By: Majority 60 Editorial Board
Majority 60 is proud to endorse Senator Elizabeth Warren to be the Democratic Party nominee for President of the United States.
Senator Elizabeth Warren is a Midwesterner from Massachusetts. She’s a policy wonk and a political street fighter. She has the empathy needed to connect with voters everywhere but the strength and tenacity to throw a political punch that will knock a bully like Donald Trump on his ass. Warren is an outsider to politics. She grew up around Republicans in Oklahoma, got an Ivy League education, studied bankruptcy law which gave her a unique perspective on capitalism–perhaps developing what could be called compassionate capitalism. She developed the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau for President Obama to prevent a repeat of the 2008 financial collapse and finally after 40 years in the private sector, at the age of 63 she ran for and won a seat in the US Senate. It’s hard to call someone who won her first race at 63 a “product of Washington.” And as she enjoys saying, she will be the youngest woman ever elected President of the United States.
As an insider, Warren has risen through the Democratic ranks on her own charisma and reputation as a fighter for “the little guy.” Seeing the division growing between the center-left and the far left, Warren kept her powder dry and her endorsement to herself in 2016 until it was clear that the nomination would be won by Hillary Clinton. Unlike Senator Sanders, Warren has refrained from attacking the Democratic Party. Instead, she embraced it and worked to change it from within. Yes, she has a plan for that. But in her role as a US Senator she knows that her plans are proposals and Congress will need to pass legislation and she has committed to signing any legislation that will help.
Warren was a free-market Republican for a large portion of her adult life, hardly a radical leftist, but has been Democrat for 30 years. Her efforts as a private citizen and academic gave her a focus on education and the importance of childhood development and a desire to protect our children from the scourge of gun violence. Her advisory role in the Obama administration led her to create the Consumer Protection Bureau to stand up for consumers and save and protect capitalism from itself. Her time in the US Senate has clearly been defined by her leadership in holding big corporate interests accountable.
Also as a US Senator, Warren serves on the Armed Services Committee. She has been exposed to the inner workings of the military and their budgetary concerns. She has visited hot spots from Iraq and Afghanistan and the North Korean Demilitarized Zone to learn and work with the military to meet their needs. She’s demonstrated her ability to know how to tell an ally from an adversary which is something that Donald Trump has been unable to do in three years with the benefit of being on the job.
Senator Warren can be portrayed as a simple politician or challenged by her struggles to describe her origin story in a clear and consistent way. But she is not a lifetime politician and not everyone is going to tell their life story with caveats in every sitting. The last two election cycles have proven that slick political machines are not always looked upon favorably by the voting public. Voters need to believe a candidate is shooting straight with them and has their backs. Warren has proven time and time again that she is a fighter for the middle class and the people aspiring to be in the middle class. She can be portrayed as being anti-wealth, but what she actually is pro-accountability. And with a current regime filled to overflowing with corruption and incompetence, Warren’s willingness to roll up her sleeves, her humility to change her mind and her happy warrior ability to get in the fight make her the perfect antidote to Trumpism and she will have our vote in the Democratic primary. I hope you will join us in making Elizabeth Warren the next President of the United States.
The Democratic Field
Vice President Joe Biden is a capable politician and his foreign policy experience, compassion and strength would make him a good president. However, his lifetime of service, and reputation for being of strong character will (continue to) be attacked mercilessly for his son’s and his campaign’s inability to explain his work as a board member for a Ukrainian energy firm with a checkered past. Biden may very well become the nominee and he could still defeat an illegitimate regime that behaves like a “disorganized” crime family but without a good explanation (perhaps Burisma was trying to reform and repair their reputation after their corruption was exposed and they thought having someone named Biden on their board would lend credibility to their efforts and could reasonably have thought that the Obama administration might look favorably on that) the ads write themselves and the press has proven that they are incapable of avoiding blanket coverage of fake scandals, one need look no further than the Clinton email situation.
Senator Bernie Sanders is a lifelong politician and the quintessential Washington insider yet perpetually running as an outsider. He rose to national prominence in 2016 as the surprise dark horse alternative to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primary. He sparked a genuine political movement for progressive change. However, even as he tries a second time to takeover the Democratic Party, he continues to call himself an Independent. But since his failed race in 2016, Sanders has softened some of his attacks on the Democratic Party and made a real effort to add depth to his policy proposals. But he has made little to no effort to demonstrate how he would work with Congress to implement his “revolutionary” policies.
Sanders is also unique in his ability to divide those left of center and those closer to the far left. Whether it’s his campaign attacking Biden or Warren or more recently one of his primary surrogates leading a crowd to boo Hillary Clinton. Bernie and his opponents are impulsive and reactionary and it will take patience and restraint to reform the entire government to reflect Sanders’s vision. (Note, in her capacity as a private citizen, Hillary Clinton took a public shot at Sanders in a new documentary and it’s natural for his supporters to want to defend him. It wasn’t a helpful comment.)
Senator Amy Klobuchar is qualified and capable. She has proven herself as a campaigner in her home state of Minnesota, winning in blue, red and purple districts to win her state. On the other hand, she has failed to manage the national press following reporting that seemed designed to derail her campaign. The story, which was one-sided, characterized her as a temperamental and allegedly abusive boss. It would be difficult to find a similar story about a male candidate doing much harm to his chances of winning a nomination. Her personal style and folksy sense of humor seems to result in her being better in front of smaller crowds and when people leave her events they leave convinced she can win. It can be a successful strategy to win a statewide race but this is a big country and it will be hard to reach the necessary amount of voters to carry her to the nomination and frankly it is difficult to see her leading the street fight of an election that 2020 promises to be.
Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Andrew Yang have been treated quite differently by the American press but when it comes to high elected office their experience and their lack of are comparable. Yang has built an entrepreneurial empire, including a business designed to empower entrepreneurship in the Midwest. He has inspired audiences and shaped the debate around the threat of widespread automation to American jobs and the benefits to instituting UBI-Universal Basic Income. He brings a fresh perspective and as a complete outsider, he is beholden to no one. That said, in a Washington post-Trump, the new president will need a vast network of allies to move legislation and to simply advise someone completely new to public service. Donald Trump is a terrifying example of the damage puppeteers can do with an inexperienced vessel.
Mayor Pete Buttigieg also has an experience deficit. As the mayor of small town USA and the potential to be the first openly gay president, he has ignited the donor class of the Democratic Party. He’s a veteran who knows the value of service, is well educated, and a capable debater. But in a diverse party, Buttigieg’s support is almost entirely white. There is also an electability issue. Buttigieg did win his small town mayorship (South Bend, IN population 102,000), in “Mike Pence’s Indiana,” as he likes to say, but in his only statewide race he lost badly. The lesson might be found in the experience he did have: he ran, prematurely, for statewide election and lost. He very quickly rebounded. Pete ran for mayor and won, and easily won reelection. We would support Pete wholeheartedly in a governors’ race and having build some national name recognition, he would be a formidable candidate in the near future with a serious resume.
That brings us to the billionaires. Together Tom Steyer and former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg have dumped nearly $150 million into advertising and staffing. Both billionaires have pledged to different degrees to keep their money on the field should they fail to win the nomination. Steyer was a successful businessman who grew a conscience, left the corporate life and dove into philanthropy. He led an AstroTurf campaign to convince Congress to impeach Donald Trump. It’s difficult to measure the success of the campaign since the reason for the eventual impeachment came long after the Steyer campaign started but he can claim credit for putting on the public’s mind.
Mayor Bloomberg was a Democrat, a Republican, an Independent and now back to being a Democrat. His inability to pick a party and stick with it aside, being the mayor of New York City, a city with a population greater than the entire state of Indiana, allows Bloomberg more credibly to claim executive experience than the other mayor in the race. But with that advantage comes a long record scrutinize and many within the Democratic Party take issue with his record on policing. Bloomberg does have a solid foundation to build on with a network of mayors across the country and his philanthropic work as well as his campaign to encourage sensible gun laws. And his decision to run on his own money can be looked at two ways: sure it can be viewed as an attempt to “buy an election” but it can also be a demonstration of Bloomberg’s imperiousness to corporate influence. He’d be an interesting foil to Donald Trump.
The Democrats offered a deep bench for this 2020 season, including several memorable “also-rans” that aren’t discussed here. The challenge the eventual nominee will face is vast: a nationwide Republican Party effort to suppress likely Democratic votes through voter purges and Voter ID Laws that disproportionately disadvantage the African American base of the party as well as the Latino community and those attending college. They will face a Russian propaganda machine as well possible efforts from any other foreign power who sees Trump’s corruptibility as an asset. And of course paperless ballot machines. The nominee will also face the challenge of uniting a divided left which, now has several factions, some include disaffected Republicans (this group should not be overvalued but it is worth noting that the 2016 election came down to less than 1% in 3 states. So it shouldn’t be written off either.) We believe that the best candidate to be able to do all of that is Senator Elizabeth Warren and we urge voters in the early primary states to look past her campaigns early political stumbles. Her knowledge of policy, her critical thinking ability, her empathy and her strength make her uniquely qualified to re-calibrate the American government. And beyond that, she can win a political street fight.