America is ready for Elizabeth Warren, female president

Elizabeth Warren. Courtesy of Flickr

Elizabeth Warren, who was elected as the first female senator of Massachusetts in 2012, is the only top level Democratic candidate running for president who has steadily climbed her way up the ranks since announcing her candidacy in February of 2019 (FiveThirtyEight, “Latest Polls,” 10.07.2019). Warren is one of a handful of female candidates—all of whom are Democrats—running for the presidency. Once again, the idea of the first female president seems very feasible. As Warren’s numbers in the polls continue to rise, however, Democrats continue to ask themselves and each other if a female Democratic candidate really is the best option; is the country ready for its first female president? Can Warren stand up to the bullying of Donald Trump if she were pitted against him? To those who question Elizabeth Warren’s ability to stand up to Trump, I suggest you take a reflective look at her history in politics.

At a very young age, Warren discovered what it was like to live in a family barely surviving economic turmoil. When she was 12, Warren’s father suffered a heart attack and was out of work, tossing the middle class family into near financial disaster, losing their car and nearly their home as well. In her lifetime since then, Warren went on to become a schoolteacher after attending a Texas commuter college that cost $50 a semester (The New York Times, “Elizabeth Warren is completely serious,” 06.17.2019). No, she did not attend a big-name university, unlike most politicians of her caliber. And no, her life and career were not handed to her.

Warren worked to gain a law degree while raising a young child and pregnant with another. She was a law professor for more than 30 years, teaching courses at Rutgers University, University of Houston, University of Texas-Austin, University of Michigan, University of Pennsylvania and ultimately Harvard University before being elected as a senator for Massachusetts (The Cut, “Elizabeth Warren is the most professorial candidate ever,” 08.06.2019).

If the major worry of potential voters in regard to Warren as a candidate is that she would not be able to stand up to Trump in a debate, she has proved throughout her life that she is more than capable of overcoming the challenges presented in a stand off against Trump. She knows what it is like to come from a family living off a minimum wage job and to make a new life for herself. But even beyond that, if ever there was someone capable of proving a woman’s ability to fulfill the role of president, it is Elizabeth Warren.

Warren has demonstrated that she plans to win not by sheer force of personality, but by exciting a grassroots movement with clear policy plans holding a clear vision for America. She is running as a candidate with the insider experience of a senator but with an anti-corruption and anti-corporate sentiment derived from her personal history that proves she is here to bring about real change. In 2011, while still a professor at Harvard Law, Warren created the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in response to the mortgage crisis and Great Recession of 2007 (PBS, “What is the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, anyway?” 11.27.2017). She first proposed the agency in 2007 to protect consumers and better regulate mortgages, student loans and other financial products. Having grown up in a middle class family that struggled to survive, Warren sought to insulate similar consumers from the shocks of financial crisis.

Even moving beyond her policies, Warren became an icon of the feminist movement due to her speech opposing the appointment of Jeff Sessions as Attorney General. During her reading of a historical letter criticizing Sessions, Warren was silenced by Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who invoked the rarely used Senate Rule 19, which bars the criticism of another senator. However, despite the motion to stop speaking, Warren did not back down. Instead, she responded, “I appeal the ruling of the chair and suggest the absence of a quorum.” This stand prompted the now famous expression by McConnell on the senator: “She was warned, she was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted.” If she was able to stand up to “Moscow Mitch,” she can no doubt stand up to the apricot authoritarian Donald Trump.

During a debate over lunch, a friend of mine tried to argue that he could not see Elizabeth Warren winning because the country has become more sexist and more intolerant since Hillary Clinton’s loss to Donald Trump in 2016. But that implies that one of the other candidates could feasibly win. Let’s take a look at the top three candidates as they currently stand. Generally polling in the lead, we have former Vice President Joe Biden, a man who has shown on multiple debate stages an inability to cope or stand up to fierce criticism or attacks from opponents, and a man whose female colleagues have repeatedly accused him of sexual harassment (New York, “Two More Women Allege Joe Biden Inappropriately Touched Them,” 04.02.2019).

Generally polling third is Senator Bernie Sanders, who ran in the primaries for the 2016 presidential election but lost to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Despite his widespread yet waning support amongst young, liberal voters, Sanders is widely perceived to be extreme and too progressive. And polling between these two is Elizabeth Warren, who has eclipsed Sanders “as the progressive standard-bearer for the primary” (Politico, “Bernie Sanders Is in Trouble,” 09.30.19).

In 2016, Hillary Clinton lost to Donald Trump, but that should not cast doubt on Warren’s ability to become the first female president. Warren appeals to voters in spaces Clinton could not. She is able to garner excitement in progressive grassroots populations like Sanders, while also carrying a personal history that many struggling middle class voters can relate to. Because of her struggles, her achievements in the senate and her status as a feminist icon, Warren is the best candidate. If Democrats want to put up the strongest opponent against Donald Trump in 2020, they need to get over their hesitation to unite behind a female candidate. We failed last time, but America is ready now.

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