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Galindez writes: "There is a larger campaign for Elizabeth Warren on the ground in Iowa and New Hampshire than there is for any other prospective candidate."

Elizabeth Warren. (photo: Joshua Roberts/Getty Images)
Elizabeth Warren. (photo: Joshua Roberts/Getty Images)

Will Elizabeth Warren Change Her Mind?

By Scott Galindez, Reader Supported News

13 March 15


keep wrestling with this question. Before Elizabeth Warren’s interview in January in Forbes Magazine, I thought the odds she would run were 50/50. While she kept saying she was not running for president, she stopped short of saying she wouldn’t. It was clear to me that she knew what reporters were trying to get her to say, but she refused. She has also been acting like a candidate for president, as she did when she joined Joe Biden, Jim Webb, Bernie Sanders, and Martin O’Malley at the International Association of Firefighters Legislative Conference & Presidential Forum on Monday, March 9th.

It is true, she has not done the traditional things a presidential candidate would have done by now. She has not formed a presidential exploratory committee she could use to start raising funds. She has not hired any staff yet. But does she have to? In 2015 the game has changed.

There is a larger campaign for her on the ground in Iowa and New Hampshire than there is for any other prospective candidate. In Iowa there is a staff of 8 that includes a state director, four regional field directors, and three campus organizers. There are two offices in Iowa, one in Cedar Rapids and one in Des Moines. The state field director, Blair Lawton, was a regional field director in Iowa for Obama in 2012. There is staff on the three major university campuses, Drake University, University of Iowa, and Iowa State. They are holding visibility events (even in zero-degree weather) and what they are calling “emergency caucus meetings.” Phone banking and outreach to past caucus-goers is under way.

In New Hampshire, the state director and veteran organizer Kurt Ehrenberg was most recently legislative and political director for the New Hampshire AFL-CIO, and previously served for seven years as the Sierra Club’s representative in New Hampshire and the other New England states.

Most prospective candidates are polling in single digits. Warren, despite saying she isn’t running, is polling at 19%. That is a strong number. Obama had already declared by this time in 2007 and had surged to 25% in the polls. Warren has not declared and is already close to 25%.

Nate Cohn of The New York Times wrote a thoughtful piece March 10th arguing that Warren could not build the kind of coalition that Obama built. He argued that she would not get beyond the traditional liberal/progressive base that supported past candidates that fell short.

I think he is dead wrong. None of the candidates he mentioned – Bill Bradley, Gary Heart, Paul Tsongas, or Jerry Brown – had the populist message of Elizabeth Warren. Only Brown had any outsider appeal.

Cohn said there is no hot-button issue like the war in Iraq for Warren to capitalize on. I believe there are issues that Warren champions that a candidate who people believe is genuine can ride to victory.

Income Inequality

Even the Republicans are talking about income inequality in their speeches. Their solution is the same old entitlement reform, meaning Social Security, Medicare, Welfare, and every other social program being cut. Elizabeth Warren has credibility on this issue. She has been talking about how the system is rigged for the wealthy since she emerged on the political scene. She is ready to fight, and only one other candidate has the credibility on the issue that she has: Bernie Sanders, who despite actively campaigning can’t get out of single digits in the polls. I always hear the same thing when talking to progressives here in Iowa, including “Run Warren Run” supporters: “Bernie is great but most people are not going to vote for a Socialist.” If Warren doesn’t run and Bernie does, he will do a fantastic job of raising the issues, and I would love to see a groundswell of support. Sanders may even be better than Warren on some issues, but Warren has struck a nerve with the American people that Bernie hasn’t.

Student Loan Debt

Elizabeth Warren: “Rising student-loan debt is an economic emergency. Forty million people are dealing with $1.2 trillion in outstanding student debt. It’s stopping young people from buying homes, from buying cars and from starting small businesses. We need to take action.”

In my opinion she has to go further than she has so far on this issue. I understand that she is trying to take action in the Senate that is achievable and knows the votes are not there for free college education for all. Her leadership on the issue has not gone unnoticed, and despite her age, I think young people would return to the polls for a Warren candidacy. She has fought to lower interest rates, to allow the current debt to be refinanced at lower interest rates. I would think that a candidate Warren would have bolder proposals and, because she has already fought so hard, would have credibility on the issue.

Bank Reform

Elizabeth Warren: “Today, if a Wall Street bank goes out and makes the wildest bet on earth, it will keep the profits if the bet pays off and you and I and millions of other American taxpayers could be on the hook if the bet falls short. But if a family gets into trouble, if a family loses a job, if they’ve been tricked into some crazy payment scheme or if someone in the household has gotten sick, the answer is that you are on your own. The same is true for small businesses – you are on your own. Those are the rules we’re operating under, and those rules are wrong.”

This is her appeal. She articulates better than any other politician what so many people in America are feeling. When Elizabeth Warren talks about injustice people believe her. When Jeb Bush talks about it people are skeptical.


There is a huge opening here for any candidate who is not Clinton. All of the Republicans are free-traders, and so is Hillary. Labor has got to be searching for a way to find someone who can win the White House who is not for more trade deals that will ship jobs overseas. O’Malley, Webb, and Sanders will try to fill this void, but would labor be wise to back a candidate who hasn’t shown that they have what it takes to win? The TPP will likely be signed by President Obama before he leaves office. If it isn’t, Hillary or any Republican would likely sign it. In a conference call with reporters on Wednesday, Elizabeth Warren blasted a provision in the deal called the investor-state dispute settlement mechanism, an independent, international court with the power to force the U.S. government and American corporations to abide by its rulings. “The name may sound a little wonky, but this is a powerful provision that would fundamentally tilt the playing field further in favor of multinational corporations. Worse yet, it would undermine U.S. sovereignty,” said Warren. On the same day, the AFL-CIO announced plans to freeze political contributions to Democratic lawmakers who support fast-track trade authority for Obama. Hillary Clinton supports the trade deal.

Nate Cohn is right: Elizabeth Warren can’t build Obama’s coalition, but she can build a different coalition, a coalition that is fed up with the rigged system. She won’t need 80% of the African American vote to win the nomination. There are plenty of white voters who are fed up with the different rules for those at the top.

Hillary Clinton leads the polls and is the favorite to become the next president of the United States. There is no doubt she would make a better president than anyone in the GOP field. Not being a career politician, I believe Warren needs convincing that she is up the task. The American people are looking for a champion who has not been a career politician, that is part of her appeal. I believe that every time Warren says no, it is because she doesn’t want to run for president. Hillary, Bernie, Jeb, and the rest want to be president. Elizabeth Warren may not want the job. When someone is appointed to direct a recovery project after a national disaster, it is a job they wish they didn’t have to do. If Elizabeth Warren realizes that her country needs her to lead, she might just just answer the call.

Scott Galindez attended Syracuse University, where he first became politically active. The writings of El Salvador's slain archbishop Oscar Romero and the on-campus South Africa divestment movement converted him from a Reagan supporter to an activist for Peace and Justice. Over the years he has been influenced by the likes of Philip Berrigan, William Thomas, Mitch Snyder, Don White, Lisa Fithian, and Paul Wellstone. Scott met Marc Ash while organizing counterinaugural events after George W. Bush's first stolen election. Scott will be spending a year covering the presidential election from Iowa.

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