan Collins is an endangered species in the US Senate: A moderate Republican who is increasingly the go-to bridge to bipartisan collaboration with Democrats. (Boston Globe)

ELECTIONS

State Sen. Robert Hedlund of Weymouth says he will run for mayor this fall, taking on incumbent Mayor Sue Kay, who is seeking her third four-year term. (Patriot Ledger)

Jennifer Braceras hails Carly Fiorina‘s denunciation of the identity politics she saysHillary Clinton and Democrats traffic in, but she then goes on to practice a bit of it herself, saying the diverse GOP field of declared or possible 2016 presidential contenders also gives the lie to liberal talk of a Republican Party dominated by white men. (Boston Herald)

BUSINESS/ECONOMY

Boston’s wages and salaries outpace the rest of the nation, which is a signal the economy is strengthening but also a warning that constraining costs in areas like health care won’t be easy. (CommonWealth)

The Washington Post‘s Fact Checker blog gives Sen. Elizabeth Warren “four Pinocchios” — the highest level of whoppers — for her claim that automobile dealers cost consumers $26 billion a year in price markups.

The online magazine OZY has a profile of Boston College law professor Ray Madoff, who has been gaining national attention — including from Congress — for her criticism of the structure of charitable foundations that benefit the donor and money managers without necessarily fulfilling charitable missions.

EDUCATION

The number of sexual violence complaints at colleges and universities has skyrocketed over the last five years while the length of time to investigate those complaints has more than tripled, taking the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights an average of four years to resolve. (U.S. News & World Report)

Incoming UMass President Marty Meehan is vowing to increase online learning at the five-campus system. (Associated Press) Meanwhile, the UMass building boom could be coming to an end. (State House News)

HEALTH CARE

In a radical departure from standard practice, police in Gloucester will begin connecting drug addicts with treatment services, not arresting them, if they show up at police stations seeking help. They will be allowed to turn over drugs and drug paraphernalia at stations without facing criminal charges. (Boston Globe)

The push for pharmacy cost transparency is a slow go across the nation. (Governing)

TRANSPORTATION

Former MBTA general manager Beverly Scott does her thing, telling CommonWealth that the T should be put out of its misery and taken over by the state. Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollack says the Baker administration’s T panel looked at that option and rejected it. (State House News)

The Boston NAACP is working with Uber to push expansion of the ride-sharing service in Boston’s black neighborhoods. (Boston Herald)

ENERGY/ENVIRONMENT

Cynthia Arcate says Massachusetts needs to stop playing catchup on energy and address the natural gas pipeline issue. (CommonWealth)

Voters at the Hull Town Meeting voted to ban dogs on town beaches this summer. (Patriot Ledger)

California adopts sweeping restrictions on water use. (Time)

CRIMINAL JUSTICE

A man convicted in the 1993 killing of a Boston police detective has been granted a new trial — his fourth — in a case that has been plagued from the start with controversy. (Boston Globe)

A Sudbury man is being charged with killing his parents earlier this week at a vacation house they were renting on the US Virgin Islands. (Boston Globe)

A judge granted bail yesterday to the Irish-born nanny who has been held for nearly two-and-a-half years on charges related to the death of the Cambridge 1-year-old she was caring for. (Boston Globe)

A Wareham man is being held on $50,000 bail on a manslaughter charge after he allegedly sold a deadly packet of heroin to a woman who died of an overdose just moments after she snorted the powder. (The Enterprise)

MEDIA

GateHouse Media makes big cuts in the editorial and business staffs at the Worcester Telegram & Gazette, and more may be coming. (GoLocal Worcester)

An exodus of top officials at Al Jazeera America combined with a lawsuit and chaos in the newsroom has thrown the nascent cable news station into turmoil. (New York Times)

The owner of WATD-FM in Marshfield has agreed to purchase the longtime Brockton AM radio station WXBR, known for decades as WBET, and plans to have it back on the air in time to broadcast this fall’s high school football games. (The Enterprise)

The New York Times has the back story to a 50-year-old photo that went the then-equivalent of viral of a Massachusetts prep school football game that was played with thousands of spectators watching as a fire raged in a building behind the stands.