Senator Elizabeth Warren, one of the Democratic presidential candidates for the 2020 Presidential election, came to Keene State College on Saturday, April 20. Senator Warren held a town hall meeting in the Mabel Brown Room where she promoted her campaign for Democratic nomination and shared her vision of an improved America that would work for everyone, not just the rich.
Warren began her speech by trying to connect with the audience with personal anecdotes. She has an older brother who was a combat medic in Vietnam. She talked about why she became involved with politics and what motivated her to run for president. These things include corruption, income equality, and President Donald Trump. Senator Warren specifically cited the Mueller Report and said that President Trump welcomed foreign interference from Russia.
“Donald Trump welcomed that help even when the federal government took multiple steps to try to derail that investigation,” Warren said. Warren said that it is now up to Congress to impeach the president, and argued that impeachment is not politically charged. “There are some things that are bigger than politics, this is one of them. We cannot be an America that says it is okay for a president of the United States to try to block investigations to a foreign attack on our country, or investigations into that president’s own misbehavior,” Warren said.
Throughout her speech Senator Warren stressed three major ideas. These ideas were government corruption, income equality and restoring democracy.
Warren said that government corruption is one of the problems that prevents the government from working for the American people. Warren claimed to have created the largest anti-corruption bill in America since the Watergate era.
“When you have a government that works fabulously for those with money and doesn’t work for the rest of the country, that’s corruption, pure and simple, and we need to call it out for what it is,” Warren said.
Warren talked about how in the early 1990s climate scientists began warning about the effects of climate change and initially had bipartisan government support, until the Koch Brothers and oil companies began lobbying politicians. Warren said that the proposal is too complex to be explained in full but offered the audience a sample of some of her ideas. These included ending corporate lobbying, “blocking the revolving door between Wall-Street and Washington,”, and “making the Supreme Court follow basic rules of ethics” and a jab at President Trump. “Anyone who wants to run for federal office should have to put their tax returns online,.” Warren said.
Growing up, Warren’s family fell into financial distress due to her father’s health issues, and the bank almost foreclosed on their house. Warren’s mother was able to get a minimum wage job which saved the house and the family’s finances. Warren lamented that in 2019 minimum wage would not be enough to do this.
Warren also talked about the need to restore democracy in America. She said that the Electoral College needs to be abolished and that this would not require a constitutional amendment.
Warren said that to fix the problem of income inequality, the economy must be restructured. She said that large corporations have the freedom to do whatever they want without facing consequences. “They roll over their employees, they roll over their customers, they roll over their communities where they’re located and that’s going to keep happening until we can bring balance back into the system,” Warren said.
She said that the best way to balance power is by bringing more power to the workers. “We need to make it easier to join a union and we need to give unions their say. Unions built America’s middle class and unions will rebuild America’s middle class,” Warren said.
Warren also proposed a wealth tax. Warren said that her proposed wealth tax would actually be a property tax that includes luxury items like yachts in addition to real estate. Warren stressed that this wealth tax would only apply to those with a net worth over fifty million dollars. Warren said that the money from this wealth tax could be used to provide universal childcare and preschool, while leaving two trillion dollars leftover.
Warren also discussed her support for The Green New Deal.
Warren said she believes that there is more that unites the American people than divides them. “I think if we figure out how to make the government work for the people rather than the rich, I think a lot of our division will disappear,” said Warren.
Davis Bernstein helped organize the town hall meeting with the Keene State College Democrats and introduced Warren to the crowd. Bernstein believes that Warren would be able to heal some of the political polarization in America. “She has a really unifying message. She’s really good on foreign policy and a lot of things that will really benefit America. I think the Democrats are going to unify around reasonably anyone who is nominated,” Bernstein said.
Not everyone at the event was enthusiastic about Warren, however. Some people agree with Warren’s policies of fighting corruption and corporatism in America, but also feel Warren is tied to corruption herself. Keene community member Joseph Mirzoeff is bothered by Warren’s connections to Hillary Clinton. Mirzoeff called Clinton corrupt and said her values are the opposite of Warren’s.
“Why didn’t she come all out for Bernie and refrain from supporting Hillary?” Mirzoeff said. Mirzoeff believes that the Democratic Party used illegal means to nominate\ Clinton for the pPresidency, and feels that nominating Clinton cost them the election. In an election between Sanders and Trump, Mirzoeff believes that Sanders would have won. “Bernie was going to swamp Trump. I can’t believe they did what they did to nominate Hillary and they lost the election on account of it,” Mirzoeff said.
For more information on Warren and her campaign visit elizabethwarren.com.
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