Wednesday, April 17, 2019

2020 Challenger Lineup: Elizabeth Warren

What with the novocaine from my dentist appointment on Monday, I totally forgot about the weekly Democratic presidential candidate outline. And today's candidate is Elizabeth Warren!

Elizabeth Warren rose to fame after she took on the banks following the Great Recession and the bank bailouts that might have helped the economy from completely tanking but also sent the message that big banks can get away with anything if they're big enough. She became something of a progressive hero as she continued to go after Wall Street and demand regulations on the people responsible for the bubble bursts that led straight to the recession.

There were some people hoping that Warren would run in 2016, but she declined, probably not wanting to get in the way of Hillary Clinton. I don't blame her for that. Now that she is running, enthusiasm for her seems to have waned a bit.

I was concerned about the rumors she had ended up taking corporate money. However, I have been unable to verify this. The only people reporting on it are right-wing rags like the Daily Caller and some websites no one has ever heard of but that seem mostly dedicated to (still) attacking Hillary Clinton (seriously get over it, she lost and has mostly disappeared, what is your deal).

According to OpenSecrets.org, which all the "sources" claiming she took corporate money end up back at, her top donors for 2018 include AT&T and Morgan Stanley. HOWEVER, if you look at total vs. individuals columns, you'll notice that all donation from these companies come from individuals. This suggests that, like with other Democrat candidates, these donations actually come from employees of these companies rather than the companies themselves.

Now, I don't personally know whether "individuals" or "employees" in a company can include high-up executives or even CEOs, which would still suggest to me that she is beholden to these corporations. And I don't really know how to find out. If anyone knows please comment with the answer.

As for her policy positions, she is definitely very progressive and her actions and voting record have reflected that. She's still working within capitalism but it's too much to ask for an anti-capitalist candidate at this time. Her ultra-millionaire tax is good, though it could tax more. She is still for having a "strong military" because something something terrorists, but wants to cut the defense budget and even calls out military contractors (a key part of the military industrial complex), which is something I've never seen before in a presidential candidate.

Warren's Native American thing was uhhhh suspect at least? Though I've seen opinions from actual Native Americans that are varied, from "it's good that she got the DNA test" to "who cares" to "she's hurting Native Americans." She did issue an apology, which seemed like a good one to me, but I'm white so my judgment on this issue is limited. Otherwise, she is pro-reparations, including for Native Americans, which is great, and seems pretty good on racial justice. She has called for the abolition of ICE.

I would list all of her major policy positions but it's quicker to just say that if you can think of an issue, she's on the right side of it, by which I mean to the left. She's great on abortion, women's rights, LGBTQ+ issues, environment and climate change, healthcare, and so on. She was for Medicare For All before it was cool and she has nothing but praise for the young diverse congresswomen making noise right now. My only concern is that she seems to have a worrying history of pandering to Israel and met with Netanyahu, though she has urged them to stop bombing Palestine and was against the anti-BDS bill.

I personally had no problem with that one video of her drinking a beer in her kitchen and think that people were pretty ridiculous about it.

Overall, Warren is a proponent of major reforms. She may be as good as it gets when it comes to reformists. I'd prefer revolution, meaning tearing it all down and starting again from the beginning, but no serious presidential candidate is going to be in favor of that. She's had some hiccups along the way and she's not above suspicion in some respects, but she may be about as good as it gets. She's also been a victim of the misogynistic "is she likable?" bullshit that only ever applies to female candidates, and that makes me want to vote for her and champion her all the more.

If you don't want to support Bernie Sanders but want to support a real progressive, I'm pretty sure that Elizabeth Warren is your best choice. I give her an A-, keeping in mind that I'm a tough grader. I'd be fine with ditching Bernie for Liz if that's how it has to be.

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