Note: This is the first time I’ve written about politics on my personal blog. It’s also the first time in my political memory where a lot of smart people who live near me don’t already share most of my political views. Given the unprecedented stakes of the 2020 election, and before the voting starts, I feel compelled to make this pitch and hope you’ll see it as a good faith attempt to help us all reach a better outcome.
I feel strongly that Elizabeth Warren has the best chance of beating Donald Trump in 2020 and also the best chance of delivering non-incremental change to the health and well-being of America and its citizens once elected. She’s the candidate this moment in our history calls for, and we should do everything we can to answer that call.
If this doesn’t strike you as obviously true, yet you know me well enough to respect my intellect and opinions on other matters, please read on and get in touch with me to discuss / debate further until I can convince you or we can figure out in detail where our values or views of the world differ. 🙂
Warren is the most electable candidate
All savvy political observers believe that, to win in 2020, the democratic candidate has to excite and turn out the base in record numbers and hold/persuade enough moderate voters, esp. in battleground states. I worry Biden won’t be able to sufficiently excite the base (I’m having flashbacks to 2016). I worry that Bernie will turn off too many moderates (due to flaunting his “democratic socialist” brand, his “revolutionary” policy proposals, and, more importantly, his general lack of specifics on what his policies would look like in detail and how he’d get them done).
In contrast, I believe Elizabeth Warren can excite the base as much as Bernie without scaring off everyone else. After all, she’s a Harvard Professor who grew up as Betsy, the Republican girl from Oklahoma. She knows both worlds. She wants to restore Capitalism to its proper working function (better regulation and balance of power between capital and labor), not blow it up and replace it with a different system. She has detailed plans for what she intends to do, how she intends to pay for it, and how she intends to get it passed and enacted. There’s no uncertainty about what you’d get with a Warren presidency. And despite being a wonk’s wonk, she’s incredibly relatable and charismatic in person.
Beyond policy and character, she’s shown she can win elections against Republican incumbents, even when starting far behind in the polls. She’s running on a message of anti-corruption against the most corrupt President in history. Everyone (including her opponents) agrees she’s running the best political organization in the field. Put it all together, and there’s no one I’d rather take my chances on competing against Trump in the fall.
There’s (justifiably) so much fear about Trump getting re-elected that many people are feeling risk averse and clinging to what looks like the safest choice (usually: an old white man who won’t rock the boat too much). I believe this is a fundamental misreading of the dynamics at play this year. We should be playing to win, not playing not-to-lose, and that means backing the candidate that we truly believe in. Warren is that candidate for me, hands down, and if you haven’t taken a good look at her, please be open to the fact that the same may well happen to you once you do.
Warren will be the most effective President
As important as beating Trump will be, it’s only the start of the job of fixing what’s broken in America. I’ve spent hundreds of hours over the past many years reading and discussing and trying to understand the root causes of our political and economic dysfunction. I believe Warren has the best understanding of what’s really going on and how to actually begin to fix it. Political capture by moneyed interests and out of control wealth and income inequality have been growing problems for my entire lifetime, yet Warren is the only candidate focused on tackling them head on and with plans bold enough to meet the scale of the challenge. As she points out, you can’t win on any other policy areas we care about (climate change, expanded safety net, etc.) until you can solve the root problem that’s been preventing progress on them (“corruption” writ large).
She’s also the savviest when it comes to how to make real change in Washington. Her ability to create the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is justifiably legendary, and she’s the most clear-eyed about what she can accomplish through the Executive Branch and how she can get the rest through Congress even with a narrow majority (e.g. eliminating the filibuster and passing what she can via budget reconciliation), something Biden and Bernie still refuse to touch, thus essentially neutering their policy agenda. She understands that “personnel is policy” and has been spending considerable time identifying the right cabinet and other positions to best achieve her goals. In short, she’s got a plan for her plans.
Finally, if she can start enacting her plans, I believe real Americans will, for the first time in a while, really feel a noticeable positive impact on their lives (access to childcare and education, student loan forgiveness, etc.). This in turn, I believe, will strengthen her mandate to do more, since it will shift people’s perspective on politics from essentially just a “tribal team sport” to something where the outcomes actually matter to them. This is important not just for momentum but also to counter the degradation of our political institutions, which is possible today partly because people don’t feel sufficiently personally invested in protecting and strengthening them. But once the government starts actually delivering in noticeable, critical new ways, which I believe Warren is best positioned to accomplish, I think we have a chance to finally turn the tide.
Don’t just take my word for it:
PS: I wanted to keep this post short, but there’s so much more I could say or share, so again please either help spread the good word or let’s talk more if you’re at all open to the fact that I might not be crazy here. 🙂 This election is too important to just watch from the sidelines. We all need to sacrifice and get involved to the best of our abilities. I’ve started donating and volunteering and speaking publicly. This is new and uncomfortable for me, but I hope by sharing this, it will help some of you feel empowered to take your own next steps.