Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts) is starting to accumulate some fans in the financial sector who see her as an alternative to Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont).
According to a recent report in Fortune, Democrats who work on Wall Street say that, despite Warren’s economic populist policies like taxing net worths and cancelling student debt, she would be an “acceptable alternative” to Sanders, an avowed Democratic Socialist who has vowed to tax financial speculation to fund his debt cancellation and free college proposals.
“If [Warren] ends up being the nominee, I’d have no trouble supporting her at all,” said David Schamis, chief investment officer of Atlas Merchant Capital. “I think she is smart, hardworking, responsible and thoughtful. And I think she thinks markets are important.”
Schamis is right in that Warren is a free marketeer. In 2018, the Massachusetts senator said as much in an interview with The Atlantic.
“I love markets. I believe in markets,” Warren said at the time. She also told the New England Council that she’s a “capitalist to my bones.”
“I am a capitalist to my bones,” Sen. Warren tells New England Council, one of several instances this morning where she’s highlighted her belief in capitalism and markets while talking bankruptcy policy #mapoli
— Katie Lannan (@katielannan) July 16, 2018
Warren’s pro-markets talk is perhaps the biggest thing that separates her from Bernie Sanders, as the two have similar policy visions as presidential candidates. Both are in favor of eliminating private health insurance in favor of a single-payer, government-run healthcare system (Warren has waffled on the topic before, but settled matters at the initial Democratic debate when she raised her hand to affirm her support for single-payer healthcare). Both are also in favor of taxing the wealthy to pay for bolstering social programs. However, Sanders is still the only candidate to directly attack “unfettered capitalism.”
In an interview with The Nation last month, Sanders defined “unfettered capitalism” as a system in which the bulk of the economic gains in America have gone to the richest 1% of Americans, almost exclusively.
“We have to talk about democratic socialism as an alternative to unfettered capitalism, where the rich get richer and almost everybody else is getting poorer. I think that’s a message that young people are receptive to, and I think it’s a message that working people are receptive to,” Sanders said. “Right now, the average worker in America is making, in inflation-accounted-for dollars, and despite a huge increase in technology and worker productivity, exactly the same amount of money that he or she made 43 years ago. That’s incomprehensible.”
“Nobody can defend three families in this country owning more wealth than the bottom half of the American people. Or that 49 percent of all new income today goes to the top 1 percent. That is indefensible. That is outrageous. That is immoral. And I think the American people understand that has got to change,” he added.
Of course, Warren isn’t Wall Street’s first choice. As Grit Post reported earlier this year, Wall Street favors Warren and Sanders the least among Democratic presidential candidates. And as Fortune noted, the financial sector’s favorite candidates include former Vice President Joe Biden, Senator Kamala Harris (D-California), and South Bend, Indiana mayor Pete Buttigieg.
But given Warren’s impressive second-quarter fundraising haul of $19 million — slightly outpacing Bernie Sanders’ $18 million — the Massachusetts senator may end up securing more Wall Street support as her campaign gains momentum. Particularly if she’s the Democratic nominee, as she previously told MSNBC that she wouldn’t be opposed to taking corporate PAC money if that’s what she needed in order to defeat President Trump.
(Featured image: Edward Kimmel/Creative Commons)
Carl Gibson is a politics contributor for Grit Post. His work has previously been published in The Guardian, The Washington Post, The Houston Chronicle, Al-Jazeera America, and NPR, among others. Follow him on Twitter @crgibs or send him an email at carl at gritpost dot com.