Standing before the largest crowd her ascending presidential campaign has produced thus far at Washington Square Park in New York on Monday, Elizabeth Warren directly challenged the main argument made against her candidacy.
“There’s a lot at stake in this election, and I know people are scared,” Warren declared. “But we can’t choose a candidate we don’t believe in just because we’re too scared to do anything else. And Democrats can’t win if we’re scared and looking backward.”
When asked if she was referring to Joe Biden directly in an interview with Rachel Maddow on Tuesday, Warren answered: “No. It’s talking about whether we’re going to turn backwards and just say, the only problem is Trump. If we get rid of Trump, everything is going to be just fine.”
It’s hard to believe she wasn’t thinking of Biden when she said that given Biden’s entire shtick is that he wants to restore American to a version that only ever truly existed for people like him. To her credit, though, her main competition for the Democratic presidential nomination is not the only Democrat who speaks of Donald Trump as if he is an aberration rather than a more fitting characterization: the byproduct of 50-plus years of the Republican Party exploiting racism to win elections, and with that power, making the rich even richer as they tighten white male patriarchy’s grip on political power.
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That’s likely why Warren dodged Maddow’s attempts to make the matter more about her versus him and instead turn to her usual stump speech about the greed of corporations and the need for countering measures like her proposed wealth tax that might give way to real economic parity in America. And it is why she used her campaign rally in New York to outline the purpose of her campaign in no uncertain terms: to end corruption that has festered in government and society at large for far too long.
Speaking before the site of the Triangle shirtwaist factory fire of 1911, which killed 146 garment workers, most of whom were women and immigrants, Warren told attendees:“We’re not here today because of famous arches or famous men. In fact, we’re not here because of men at all. We’re here because of some hard-working women.”
Akin to Bernie Sanders’ calls for a “political revolution,” Elizabeth Warren isn’t pushing just a presidential bid, but a movement in support of her larger goals to reimagine American government and its citizens with “big structural change.”
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It’s evident in her invocation of suffragist Frances Perkins, who witnessed the fire at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory and went on to lobby state government officials to boost worker wages and provide safer working conditions. On Perkins, who would go on to serve as Franklin Roosevelt’s labor secretary, Warren notes that she “had a plan” that included “Frances working the system from the inside, the women workers organizing and applying pressure from the outside, they rewrote New York state’s labor laws from top to bottom to protect workers.”
Still, while she may not to single out Joe Biden, I volunteer on her behalf.
“Electability” is nothing more than a turn of phrase employed by political pundits and operatives who want to convey their inherent biases without articulating them in ways that might get them cussed smooth out. It’s men like Steven Rattner and Donny Deutsch who go on television and argue she’s “too extreme” or not “strong enough” to defeat Trump. What they don’t tell you is that they’re both rich and don’t want to be taxed — or in some cases, too sexist and too lazy to evolve, thus they don’t want this smart lady and all her plans to make them pay their fair share.
It’s men like New York Times columnist David Leonhardt who publish essays like “Elizabeth Warren’s Working-Class Problem” where they argue that Warren’s campaign doesn’t appeal to working class white people. As if they are the only working class people. As if they are the only voting bloc that matters. There is no focus from Leonhardt on the working class people in the Midwest who are far more responsible for Democratic presidential victories than the post-Home Improvement Tim Allen demo is.
It’s women, too. Women like Amy Klobucher, who just this week said in Detroit: “My view of this is that we got a lot of great people running, but some of these ideas are better left in the college faculty lounge than right here at this port. I’m a common sense person that’s always governed by that.”
Klobucher is a woman who didn’t deny eating salad with a comb or a binder at a staff member, but even worse, only a week ago at the third presidential debate and continues to fail to give an adequate response to her time as a prosecutor that included explicitly targeting low-level, nonviolent offenders but not so much select law enforcement who just so happen to treat “the Blacks” awfully rougher by comparison to other groups. And like Leonhardt, she tends to share the penchant for forgetting Black people work and live in the Midwest, too.
These are the kind of people who either promote Joe Biden or want to fill a similar pointless role. These are not people who are going to inspire the masses to vote in the numbers necessary to not only defeat Donald Trump, but expand their majority in the House and reclaim the majority in the Senate. And even if Joe Biden tripped his way into the White House, it would be very much like the 2018 midterms in that Democrats didn’t win over votes as much as a frustration with Trump overpowers a lack of inspiring vision from his opposition party.
And look at how well that’s gone. In Trump, you have the most corrupt and incompetent president in American history. A racist idiot suffering from narcissism and laziness resulting in him sucking the air of the news cycle every chance he gets. Not only is horrible, he has the nerve to be boastful about it.
Trump literally dangles corruption in our faces, but although Democrats promised to hold him accountable if given the House of Representatives, look at their mess surrounding impeachment. Pelosi is not leading with purpose or courage — it’s no wonder that Pelosi is reportedly considered an asset by Trump and co. in his fight to stave off impeachment tells the true tale of her cowardice.
People have been marching in the streets against Trump, against the end of healthcare, against Brett Kavanaugh, and other progressive outlets while these moderate Democrats try to break them with their complacency. The same people who champion Pelosi and those of her ilk are the same folks now telling us Joe Biden is the one in spite of increasing signs to the contrary. Some of them are even the same people who claimed Trump wouldn’t be so bad.
It is a problem that Joe Biden trips over his words and goofs up stories. It is a problem for Biden that Warren and Bernie Sanders draw bigger crowds. It is a problem that Warren has higher voter enthusiasm than Biden. It is a problem that Joe Biden appears before wealthy donors and say things like “we may not want to demonize anyone who’s made money” and insinuating his tax plans won’t be so bad for them given “nobody has to be punished. No one’s standard of living would change.”
Biden’s selling point is that he can get those white working class voters back, but if he can’t answer a simple question about systematic oppression against Black people without spewing white paternalistic drivel on our faces, good luck booking that winning coalition they speak of.
It remains to be seen whether or not Elizabeth Warren will win the nomination, but those who diminish the broader appeal of her message under the pretense of “electability” are slaves to an unimaginative mentality best described as punk shit. Incremental change is implausible as evident by the fact that Republicans will depict any Democratic proposal as extreme regardless as to whether or not it is. Everyone should know this by now. Still, when I think about a winning message, I find it dubious how a campaign themed around ending corruption while expanding access to healthcare and education is considered a less appealing message than Joe Biden pretending there are good Republicans left who can’t wait to join him in restoring the “good old days” that never existed for my kind.
Nevertheless, it is a binary choice: dare to dream of a better, fairer future and work towards it, or run into the arms of an old white man who just wants to go back to the days before Trump without addressing the factors that produced him and will pave the way for another in due time.
I already knew what choice made more sense to me, but after watching Elizabeth Warren this week, I’m even more convinced of which take on what’s electable is far more electric.