Op-ed

Elizabeth Warren: woman of the people or patsy for the rich?

Photo: Elizabeth Warren via Flickr.

It’s no party secret that Senator Elizabeth Warren is currently one of the more popular candidates for the democratic nomination for president. In fact, according to a recent poll conducted by Monmouth University, Senator Warren has been polling ahead of ahead of former Vice President Joe Bidden by at least 20 points, a nasty knock to Biden after polling ahead of his rivals in the summer.

Warren’s headway in the polls can be attributed to various factors, but it mostly correlates with her populist rhetoric. Talking points for her have included revitalizing healthcare, stepping up United States involvement in handling the climate crisis, tackling the student debt crisis, imposing new regulations on Wall Street, helping to protect reproductive rights for women and enacting new laws to prevent military-grade firearms from being bought and sold at large and a slew of other important causes.

But while Elizabeth Warren is more forward-thinking than other candidates on the Democratic ticket such as Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, Beto O’Rourke, Pete Buttigieg, John Delaney and Andrew Yang, she is still not as radical as her campaign want voters to believe. As progressive as some of her talking points may appear, we have heard these kinds of grand promises from Democratic candidates before, only to have them backslide on them to cater to the whims of the party hierarchy and Wall Street donors.

This problem with Elizabeth Warren’s faux populism is shown in her rhetoric, such as when she had a sit down with CNBC editor John Harwood back in 2018. When asked by Harwood on whether she thought capitalists were bad people, she replied, “I am a capitalist. I believe in markets. I love what markets can do; I love what functioning economies can do. They are what make us rich, they are what create opportunity. But only fair markets, markets with rules. Markets without rules is about the rich take it all, it’s about the powerful get all of it.”

This may not sound all that bad at first, but when put into context of the rest of what she has been saying on the campaign trail, it becomes more suspicious, such as her courting of Democratic party officials and their big-money donors. In an article from The New York Times titled “What Elizabeth Warren is Quietly Telling Democratic Insiders,” the senator from Massachusetts has shown herself to be more in lockstep with the hierarchy of the Democratic party and its wealthy contributors than she may want her voters to know.

The point of Warren being there is obvious to people who are politically savvy: while her politics maybe be more bold than other party members, she will eschew upsetting the governing neoliberal ideology of the party and not make waves by pushing any kind of ‘political revolution.’

At the private fundraiser for contrubutors of the party held at the Fairmont Hotel San Francisco, Warren spouted her normal rhetoric about “big changes,” ironic in how it was served up to the monied class attendees, but also took the time to reaffirm her loyalty to the party. As NYT author Jonathan Martin quotes in his article of Warren, “Last year, I was running for re-election, but I didn’t hold back… In fact, I raised or gave more than $11 million helping get Democrats elected up and down the ballot around the country… sent contributions to all 50 state parties, the national committees, and the redistricting fight.”

The point of Warren being there is obvious to people who are politically savvy: while her politics maybe be more bold than other party members, she will eschew upsetting the governing neoliberal ideology of the party and not make waves by pushing any kind of “political revolution.”

Warren’s supporters might decry any criticism of her, possibly this piece, by saying she is “more electable” than the other candidates, a term that really is a myth and means next to nothing in greater context. Those same supporters may say that Warren is more “in tune” with the political on-goings in Washington D.C. and therefore more politically savvy given her background as a professor from Harvard Law and her time spent on the various congressional committees that deal with important issues such as protecting the rights of the consumer. However, this pedigree matters little as she remains on the side of wealthy elites, believing the problem is merely a few bad eggs within the system and not the hyper-exploitative nature of the system itself. Last is the idea that if you don’t vote for her, you automatically hate women. I would hope that most voters will not take that kind of sectarian idiocy at face value.

This has been shown in two cases. One being a CNN town hall in which one guest asked whether she would support the public ownership of energy utilities, to which she expressed serious doubt. The other being President Trump’s remark during his state of the union address where claimed that the United States “will never be a socialist country” to which Elizabeth Warren stood and applauded him, right alongside other neoliberals like Nancy Pelosi.

The message of this op-ed is not to say that Elizabeth Warren is a greedy or vain human being; that title goes to our current president. The problem, however, is that Senator Warren believes that she can put forth real change. If our neoliberal order of the day proves anything, it proves that when change threatens the status quo of capitalism, then capitalism will smother change in its bed.

Kelly Baker is a fifth-year student majoring in English with minors in journalism and film criticism. KB19687@wcupa.edu

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