Joe Biden warned against freezing out progressives as he shapes his government.
Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, leaders of the Democratic Party’s left wing, are at risk of being excluded from the senior ranks of President-elect Joe Biden’s administration as the incoming President balances the demands of his party’s progressive base against the political realities of a narrowly divided Senate.
The liberal New England Senators remain interested in serving in Mr. Biden’s Cabinet, but even some of their allies recognise they face major political hurdles getting there. Sensing disappointment, progressive leaders have reluctantly begun to express support for less-controversial alternatives.
Ms. Warren, whose political career has been defined by efforts to diminish the power of big banks, is the progressive movement’s top choice for Treasury secretary. Mr. Sanders, a self-described democratic socialist, reiterated his desire to serve as Mr. Biden’s Labor secretary on Thursday, describing himself as particularly well-suited “to focus on the many crises facing working families in this country.”
Whether he is included in Mr. Biden’s Cabinet or not, Mr. Sanders warned Mr. Biden not to freeze out progressives as he shapes his government. “It seems to me pretty clear that progressive views need to be expressed within a Biden administration,” Mr. Sanders said. “It would be… enormously insulting if Biden put together a ‘team of rivals’ – and there’s some discussion that that’s what he intends to do – which might include Republicans and conservative Democrats — but which ignored the progressive community. I think that would be very, very unfortunate.”
In a nod to the left wing, Mr. Biden’s transition team has hired Analilia Mejia, a Sanders adviser who served as his presidential campaign’s political director, to work on progressive outreach. It’s unlikely, however, that mid-level hires will be enough to satisfy progressives.