We are amidst very deciding times with the 2020 presidential election coming up and the future of the country at stake. As Biden put in his presidential bid video, we are in the midst of “a battle for the soul of this nation.” Likewise, I believe this next presidential election is also about the future of the Democratic party.
Right now, the left is divided between the progressives and the centrists. Both sides are fighting for the future of the party. The difference is emphasized between the two frontrunners, tepid centrist Joe Biden and radical socialist Bernie Sanders.
There has been one candidate who has consistently caught my attention with each town hall and television appearance. I believe that Elizabeth Warren, the senator from Massachusetts, controls the future of the Democratic Party. And, unfortunately for the centrists, the future may be progressive. In most polls, she is projected to come in around third or fourth at the primary. However, I believe her role in this election can shift the Democratic party for years to come.
It’s been a rough three years, no matter what side you’re on. But specifically, for the left, this term has been rough. It’s been a long and tiresome road for the liberals since 2016. After losing by an embarrassing margin to Trump in the electoral college, Democrats lost two swing Supreme Court seats and saw reversals on policies covering environment, taxes and healthcare.
After winning the majority in the house in the midterm elections, things haven’t gotten much better since. The Mueller report came back with an underwhelming and divisive conclusion, and the party is split on whether or not to proceed with impeachment proceedings. It’s clear that this has been an unusually rough term for the liberals.
Because of daily hateful rhetoric from the current administration, this race has turned into one driven by emotion. This is common for elections, especially for the opposition party. The public needs to connect to the candidate they want to vote for. Politicians often use very emotional and descriptive language to capture the attention of their audience and to emphasize the problems with the current administration.
However, it seems as if this race misses the balance between policy and emotion. Every other candidate emphatically talks about the big problems going on, while offering no concrete solutions, or vague promises at best. There have no real attempts to solve the issues plaguing the public, but rather, an excess of flowery language and inspirational trigger words, designed to get media coverage.
Enter Elizabeth Warren.
Warren plays a very specific role in this primary. What she may lack in charisma, she makes up for in policy. She undoubtedly has the most ideas, proposals and white papers of any candidate in this race, which are all backed by detailed research, statistics and evidence. She re-inserts sound and structured policy back into the race and forces candidates to think more about actual solutions to issues. As the only candidate consistently putting out researched policy, she is controlling the narrative for every other candidate, putting pressure back onto solving the issues.
Warren commented on reparations in late March, forcing the conversation on whether reparations are on the table in the future. She made a statement on banning the filibuster, forcing the other candidates to play catch up. Warren consistently sets the trend for what the rest of the candidates talks about. Furthermore, she has policy on big business, tax reform, college tuition, housing development and criminal justice, all backed by statistics and evidence. Even though it’s still early, I believe these are all topics the candidates should provide solutions for.
Warren’s purpose is deeper than just starting a dialogue. Her progressive agenda helps shift the entire party to the left. Her proposals will help influence the direction of the Democrats because we know addressing the important issues inspires voters. We saw an example of this in the last midterm election. Democratic politicians focused on issues like healthcare and jobs, and those issues gained them seats in the house. Likewise, Warren’s agenda can inspire progressive voters again.
Political discourse has dramatically shifted to the right. As the GOP’s rhetoric becomes more divisive and extreme, the Democrats have moved toward the center, further diluting their message of equality. We know that addressing the issues gets voters. By forcing candidates to address the issues, I believe Warren’s focus on policy has the potential to move the party back toward the left, whether she wins or not.