Last night, supporters chanting Dream big, fight hard! packed Seattle Center’s Armory and Fisher Pavilion to hear from Senator Elizabeth Warren.
To loud cheers, the senior United States Senator from Massachusetts and 2020 Democratic presidential hopeful took the stage to discuss the “big, structural change” she believes is needed in all aspects of our government.
According to the campaign, seven thousand people turned out for Saturday’s Seattle Center rally — a nicely sized crowd for a campaign that is looking to generate momentum in the wake of the Nevada Democratic caucuses.
Though Warren did not finish first or second in any of the three states that have held nominating events thus far, Warren’s campaign continues to believe she is a viable candidate for the nomination, especially after her strong performance in the Las Vegas debate, where she demolished Michael Bloomberg.
At the same time Warren was preparing to take the stage in Seattle, her campaign manager Roger Lau was tweeting about the state of the race, arguing that the most recent debate in Nevada “shook this election up.”
“We believe the Nevada debate will have more impact on the structure of the race than the Nevada result,” Lau tweeted. “Since a huge percentage of the votes were cast before the debate — likely well more than half — tonight’s results are a lagging indicator of the current state of the race.”
Lau finished his Twitter thread by saying that “[Bernie] Sanders had a good result in Nevada. It doesn’t change the state of the race.”
Sanders also sits in first place in many national polls, although a new poll just released today shows that Warren has climbed into second place… a very positive indicator ahead of Super Tuesday and the South Carolina Democratic primary.
With respect to delegates, Sanders also has the edge, with an estimated thirty-two pledged national convention delegates won so far. At last night’s rally, Warren made it a point to congratulate Sanders right off the bat on his win in the Nevada Democratic caucuses. She also made sure to highlight some of their differences, notably pointing out they have different views on abolishing the filibuster.
“Bernie says he won’t end the filibuster. I say Mitch McConnell is not going to get a veto any longer. If we keep the filibuster, everything we need to get done has to pass a sixty-vote threshold, which gives the veto power to McConnell, to the gun industry, to the oil industry, and to billionaires.”
Warren offered plenty of insight into how she would govern as the nation’s chief executive through her answers to questions asked by rallygoers.
When asked about advice for young women fighting sexism in high school and college communities, she began by declaring: “To persist!”
Warren then went on to describe the sexism she’s experienced in her presidential campaign, saying that there was never an answer everyone could agree on when she was asked if she felt she had experienced sexism.
“Start by acknowledging it,” she said.
“That will strengthen your heart. You know your worth and what you’re fight for is important. Stand up […] and promise me you will persist.”
Warren was then asked about the Trump regime’s hostility towards immigrants and how she would combat this kind of intolerance should she win.
She explained her belief that immigration makes our country stronger. A reality of humanity is that people move, after all. It’s what we do. And not having a set of papers does not make anyone any less human than someone with papers.
She then described policy directions that she would prioritize, including the need to expand legal immigration and create a pathway to citizenship not just for DREAMers (who President Obama sought to help with DACA) but also for the eleven million people “who are here and who are our friends and neighbors.”
She stridently warned against Trump’s strategy of division, cautioning: “If we’re spending our time fighting each other, no one will notice he and his corrupt family and cronies are stealing the wealth and dignity of this country.”
“Leadership starts in the White House and what I will do from the White House is lead an America that values every single human being. I will lead the fight for immigration laws in this country. I will also lead by example. I will have an administration that looks like the rest of America.”
This last statement served as an elegant transition to the next audience question, concerning what qualities she would look for in a running mate. Warren observed that it would presumptuous to name names at this juncture, but she offered insight into what her administration would look like.
“I want a Vice President who is going to be there, shoulder to shoulder with me. Someone who believes and someone who is willing to fight.”
She elaborated and extended her answer to that question to emphasize that she has been thinking about essential attributes for her cabinet nominees, too.
For instance, she said, her nominee for Secretary of Education will have been a public school teacher and someone who believes in public schools. Her nominee will be opposed to vouchers, charter schools, and wasteful high stakes testing, she added, declaring that it’s time to “throw high stakes tests into the waste basket.”
Offering another example, she said her nominee for Environmental Protection Agency Administrator (a Cabinet level position) will be someone who believes in science. Presumably it’ll also be someone who believes we have a moral obligation to act swiftly to address the rapidly worsening threat of climate damage.
And as for the position of Secretary of Defense, she promised that she would nominate someone who (unlike current Trump minion Mark Esper) “has not spent the last seven years as a lobbyist for one of the biggest defense contractors.”
She added that it was time to cut our defense budget.
“One more,” she said after a short pause, chuckling: “I could do this all night long… I will have an Attorney General who follows the rule of law.”
A question on climate justice prompted Warren to remind everyone that she is running first and foremost on an anti-corruption platform.
“Climate change threatens every living thing on this planet,” she said. “We have to understand the urgency of the moment, and we have to start moving on the climate front and move a lot of directions at once.”
To implement such wide sweeping structural change, Warren said her first order of business as president would be to push through an anti-corruption plan “to undercut the influence of money on our government.”
The plan envisions ending lobbying “as we know it” and closing the “revolving door between Washington, D.C. and Wall Street.” Warren wants to ensure that anyone running for federal office would be required to provide their tax returns.
“If we want to fight the existential threat of climate change, we need to fight corruption and end the [Senate] filibuster,” she said.
To directly address climate damage, Warren favors a Green New Deal, a concept popularized by Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York.
The Green New Deal is a set of emerging ideas for aggressively combating pollution and income inequality. It gets its name from Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal, the Democratic response to the Great Depression of the 1920s and 1930s.
Warren also said a Green New Deal was not enough, and that she would also implement a Blue New Deal to protect our oceans and waterways.
The provisions of the Blue New Deal are intended to “restore our oceans and harness the potential of the blue economy.” Some key components include expanding offshore renewable energy, investing in regenerative ocean farming, building climate-smart ports and expanding marine protection areas.
“Here’s the good news,” she said. “There is an estimated $24 trillion in the world market for green energy and getting carbon [dioxide] out of the air and water. But much of what is needed hasn’t been invented.”
She promised to make a big investment in basic science and applied science with one caveat: that technology built through these investments be built in the United States. “Green jobs can be our union jobs,” she said.
Climate friendly policies also need to advance the cause of equity, Warren said, observing that there is a disproportionate amount of pollution near tribal and minority communities that doesn’t just affect economy of an area, but also the health of its community members. She said as President, she would commit $1 trillion to clean up “the messes we have made in minority communities.”
“This is a fight we must have,” she stressed. “We’ve known about climate change now for decades. So why didn’t we make change? The answer is corruption in Washington, D.C. And I’ve got a plan for that.”
Asked about overcoming the difficulty of uniting the country in polarized times, Warren pointed out that her own family is divided. Warren mentioned that she has three brothers, only one of whom is a fellow Democrat.
“We can always do our Democratic and Republican talking points. We know exactly what they are,” she said. “But let’s start asking different questions.”
For example, Warren said, we could ask why corporations like Amazon and Halliburton have been allowed to avoid paying any federal taxes. As the crowd booed, Warren observed that her Republican brothers felt the same. “They agree that rich people and giant corporations out to be paying their taxes too.”
Warren reminded supporters that a majority of Republican voters support her 2‑cent wealth tax, a proposal that calls for levying a modest tax on fortunes of more than $50 million. Warren argues the tax could generate nearly $4 trillion to help America’s middle income households, including by canceling student loan debt for forty-three million Americas. Warren believes this would alleviate crippling debt and increase spending that would in turn, bolster everyone’s economic security.
Warren also vowed to expand, rather than cut, Social Security.
“After a lifetime of hard work, people are entitled to retire with dignity,” she continued. “And that means protecting Social Security.”
The Senator has a plan to increase Social Security payments and disability by $200/month by simply increasing taxes on the top 2% of Americans. “Both Democrats and Republicans would be helped by that,” she said.
“The issue of corruption isn’t just a Democratic issue. If we run on anti-corruption, we start pulling people together. If we get it passed, it works for everyone.”
Warren ended her Seattle appearance by providing an opportunity for her supporters to get a keepsake photo with her. Her campaign says she has taken more than 100,000 pictures with supporters during her presidential run.