In this weekly series I focus on one potential Democratic candidate and analyze whether they would be a good candidate to face Trump.
On Dec. 31, Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts announced the formation of an exploratory committee. She was the first major Democratic candidate to officially put her name in the running for the likely crowded 2020 field. While not every candidate that creates an exploratory committee ends up running for President, it’s very likely that Warren will formally announce her candidacy soon.
Warren kicked off her first campaign stop in over the weekend. While visiting voters in Des Moines, she emphasized her middle-class roots in Oklahoma. She described her family’s economic struggles and that when she was a kid, a livable minimum wage is what helped keep her family afloat. Today, Warren is a strong advocate for a $15 an hour minimum wage.
Other issues covered on her Iowa stop included income and wealth inequality, climate change, social security, racial discrimination, and campaign finance reform, among others.
Before being elected to office, Warren made a name for herself as a staunch consumer advocate. As a professor at Harvard, she came up with the idea for a new consumer protection agency. Her proposal was adopted by President Obama, and in 2011, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau was formed, with Warren as a top advisor.
Tasked with regulating banks, mortgage companies, and other financial institutions, Obama described the bureau as “a watchdog for the American consumer.”
Warren is also a strong advocate for environmental protection, often discussing the disastrous effects of climate change.
In September 2018, she proposed the , which would require public companies to disclose their greenhouse gas emissions, the total amount of fossil fuel related assets that it owns or manages, how they would be impacted by climate change related legislation, and how they would be affected if climate change continues at its current pace.
Along with her long history of being a consumer advocate, another policy position sets her apart from other potential Democratic nominees. She supports Medicare-for-all. In the 2008 book, Health at Risk, Warren wrote, “we approach the health care debates from a single perspective: maintaining the financial stability of families confronting illness or injury. The most obvious solution would be universal single-payer health care.” In September 2017, she said she would support Sen. Bernie Sanders’ plan for a single-payer healthcare system.
Other policy positions of the two-term senator include overturning Citizens United, protecting a woman’s right to choose, making colleges tuition free, legalizing marijuana, and enacting criminal justice reform.
A problem Warren might face on the road to the White House is a potential Bernie Sanders bid. If Sanders enters the race, the two will likely be pulling voters from the same pool of progressive Democrats during the primaries; both are seen as champions of the progressive cause. If neither candidate can appeal to a wider audience of the Democratic Party, a split progressive vote might cripple both campaigns.
Despite this challenge, Warren has strong policy positions that are popular among Americans, including Medicare-for-all, and campaign finance reform. She is strongly supported by progressive organizations including Our Revolution, and in a time when Americans are looking for positive change, Warren has what it takes to deliver this change.
In a match-up against Trump, Warren would have a clear advantage. As a strong consumer advocate, Warren is tough on Wall Street. For this reason, the wealthy that currently control our government want nothing to do with her. Not influenced by large donors, Warren is a fighter for everyday Americans, not just the economic elites. As an uncorrupted politician, Warren is the perfect choice to take on the toxic Trump administration.