Warren’s campaign has recently framed her as the unity candidate.
For those who like her, this formulation makes sense. She started life as a Republican from Oklahoma. Her brothers are Republican. She understands heartland culture from the inside. She is a capitalist down to her bones—she just wants to fix it so it works for everyone. This has led her to one of the most progressive platforms of all candidates in the Democratic field. This, as I imagine she would say, is a reflection of how far into the direction of oligarchy our particular version of capitalism has strayed.
On the other hand, for those who don’t like her, she is easily pilloried. For centrist Democrats, her antagonistic stance towards corporations and desire to restructure great swaths of the economy make her a Leftie, barely distinguishable from Sanders. For the Sanders Left, her friendliness towards the idea of capitalism makes her a Neoliberal, the same as Clinton, Obama, or Biden.
I can’t tell whether this Rorscharch nature of her candidacy is a strength for the General Election or not. Will it enable all stripes of voters to see her candidacy as a solution to the dissolution of Trump? Or will voters be demagogued into believing the worst of her, no matter what their ideology?
Oh, did I forget to mention that she is a woman?
But this is neither here nor there. The General Election appeal of a candidate is impossible for me to surmise. I can be afraid of aspersions that will be cast by this team or that team. But the Primary season is one for making one’s choice, not guessing at the choices of others, that we only have a dim understanding of in any case. This is a time for choosing.
This is why I am voting for Warren in the CA primary. I hope she wins.
From the time she came into national politics, I have been impressed by two things: one, her intellectual heft at being able to home in on the heart of the problem and identify the exact thing to do that would solve it. As a software engineer, this impresses me perhaps more than it would a normal person—she comes across as a fantastic debugger.
And second, her ability to connect intellectual theorizing down to the ground level, with real people and their lives.
The former quality may be called competence, or pragmatism, take your pick. A couple examples. Of all candidates running for President, she was the first to home in on the exact structural problem that strangulates progressive legislation in the Senate: the 60-vote threshold. This is by no means a built-in rule of the Senate. It isn’t sacred. It’s just the weaponization of an arcane rule that permits filibusters, that lay fallow until Mitch McConnell weaponized it to block everything. Warren has suggested dropping it. This excites me greatly.
That she is competent is best shown by the work she did setting up and staffing the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. She stood this up against the odds, and it struck fear into the hearts of many Wall Street miscreants. Her Presidency would be a continuation of this work.
The second quality that impressed me may be characterized as empathy. One small example will suffice. During the IA caucuses, her campaign is offering free childcare to caucus-goers, offering a slate of options for each child. It’s one thing to tout the need for government-provided family leave, as Warren famously does by using her reliance on her own Aunt Bea as an example. It’s another to connect that policy with what is happening in the here and now.
In addition, she has surprised me by being a spectacular retail politician. You may scorn the selfie lines and the First Dog Bailey giant cutouts. But it helps create a groundswell and excitement among the grassroots and helps to feed a movement. If she becomes President, these skills will come in handy selling policies in towns across the country.
It also helps negate the image of her as being angry. Two people (make that three) have said to me that they see her as angry, and that detracts from her appeal.
I suppose she is angry. I am too. But, I don’t see her as fundamentally an an angry person, but rather, as a happy warrior, bouncing up on stage, dancing clumsily to music—situationally angry at where we in the country find ourselves.