During last week’s Las Vegas debate, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., proved that she is still a strong contender. She methodically went after each candidate on stage, clearly showing why she is the best candidate to take on President Donald Trump.
Warren is currently polling, on average, fifth in South Carolina. While she only placed fourth in Nevada, about two-thirds were early votes and entrance polls showed she had the biggest post-debate gain, demonstrating the convincing power of Warren’s debate performance.
Her impressive performance echoed those from her debate history. The Boston Globe reported how one of Warren’s old debate team members described her style as a sort of polished brutality, where she takes down her opponents’ argument piece by piece without seeming overly aggressive. This was Warren’s strength, in that she largely focused on the policy shortcomings of other candidates and used direct attacks effectively against Michael Bloomberg that showed his moral inability to represent the Democratic Party against Trump.
Warren’s debate performance was also a refreshing upset to the status quo after a less-than-stellar primary season in Iowa and New Hampshire. At the debate, Warren reminded Democrats that her wide array of detailed policy plans, humility in leadership and history of fighting for working families makes her the best candidate on stage.
If you looked up the term “policy wonk” in the dictionary, it would have a picture of Warren. One of her campaign slogans, “I’ve got a plan for that,” indicates how much value she puts into her plan for the future of the United States. Her campaign website has listed a total of 74 policy proposals ranging from creating a cleaner environment to combating both public and private corruption, more than any other candidate running.
Comparatively, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., has 33 policy plans, former Vice President Joe Biden has 17, Bloomberg has 32, former Mayor Pete Buttigieg has 31 and Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., has 12, according to each of their campaign websites. This isn’t to say that quantity is better than quality. However, the number of plans that Warren has thought through and has put considerable detail into are impressive, to say the least.
Warren also demonstrated at the debate that she could be a decisive leader in a crowded group, reminding many of her skillful work in Senate committee hearings, such as her questioning of Wells Fargo bank CEO John Stumpf.
She doesn’t back down easily from a fight, especially when she’s up against the powerful and corrupt forces that seek to enrich themselves at the cost of the American people.
Warren testified before Congress multiple times between 2007 and 2010 on the need for a federal financial watchdog agency, the Dodd-Frank Reform and Consumer Protection Act created the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau to create such an agency.
Warren understood that Congress Republicans wouldn’t confirm her to run the agency, so she stepped aside to be a special advisor to the Bureau’s construction. “She told us that we were ready to sail the ship, that we did not need her there, and that we would be able to do it on our own,” said senior bureau official Patricia McCoy told the New York Times.
While Warren may be my first choice to win the Democratic primary, she isn’t a perfect candidate. Her false claim of Native American heritage for years is disappointing, to say the least, even after her public apology in August 2019 at a presidential forum in Iowa.
Between teaching economics at a variety of universities, serving on the National Bankruptcy Review Commission, serving as chair for the Congressional Oversight Panel for the Troubled Asset Relief Program, advising the CFPB and serving as the senator from Massachusetts, Elizabeth Warren has cultivated a career centered around finding how corruption happens and how to combat it at every turn.
Warren is the best candidate for the presidency. She’s not perfect, but we shouldn’t expect that of our political leaders, and she acknowledges where she’s faltered in the past. What Warren knows how to do, as her campaign slogan says, is how to dream big, fight hard and win.
Everett Kalman (he/him) is a junior studying law and public policy and is the vice president of external affairs for Culture of Care at IU. He plans on practicing immigration law in the future.