Why Joe Biden needs Elizabeth Warren

For most of Biden’s career, he’s been a perfectly average Democrat. When the party was more conservative on criminal justice, foreign policy, abortion and social security, he was more conservative too. And when the party moved left, so did he. When Biden was a senator from Delaware or the right-hand man to a talented president, that was fine — he could happily follow the leaders and work toward their goals. But if Biden wants to be a great president, he needs to do more than ask “What Would Barack Do?” every day. He needs to offer voters a bigger dream than a return to the Obama era or a smattering of random compromises between conventional liberals and progressives, and he needs clear plans for how to get there.

Warren, by contrast, has had a clear mission and vision for years. She thinks that our economy is rigged in favor of the wealthy and our politics favor the powerful. And she spent much of the 2020 primary campaign laying out concrete policies to combat corruption, wealth inequality, student debt, climate change and more. Not all of Warren’s plans are perfectly clear or consistent — she took a hit in the 2020 primary when she waffled on her health-care plan and had trouble explaining how she’d pay for the one she eventually adopted — but they’re part of a largely coherent message. Biden needs that.