OPINION: Former Saturday Night Live writer makes for potential VP to Clinton

Al Franken

Presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton finally received the ever-elusive blessing from one of the most prominent liberal politicians, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, that both Democratic presidential candidates desired during the primary.

Rumors surged when Clinton’s campaign chairman, John Podesta said women were on the short list of vice presidential candidates, according to Annie Linskey’s Boston Globe article, “Women will be on Clinton’s VP list, so what about Elizabeth Warren?”

Conversations of a possible partnership between the senator and Clinton continued earlier this week as, “An endorsement of Clinton could come within a week or two,” according to Reuters article, “Clinton ally Warren weighs potential VP role, sees hurdles- sources.”

Selecting Warren to get Sanders’ supporters to back Clinton would fail to take the political inconsistencies between Clinton and Warren into account.

And these “Bernie-or-Bust” voters are important in that Clinton could rise an additional three to five points over Donald Trump if she garners 70 percent of this segment, Dante Chinni of NBC News said in, “Clinton lead over Trump would grow without Sanders in the race.”

An option that may be the most beneficial, and unexpected, would be to pick someone like former Saturday Night Live writer and current Minnesota Sen. Al Franken, Bill Scher said in POLITICO article, “The Case for Vice President Al Franken.”

Stick with me on this.

An exciting running mate is desperately needed to satisfy the 2016 cycle’s thirst for a populist outsider. While Warren is a great surrogate and merciless in Twitter fights, the Massachusetts senator could outshine and possibly misrepresent the Democratic nominee’s positions on Wall Street and trade, Annie Karni said in POLITICO article, “The Clinton-Warren fantasy.”

The Clinton-Warren Fallout

Warren stuck out when she was a no-show at a Clinton fundraiser where all the other Democratic women senators embraced the party front runner.

It wasn’t exactly a surprise. Warren has been a consistent critic of Clinton’s policy platform, alleging that campaign contributions from the banking industry changed the then-senator’s mind about overhauling bankruptcy laws, according to Chris Cillizza’s The Washington Post article, “Hillary Clinton isn’t picking Elizabeth Warren for vice president. Here’s why.”

While serving as First Lady during the late 1990s, Clinton was taught bankruptcy law by Warren, then a Harvard Law School professor.

Warren said later in an interview that when Clinton returned to the White House, she took credit for the 2000 Bankruptcy Reform Act’s veto, according to Amanda Terkel’s the Huffington Post article, “Watch Elizabeth Warren’s Candid Interview about Hillary Clinton from 2004.”

The Massachusetts senator believes that Clinton threw out what Warren had taught her and voted for the bankruptcy reform legislation in 2001, which benefited her new donors from the banking industry, Terkel said.

So if Warren’s out of the picture, who would be more inclined and advantageous for Clinton?

Al Franken?

Trump changed what’s possible and Democrats need someone to retaliate, Scher said the POLITICO article.

As a vocal progressive, Franken has appeal to Sanders supporters, the Rust Belt electorate that Trump will charm, and can counter Trump’s rhetoric to keep Clinton above the fray, Scher said.

“Nothing that Franken said decades ago would be remotely as incendiary as the insults Trump spews as a matter of campaign strategy,” Scher said in his article. “And Trump’s presence demands new rhetorical weaponry.

Stifling Warren’s more liberal stances to parallel Clinton’s could hurt her credibility and ability to object to policies in Clinton’s potential administration, The Atlantic’s Clare Foran writes in “Would Elizabeth Warren Even Want to Be Vice President?”

Taking Warren allows the Republican Massachusetts governor to choose a replacement, contrary to Warren’s current goal of gaining a Democratic majority in the Senate, according to Annie Linskey’s Boston Globe article, “Elizabeth Warren focuses on Democrats’ effort to retake Senate.”

Unlike Warren, Franken could be plucked from the Senate without Democrats losing a seat since the Minnesota governor is Democratic, Taylor Wofford said in Newsweek’s, “Who will be Hillary Clinton’s Running Mate?”

I believe Franken’s quick wit and smooth humor may sweeten the less of the two historically unpopular nominees.

In March, the Clinton campaign even uploaded a video of Franken reading mean tweets similar to the reoccurring segment on Jimmy Kimmel Live! that sounded like what could have been an announcement video.

As is the case for all presidential candidates, the person sharing the ticket can either improve or sink chances. Clinton essentially needs an unanticipated attack dog with charisma, that can hold their own against Trump, and can send swaths of the young electorate flocking to the polls. I believe the person who can best wear that hat is Al Franken.

Contributing writer for the Collegian. I’m a senior studying journalism and mass communications and working on minors in political science and music. I also manage digital operations as a communications fellow with the Kansas Democratic Party; I do not report on or write about anything political unless it shows up in the opinion section.