For the first time in the 2020 campaign, Senator Elizabeth Warren is pulling ahead in the polls. And her star performance in the Democratic primary debate proves she’s worthy of frontrunner status, says Christobel Hastings
The race for the 2020 presidency is well and truly on, and last night, the nation got to watch the first round of Democratic debate. This is the moment when we finally got to hear what the presidential hopefuls had to say on a range of important issues like immigration, reproductive rights and gun control away from campaign rhetoric, and decide for ourselves who is worthy of sitting in the White House.
And while she didn’t dominate speaking time, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren showed that sometimes, you don’t have to shout loudly to command the respect of the room.
As a frontrunner, we already knew that Warren has plenty of detailed policy proposals up her sleeve. In fact, her catchphrase “I have a plan for that!” has become a signature of her campaign. From student debt relief to higher education reform, universal childcare to affordable housing, her progressive proposals are winning over voters in states like California, Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada, where she’s polling as the top choice of Democrats.
What viewers got to see last night, however, was a cool, calm and collected Warren, who didn’t have to feud with her competitors to make a point. In an era when Trump’s Twitter spats have become a daily occurrence, she showed exactly how to rise above her sparring competitors and shine with a voice of reason.
Warren showed no hesitation in raising her hand when asked if the candidates onstage supported a policy to “abolish their private health insurance and replace it with a government-run plan,” and took an unequivocal stance on replacing private health insurance with government-run healthcare, arguing that private companies exploited families with hidden costs.
“Medicare for All solves that problem. And I understand there are a lot of politicians that say it’s just not possible,” she said. “What they’re really telling you is they just won’t fight for it. Well, healthcare is a basic human right. And I will fight for basic human rights.”
The liberal firebrand also excelled when asked about whether her government plans might destabilise the economy. “Who is this economy really working for?” she said, deflecting the question. “It’s doing great for a thinner and thinner slice at the top.”
“When you’ve got a government, when you’ve got an economy that does great for those with money and isn’t doing great for everyone else, that is corruption, pure and simple,” she argued. “We need to call it out, we need to attack it head on, and we need to make structural change in our government, in our economy, and in our country.”
Even when goaded about her views over banning dangerous weapons, she smartly acknowledging that whilst the possession of guns isn’t an “across-the-board problem,” the government must undertake universal background checks to keep children safe from gun violence.
“We have to treat it like a public health emergency, and that means bring data to bear and make real change in this country whether it’s politically popular or not,” she said. “We need to fight for our children.”
Ahead of the debate, a straw poll by progressive group MoveOnOrg found that Elizabeth Warren is currently building significant momentum in the race to become Trump’s 2020 challenger.
The poll, which surveyed Democratic members across the nation, found that Warren was the first choice for 38% of the group’s members, in comparison to Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, who polled just 17%.
And while we all know that Warren is a fierce and accomplished debater (she actually won a college scholarship to George Washington University in 1965 thanks to her formidable skills in the Bellaire Debate tournament in Texas) last night’s primary debate could increase her lead in the polls.
As controversy rages over Trump’s treatment of unaccompanied migrant children at the Southern border, Warren announced a move earlier in the week that will surely win favour in the race. Ahead of the debate, she visited the largest detention centre for unaccompanied migrant children in the country in Homestead, Florida, which is currently housing among 2,300 children. The trip comes at a critical time for migrant welfare, as the Office of Refugees and Resettlement, which provides shelters for unaccompanied migrant children, will reportedly run out of money at the end of the month due to a delay in passing a border supplemental funding bill.
With Warren’s confidence, preparation, and quick-fire questioning, the US could move one step closer tonight to securing a Democratic nominee that pursues justice as effectively as she conquers her opponents on stage.