New York Times op-ed today asks: Why Don’t We Know Which Democratic Candidate Can Beat Trump? This is not the question to ask. We need systemic change not just a regime change. The question that will get us on track isn’t how to get rid of Trump — which is a band aid until the next Trump in 2024 — but how to get rid of the factors that caused him? From the broken electoral process down to social issues, Trump is the symptom not the cause. The factors that caused him all very much remain. So the next president not only has to move us forward but undo so much that set us back AND address long term solutions at its core which still exist and have worsened.
In terms of political strategy: yes ask how to beat Trump because it’s a numbers game in terms of electoral votes; factors like districting and voter suppression affects numbers, which is why they’re partisan issues; how many people come out to vote etc.
In terms of us: NO. Worry about doing your part. For us, go out and vote for the person you most believe in. Trust me: it’s worse out there than you can think. Much worse. So why am I filled with optimism and continue working for pennies on this? Because the numbers are on our side—if we show up. You just have to show up and urge others to do the same. From the local on up.
Right now, droves of Republican voters are turning out for Trump. Why? “The massive turnout is a reflection of organic enthusiasm among conservatives and a sophisticated effort by Trump’s campaign to rev up its get-out-the-vote machine ahead of the general election. Read: support, enthusiasm, and showing up to vote.
Get rid of this “electability” illness. This “electability” situation is often predicated on what the polls say. “I want to vote for her but I don’t think she can win” is a cop-out and misinformed. The numbers we often hear in relation to “electability” are polls. Who conducted them using how many people in which region at which time asking which questions in a pool from which demographic? No idea, right? Thus: Not to be trusted much less go on as to who to vote for. Even Gallup has been wrong more times than right. JUST DO YOUR PART.
Independents: pick a side. The non-Trump base also suffers from “the independent.” Are you an independent as in Switzerland, who wants everyone’s money and stands for nothing yet has no skin in the game? Because that is not an independent. Or are you an independent in that you don’t want to affiliate with one party but have values you believe in and a candidate who most reflects you and your self-interests? That means: put your teeth into it.
There’s a lot at stake. There’s a sickness caused by our systems. It’s why crimes are now daily committed in our face and nothing is done about it. It’s why we even got to 2016. There is an economic injustice that is suffocating us, and most felt by communities of color and women across the board. Travel around to random counties and you will see. Hell, travel to San Francisco and step over tents of homeless on your way to the $9 coffee. Bernie and Warren get it to the core. As much as we all want to say vote any Dem, yes of course but not any Dem will get to the root problems.
Most people I’ve met live paycheck to paycheck. One diagnosis or accident away from losing it all. No way of coping, no support, no time to get informed as to how to deal with mental issues or whatnot. Fox is their only news. I don’t judge because many factors led up to their lives just as many have led to mine and we each are blinded by our own biases.
Most of all, It breaks my heart because my child will have so much access to basics that their children will not; access to support and healthcare and all of that which enables us to be thoughtful or generous instead of living with constant stress and trauma and fear. What a tragic loss of potential. It’s our loss as much as theirs. You cannot see it if you’re too busy living it.
Yet that’s also where they fight the most. And yes sometimes that fight is for Trump. Who else listened for decades. And like it or not, blame this or that but know this: We will not have any progress on any climate or social justice issue if their desperation is not tended to.
Voting in a Dem is one step in a long haul ahead. No one who benefits from systems—and that includes me and many of my social circle—are afraid of change. It will be a fight even from “good” folks. And def from the power structure. Grand plans will be meted out by legislation and fought in the Supreme Court. We’ll need 8-12 years to see any of it through.
So yes whatever: vote any Dem but know there are only two who get it and will do their level best to fix it at its core. And for me only one with the plans and ability to see a good chunk of it through: Elizabeth Warren.
It’s because I’ve met with so much anger and sadness and desperation I’m so invested in her winning. She not only gets it like Bernie but I’ve seen it. She connects. She can unite. Those qualities can not be underestimated.
Why Elizabeth Warren is our best choice for President
Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders may share similar visions of progressive policies but ultimately record, history, political alliances, strategy, skill at navigating legislation and judicial branches are on the side of Warren. She has fought for the working class her entire professional life and as a Senator with agencies, laws, and policies that prove she can bring visions into reality. That’s why she’s the onlycandidate Wall Street, Silicon Valley tech giants, and mega-corporations who pay $1 in taxes fear.
This country needs structural change. It’s not enough to talk big, you have to actually know the structure. What is the new business plan? No social justice platform can be implemented if the majority of people are struggling to provide for their families.
No one knows it better than a tax and debt lawyer and professor. Warren has plans that appeal to working-class who haven’t had a raise that outstrips inflation in 30 years. She has plans for healthcare, childcare, Medicare, and college debt that has put a stranglehold on the middle and working class.
She has the temperament to guide the country out of years of turmoil while keeping a strong hand to ensure the corruption doesn’t go unanswered to restore faith and eliminate the cynicism and normalization that’s settled in.
She is of our times. She has the endorsements and support of our times from the most powerful and vocal groups of their communities: African American civil rights leaders, Black Women caucus, the LGBTQI community, Latinas especially in relationship to immigration rights, unions, reproductive rights organizations who are thrilled a candidate says “abortion,” even parent organizations are thrilled due to her childcare policies. They all endorse her because her views and platforms are intersectional and comprehensive — and they trust she can get policies through.
Bottom line: she has the plans and experience for sure but as important, she inspires trust, exudes warmth, speaks to women, immigrants, and the working-class and upper middle class with the same confidence-inspiring charisma.
In order to transform a nation, similar qualities appear time and again. Franklin Delano Roosevelt, for example, needed a vision with plans such as The New Deal, but also had to have the ability to execute, and alliances, political know-how, and a fighting spirit to battle it out whether it was a contentious Congress or Supreme Court. To do any of this you have to be able to foster trust in the government and governance.
Warren can do that better than any candidate because her entire professional life has been about anti-corruption and fighting for the working class, starting with forming the Consumer Protection Agency to combat the rampant housing mortgage corruption and recession of 2008 — that she had predicted as a professor in 2004.
Our nation is again in great turmoil: impeachment, almost daily news of corruption, human rights crises, rampant racism and hate crimes, weekly mass shootings, greater and greater economic insecurity. You must inspire unity and hope in a country battling intense strife. In these times, that is no easy task.
While Bernie Sanders may share some of this vision, he has yet to state how he can do it. He doesn’t have the political base to get it through legislation or navigate a conservative Supreme Court nor the alliances in Congress.
Elizabeth Warren can do it. Vision, policy understanding, political strategy, communication and negotiation skills, all describe a leader like Warren who has the temperament and ability to have a vision and execute it while being able to inspire the public to both heal and forge ahead. We need the temperament of a leader who can heal after these four turbulent years.
“It’s the economies, stupid”
We need a systemic change to address the growing income — and thus education gap. Yes, racism and sexism were at play in 2016 but that doesn’t discount that there is a lot of unrest in impoverished and languishing cities and towns with growing numbers of unemployed or barely surviving families juggling 2 or 3 jobs that foster the worst in people and draws them to candidates who use emotions and false hope to gain support.
Polls show Warren’s message that the economic system is rigged against ordinary people — and her willingness to unapologetically call for fundamental structural changes in the rules of the economic game — are very attractive to the working-class. Voters don’t want continuity or stability, they want change.
Who better than someone who knows just how to do it because she’s studied tax structure, communicated complex plans in simple terms for the public, and implemented into policies and laws.
Warren continues that fight. Her plans and visions are not socialist by far; they are those of most economists. For one, there is no singular economy in this country. The rural poor and urban poor have different reasons and solutions. And the economy is not booming contrary to Trump.
Since the crash of 2008, 75 percent of new jobs pay less than $50,000 a year, and a large percentage barely pay above minimum wage.
Eighty-five percent of post-recession income growth has occurred among the top 1 percent of earners.
The richest 10 percent of Americans own 84 percent of stocks. Barring a crash, which would reverberate throughout the entire country, the daily rise and fall of Wall Street has no effect on most Americans.
The unemployment rate may be at a historic low, but it does not take into account the millions of laborers who are “underemployed” — working part-time hours when they are in desperate need of full-time, salaried work or the “gig” economy where professionals, like teachers, have to take on night shifts as car drivers.
This doesn’t just create stress, it creates fractured families. With rising costs of childcare, who watches the kids as parents must take on second shifts? Where does the health insurance come from in a gig economy?
Millionaires and billionaires, like Jamie Dimon, the CEO of JPMorgan Chase who had to pay a fine for their hand in the housing crisis of 2008, Leon Cooperman, a billionaire hedge fund manager; and Microsoft founder Bill Gates all cry about Warren and that should make you suspect. Trump told his friends at Mar-a-Lago after signing a massive tax cut, “You all just got a lot richer.” Why are they crying when in January 2020, most Americans cannot afford a home and are one illness away from bankruptcy?
The public is not just overworked and underpaid but stressed and that means less innovation and more trauma, the kind that stunts national growth and leads to greater societal problems like crime. Jobs are not just about GDP. It’s about a public engaged in work that has a sense of purpose and provides the basics to their families.
Warren understands that deep need and has been a champion for the working and middle class from the start. So much so that as a professor setting up a federal regulatory agency, Warren fought with then-President Obama on his choice for Secretary of Treasury Timothy Geithner and National Economic Council Director Larry Summers.
“I believe the recovery should have been from the ground up, and people with Geithner’s and Summers’ background would never see the world that way,” she said in an interview with Politico, because above all else she wanted the public to be protected.
In 2007, she predicted the housing crisis. In 2006, when the economy was booming and she was studying consumer debt as a Harvard law professor., she observed, “The great American middle class is fighting a battle for survival — and losing.” And in 2004, in a NOW interview, she predicted the recession of 2008. Each time, she had solutions alongside her simple explanation of complex economic issues.
Vox does an excellent job outlining just how Warren set up the CFPB and why it was so critical.
No other candidate aside from Warren understands the need for a new business plan for the country at its core, and not just provide band-aids and government programs or handouts, least of all because she lived poverty and single parenting upfront and personal.
It is rare that to have a leader and politician who will not only understand the briefs she is given but probably had a hand in writing them or in the research that underlies today’s policy experts.
For the moderates: She’s not out for your money
We do not need a watered-down Obama 3.0. Warren is not what so many Biden supporters fear: a democratic socialist. In a nutshell, her tax plan for the wealthy is: a 2 percent levy on assets more than $50 million, and higher rates on billionaires. Warren is merely saying that the tax system as it now stands benefits the 1% and many in the 1% endorse that they need to pay their fair share. That alone could provide the funding needed for programs such as greater healthcare coverage and student loan debt forgiveness.
Since when did Americans like to be taken for a ride? We are the kings of wanting everything to be fair! In sports like deflate-gate. In “American Idol.” We love underdogs and second acts, Robert Downey Jr!
So how is it we stand for the fact that Amazon paid $1 in taxes? Then gripe we don’t have money to pay teachers and fund schools? The richest 10% of U.S. households represent 70% of all U.S. wealth in 2018, according to a recent study by researchers at the Federal Reserve. How is it that as we watch our paychecks shrink and pay our fair share, more than our share as per statistics, while the 1% saw their fortunes increase from 23% to 32% in 2018? Home ownership is at its lowest since the 1960s; income is falling as the number of jobs Americans must work increase as wealth is consolidated into fewer hands.
Evening the playing field is not radical or progressive. It is 100% American.
For the Progressives: Visions need execution
If Warren and Bernie Sanders share a similar vision to restructure our economy, why Warren? For one, she can execute and two, the woman’s been obsessed. Her entire career has been fighting corruption through an obsessive analysis of power, taxation, systems, and the forces that keep the status quo. That’s why Wall Street, Silicon Valley, and Big Business are frightened. Warren gets it. And has successfully fought them and won.
Visions are great. They will all be modulated by legislation regardless. So, what makes the great stand out? Execution.
As a lifelong social justice activist who has studied movements, from the Civil Rights movement to the suffragists and others, the one thing to be gleaned from all of this is that everything which was a win was planned. Behind every vision coming to life is hard work and a strategy executed by a team. There had been other people to board the bus before Rosa Parks. She was not a happy accident.
If you were hiring for a senior-most position in a company, would you want to take someone on who has knowledge of the policies and politics that underlie the job at hand, has the allies and know-how to navigate politics, and the experience to show all of that or a person who talks the same talk but has nothing to show for it?
That may sound harsh towards Sanders yet the proof is in their history. Sanders as per the nonprofit watchdog on politicians, has served over 30 years yet has one major bill to show for it, has the fewest co-sponsored bills (1) and was an Independent until political expediency made him a Democrat. That’s fine however what that shows is an inability to compromise or negotiate, especially with Congress, and it doesn’t do is give you any allies. Warren started a brand new, highly controversial regulatory agency with a Republican Congress to protect consumers while she was a university professor.
As economist Dean Bakers said, “Warren was able to navigate around the opposition from some Democrats and from the Republican Congress to get the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau created, and to ensure that it would have real power to protect people from the financial industry.”
As Iowa’s largest newspaper, The Des Moines Register said when they endorsed her, “she is not radical. She is right.”
She will be a social justice President
Mass shootings are weekly in America. Warren wants to reduce gun deaths by 80% with reforms that a majority of this country already support.
Warren is the candidate for LGBTQ by far, the only candidate to consistently poll in double digits.
She has an ally in Julian Castro and even earlier made it clear she will make unifying families and addressing the abuse that has led to family separations.
She talks about women’s issues that other candidates do not. For too long, more than half the population must suffer through horrific statistics like 1 in 3 girls will be sexually assaulted by 18. Maternal deaths in the US are rising. With the Trump administration, the overt sexism has reached all the way to the Supreme Court.
She deftly addresses major issues like “electability,” the silencing of women (“she persists!”), domestic violence (“you are not alone”), and reproductive rights (“abortion rights are human rights”). She reflects a nuanced understanding of the range of issues all women must face, like childcare citing her own aunt’s assistance when she was working as a single mother.
She’s a woman, mother, and progressive–and that matters.
It does make a difference when a woman is in charge—the right woman. Warren is that right woman out of the candidates. She’s the first to go to college in her lower-income Oklahoma family; a single mother for a time who credits her aunt’s childcare support as being critical to her success. As Justice Sotomayer said: it may not define you but it influences you. Ethnic identity like gender identity impacts how you see the world. Warren’s campaign is offering childcare on caucus night. Childcare wouldn’t be on the radar for most men—unless you’ve been a mother, and a single mother like Warren had once been.
Childcare costs have soared. So many parents have to choose to stay at home and have one paycheck or drop off kids at suspect but affordable care. With a widening income gap, that leaves millions of kids already behind their more well off peers. Warren has been doing this on her campaign trail to show she’s committed to this cause in practice as a candidate and it’s not just an off the cuff campaign promise.
“The difficulty of accessing affordable and high-quality child care puts parents in a bind — forcing them to choose between breaking the budget, cutting back work hours, or settling for lower-quality care,” Warren wrote in a Medium post.
The countries right now with the most systemic humane and progressive policies from climate change to education to immigration are led by women: Germany, Finland, New Zealand, Iceland. (While we here don’t even believe women can lead as per half the country.) Such a long way to go—but this is the year we can do it.
On the pulse of the times
This is not the Obama years or 2016. MeToo, Time’s Up, climate change, mass shootings, trans rights and pronouns and gender fluidity– our world is changing and needs a cohesive approach to its solutions. Warren always has been and is intersectional. When speaking about gender violence, she mentions trans violence. When speaking about wage gaps, she reminds the public that black and Latina women face an even greater gap than their white counterparts. Black women are heard even less than white mothers when it comes to prenatal care.
As we bury black young adults, children in mass shootings, a migrant child, or another woman who has died from childbirth, we must remember social justice is not a nice-to-have. It’s a necessity for a progressive society and it’s time we had a President that embraced and will champion such reforms. Warren is the leader we need.
For the country: a reset
Warren’s first priority taking office: an anti-corruption package. Why? Because this country has been besieged by corruption from Trump’s Day 1. And given the lawsuit of him funneling funds from his inaugural committee to private family benefits, it’s even before his first day in office.
The Trump Organization has been involved with over 19 conflicts of interests, securing business deals using the Presidency, using the Presidency to secure access and meetings for money — for starters.
More importantly than bringing justice to Trump is healing the country and regaining public trust. Before we can forward any progressive policy, like healthcare for all, we need to have a public that trusts governance again otherwise they will not back any plan if it doesn’t believe in the executors of that plan and who better than Warren, someone who has emerged a consistent winner against corruption?
She calmly talks to a protester angry about her opposition to a war with Iran and to a father angry at her for her school loan debt forgiveness plan because he had to pay for his daughter’s tuition. (Her response was spot-on: a lot of things didn’t exist for a lot of people, say colored, queer girls for instance, that exist today. Doesn’t mean everyone in that boat going forward should get screwed.)
You can imagine Obama responding as calmly as she did. You can’t imagine Biden or Sanders. That matters. In these contentious political times when the leader of this country would threaten civilians, mocks them, or turns them over to angry, violent crowds, empathy and calm matter.
The leader in LGBTQ rights
Who supports you matters.
No need to foment discord but suffice to say we’ve already had toxic supporters of a male cult personality with questionable, or no support or endorsements of progressive and powerful organizations. Rather than go into that, there’s a long list of impressive endorsements that reflect who Warren is and what she stands for.
Warren has the most comprehensive platform dedicated to the protection of LGBTQI rights . She has been supported by the Human Rights Campaign – the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization; by Out, Advocate; by Black Womxn For, a collective of black women and gender-nonconforming organizer.
We can’t afford to be moderate.
Right now, America is not where it was in 2016. That could be a good thing. There are more women and diverse Congressional members than ever before. The sexism and racism that pervaded society can no longer be hushed away. The ugly can come out but so can the forces against it. As the founder of a civics nonprofit, civic engagement can only be a good thing. Democracy dies in the darkness.
However: America is not where it was in 2016.
There have been significant civil and human rights rollbacks from the Muslim ban to a 216% increase in hate crimes to a UN human rights crisis at the border with family separation and unhygienic, inhumane jail-like conditions for asylum seekers.
Workers’ rights have been slashed from a higher threshold for overtime-eligible pay to a 2020 budget proposal with significant cuts for Medicare, Social Security, and SNAP.
The United Nations has called what the United States has been doing to migrants at the border “a human rights abuse.” Congress has done nothing despite visits to these overcrowded detention centers where malnutrition, sexual abuse, disappearances, and deaths have rampant. The most traumatizing aspect of the process has been family separations where even babies have been separated from their caregivers. Many of these children have disappeared, many more have been abused, and all have been traumatized.
Defendants of these laws say that it is “the law” and the law has been broken by these migrants. That is false. Before getting into the laws, let’s debunk the myths with data.
The biggest problem with our immigration is that our policies and public understanding of immigration is circa 1997 instead of 2019. Consequently, we are ill-prepared to meet the challenges of the current immigration crisis.
MYTH 1 The number of migrants is unprecedented. FALSE.
Border crossings are at their lowest levels in decades, and current research estimates more unauthorized immigration is caused by visa overstays than illegal entry.
Foreign population breakdown 1997 vs 2017:
1n 1997, European descent 17% in 1997 substantially declined to 10.3% in 2017.
In 1997, Asians accounted for 26.1%; today, Asians account for 30%.
In 1997, Central Americans accounted for 6.3%; today, they are at 8.1%
In 1997, South Americans accounted for 5.9% and increased to 7.3%.
There has not been major growth in the unauthorized population for many years.
MYTH 2: Those damn Mexicans. FALSE
Today there are more Asians than Mexicans living in the United States. Mexican born population has remained steady for over 20 years, between 27-29%. Mexicans are a smaller percentage of the overall U.S. population than they have been for many years.
The Pew Research Center has reported extensively on the undocumented population and estimates that there are approximately 11 million undocumented individuals in the United States. The “Northern Triangle” countries—Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador—have all consistently increased as shares of the undocumented U.S. population. India has driven the growth in the Asian undocumented U.S. population, as the levels from countries like China and Korea have largely remained constant for the past 15 to 20 years.
The growth in Mexicans’ usage of legal visas (evidenced in the growth of H-2A and H-2B visas), coupled with a major decline in Mexican illegal immigration based on total apprehensions from the US Customs and Border Protection, has changed things dramatically at the border compared with the mid-1990s.
MYTH 3 Illegal immigrants are uneducated. FALSE
Currently, almost half of all immigrants in the United States have more than a high school education. A recent Migration Policy Institute study found that between 2011 and 2015, nearly half of all new immigrants were college graduates.