Warren: A distinctive message
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), the first major Democrat to enter the 2020 presidential race, is “framing her entire agenda around a single issue,” said Matt Ford in NewRepublic.com. In her announcement and on a trip to primary state Iowa this week, Warren positioned herself as a champion of the middle class determined to fight corruption—in government and in an economy “rigged” to benefit corporations and the wealthy. “Billionaires and big corporations decided they wanted more of the pie,” Warren said, “and they enlisted politicians to cut them a fatter slice.” Warren offers a detailed policy agenda to achieve “fairness” and what she calls accountable capitalism: breaking up monopolies, prosecuting white-collar crime, enabling workers to elect 40 percent of corporate board members. That’s what “a serious policy intellectual looks and sounds like in 2019,” said Paul Krugman in The New York Times. In a race with 30 possible contenders, it’s encouraging to start with the focus on ideas—rather than on whether Warren is “likable” enough, as conservatives are already questioning.
It sure didn’t take long for Democrats to play “the sexism card,” said Karol Markowicz in the New York Post. Fact is, Warren comes off as “stern, abrasive, and unfriendly,” and her cringeworthy attempts at seeming relatable—like drinking a beer on Instagram last week—won’t help. “We can’t point out the obvious, because she’s a woman,” yet it’s perfectly OK to publish “hundreds of articles” explaining why Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) has such a “punchable” face. The 2020 nominee must be able “to withstand Trump’s abuse,” said Jonathan Tobin in TheFederalist.com, and Warren’s ill-fated decision to get a DNA test in response to Trump’s “Pocahontas” jibes only suggests she is vulnerable to being trolled by him. Warren is not the “dragon slayer” Democrats seek.
Warren is actually quite tough, said John Cassidy in NewYorker.com. In Senate hearings, she told the CEO of scandal-plagued Wells Fargo he should resign and “give back the money you took while the scam was going on.” She has called Trump “a small, insecure money-grubber” and “a loud, nasty, thin-skinned fraud.” And don’t underestimate the power of her populism, and her real experience fighting banks, pharmaceutical companies, and Wall Street—which will help her stand out in a comically crowded field. In the contest to come, Warren “will be a formidable presence.”