Why drafting Elizabeth Warren is a plus

Story highlights

  • Van Jones: A Warren candidacy would be good for democracy -- and Democrats
  • He says the party needs a contested primary, debates and a full airing of ideas

Van Jones is president of the Dream Corps/Rebuild The Dream, which promote innovative solutions for America's economy. He was President Barack Obama's green jobs advisor in 2009. A bestselling author, Van is also founder of Green for All, a national organization working to build a green economy. Follow him on Twitter @VanJones68. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely his.

(CNN)In recent weeks, hundreds of thousands of Americans have joined a growing chorus urging Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren to run for president.

I am not endorsing her as a candidate, at this point. But I am excited about the movement that is pushing her candidacy, unlike a whole bunch of Beltway types who have lined up to say how silly the whole notion is.
Warren will not run, they cry -- though a draft movement has convinced her before. And even if she did, she would not win -- though no one gave President Obama a chance, either.
    Still, even if all of the naysayers are somehow on to something, the folks supporting "Run Warren Run" -- MoveOn.org, Democracy for America, and the Working Families Party -- and "Ready for Warren" have it right. Here is why:

    It elevates Elizabeth Warren's issues

    Even Democrats who support other candidates acknowledge that big banks and other special interests have rigged the game in Washington. Our whole party understands that inequality is worse than it has been since the 1920s, and we need to build an economy where everyone has a fighting chance.
    In fact, it is not just Democratic voters who are emboldened by Warren's fight for working families; her ideas ring true in red states and blue states, in rural parts of America and in big cities like Boston and Chicago.
    "I came out of a hardworking, middle-class family," Warren often says, in some variation. "I came from an America that created opportunities for people like me, and I now see an America where the government works for people who already have money and power." It is, in her own words, "time to remind politicians that they don't work for the big banks -- they work for us."
    That is a voice that would add real value to any party's primary, but especially a party that purports to stand up for working people.

    Debates are good for everyone

    Contested primaries feature robust discussions on the most pressing issues facing our nation -- and the best ideas for making America stronger. Now, more than ever, we need those discussions.
    Many Democrats are voting with Wall Street, while Republicans shout about flat wages. Our country and the Democratic Party deserve a real debate over what we stand for.
    And there is a great place to have these debates: in states like Iowa and New Hampshire, where voters are ready to ask candidates tough questions and hear their platforms.

    A primary would strengthen the nominee

    In the absence of a competitive primary, some have even sp