Elizabeth Warren's brilliant beginning

She's running, and she's started with a strong opening shot.Elizabeth Warren...

Posted: Jan 2, 2019 5:10 AM
Updated: Jan 2, 2019 5:10 AM

She's running, and she's started with a strong opening shot.

Elizabeth Warren announced Monday that she is forming an exploratory committee for the presidency -- which is as good as saying she's running. It's the first major announcement of what will likely be a crowded Democratic primary in the 2020 race, and potentially the most diverse in history.

Elizabeth Warren

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Watching Warren's announcement video, you can see her priorities are clear: she wants economic and racial justice and recognizes that the two are neither identical nor severable (unlike too many others on the populist left who believe class is a singular unifying force and racism is a secondary "identity politics" issue solvable by economic changes alone). She recognizes that equality of opportunity isn't just about what class you were born into; it's also about how race and gender shape individual opportunity and mobility. Most strikingly, she doesn't issue a milquetoast call for unity and change, or demonize some amorphous threat to American families and prosperity. No, she names and shames her villains, from big banks who push for their own deregulation, to self-interested and moneyed politicians who cut their own taxes at the expense of the rest of us, to hate-mongers on Fox News and in the White House who peddle racism and misogyny to stir up an angry, bigoted Republican base. That's a kind of honesty at the expense of political feel-good-ism that we haven't seen much of in recent presidential politics.

With the vision laid out in her video, Warren has staked out what might just be the ideally unifying position for Democratic voters, at least some of whom are still smarting from (and waging proxy wars out of) the 2016 primary, in which Hillary Clinton beat Bernie Sanders. But while Warren may in theory be the perfect candidate to heal that rift, she's still a woman -- and that remains more of a liability than we may want to believe.

In 2016, many of the most vocal Bernie Sanders supporters were also some of the most vocal Clinton detractors, feeding into right-wing attacks and amplifying the narratives we now know were also pushed by Russian operatives seeking to sway the election for Donald Trump. Elections are almost never won and lost on a single factor, but this dynamic almost certainly contributed to Clinton's loss. Along the way, Clinton supporters suggested that their candidate was subject to wildly disproportionate criticism in part because she is a woman, and pointed out that even on the left, many are subconsciously and reflexively hostile to female ambition and pursuit of power.

Many of Clinton's detractors on the left met these observations with howls of indignation. It wasn't that she was a woman, they said -- it's because it was her. And then, inevitably, something along the lines of: "I would vote for Elizabeth Warren if she were running."

Well, now she is, so let's see how that plays out. My prediction: a lot of the same people who swore they weren't sexist because they would support a hypothetical Warren run will not in fact throw their weight behind an actual Warren run.

They should -- and so should Clinton fans. Or at the very least, we should all welcome a candidate like Warren into the inevitably crowded field. For some, her disputing the president's characterization of her racial identity was a huge misstep, playing into bad race science and undermining the right of Native Americans to decide tribal identity for themselves. Fair enough -- although, if we are really being fair, Warren didn't claim tribal membership or an allegiance to race science, and was rather trying to validate an oral family history that the President had smeared as a lie. In any case, one video intended to share her family history and shut up our bully of a President should hardly be disqualifying.

Maybe Warren really isn't your candidate -- that's okay, too. By the looks of it, there are going to be a great many contenders. She certainly faces an uphill battle based on gender, and those of us on the left should be particularly attuned to the ways in which another eminently qualified woman will inevitably be attacked and undermined for her appearance, her voice, and even a cherry-picking of her record not similarly applied to progressive men in the field.

But Warren has done us all an immense favor by kicking her campaign off the way she did: she is setting the narrative, and insisting it focuses on class and race, economic inequality and gender inequality, and all of the ways in which our identities, and America's history of racism and sexism indelibly shape who has opportunity, when and how.

It's a brilliant beginning, and even if she doesn't ultimately earn your vote, Warren has drawn the lines of the race -- and launched from a crucial starting point.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

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Cases: 947918

Reported Deaths: 15377
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1291181990
Lake635721103
Allen53899761
Hamilton44082449
St. Joseph42122590
Elkhart33803491
Vanderburgh30574449
Tippecanoe26915251
Johnson23727418
Hendricks22410342
Porter21832347
Clark17562231
Madison17492385
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Warrick10737178
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Grant9213204
Morgan8928160
Boone8463111
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Pulaski168551
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Benton143916
Brown135846
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Warren115616
Union98511
Ohio80511
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Ohio Coronavirus Cases

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Cases: 1390015

Reported Deaths: 21820
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1541781574
Cuyahoga1361632341
Hamilton989691326
Montgomery681371161
Summit569981051
Lucas51769869
Butler48139663
Stark42350983
Lorain32165539
Warren30497338
Mahoning27564643
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Lake24873422
Delaware22600147
Licking20818246
Fairfield20789223
Greene20667275
Trumbull20378516
Medina20178290
Clark18235332
Richland16749236
Portage16442231
Wood15973209
Allen14405261
Miami14063261
Muskingum12976155
Wayne12234244
Columbiana12046242
Tuscarawas11248271
Marion10935150
Pickaway10642129
Scioto10585127
Erie9888171
Ross9648177
Lawrence8967125
Hancock8637143
Ashtabula8509187
Geauga8272156
Belmont8262188
Jefferson7736175
Huron7566131
Union743951
Washington7396126
Athens712065
Sandusky6984135
Darke6884137
Knox6839122
Seneca6533137
Ashland6078115
Auglaize596888
Shelby5845104
Brown578272
Mercer565890
Crawford5591117
Defiance5579101
Madison552171
Highland550982
Fulton543583
Clinton535781
Logan520587
Preble5123111
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Guernsey487664
Williams469982
Perry464454
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Ottawa443584
Jackson436663
Pike400745
Morrow398251
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Fayette385053
Adams371575
Hardin367570
Gallia356658
Holmes3326111
Henry331869
Van Wert321471
Hocking312370
Wyandot286058
Carroll267052
Paulding247443
Meigs223042
Monroe193149
Noble174442
Morgan170329
Harrison161741
Vinton141919
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