Nevertheless, she persisted. As a young female pursuing a career in politics, this phrase deeply resonates with me.
This sticker will undoubtedly remain glued to my laptop until it’s completely faded, by which point it will be impossible to get off anyway. I gifted my cousin a cork placemat with the same slogan, for completing her medical degree. For my mother, a fridge magnet. And for my best friend of twenty years graduating in December, a card with the slogan front and center. I guess this is also quite a good way to test if she reads my blog posts.
To me, Warren epitomizes the fact that females should be in high power positions, with an incredibly strong will, and a determination that is perhaps even stronger than our male counterparts in politics. This is certainly the feeling that I experienced whilst watching Elizabeth Warren speak. It is the same impression that I get from Kamala Harris and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC). All three women are ridiculously inspirational to our generation at the moment, especially as a female. I would certainly recommend you-tubing them publically speak or debate.
It is no secret that the United States needs big structural change. They also need significantly tighter gun reform laws, and a lot needs to be done to the healthcare system. The number of mass shootings is disgusting, as is the number of individual shootings that occur daily across the US. Whilst in Iowa, we attended a Gun Sense Forum, whereby the majority of the political candidates attended to address what they would do for gun control. Gun survivors and the victims’ families also attended and shared their stories, and asked the candidates questions. To hear the heartache that so many families have had to go through, and the number of people that had lost multiple family members to gun violence, was devastating. Elizabeth Warren’s gun control reform couldn’t be much more extensive, and I strongly recommend reading it, particularly if you are a U.S. citizen: https://elizabethwarren.com/plans/gun-violence
I was speaking to a couple whilst door knocking, and the woman had diabetes. The cost of insulin had almost crippled their family in debt multiple times. Warren is advocating for Universal Healthcare (Medicare for all). This is a right we easily take for granted in the UK. Speaking to families that desperately need and deserve this right, brought to light just how blessed we are to have never had to live through a time without our NHS.
One of the key elements that we talked about in the campaign involved Warren having a plan for literally everything. It is often hard to keep up, but when you look at just her key policies, you can see just how extensive they are. Unlike so many governments, including the UK, instead of just having an aspiration, Warren has a plan. My hope is that by reading these key policies you will have more of an insight into the problems that need addressing in the U.S.
Her key policies are:
- End Washington Corruption
Washington works for the wealthy and well-connected. Big companies and the wealthy are allowed to spend billions each year to influence Congress and Federal agencies, putting their interests above public interests. To solve this deep-rooted corruption, Warren has proposed the most ambitious set of anti-corruption laws since Watergate, fundamentally changing the way Washington does business. This will be achieved by ending lobbying as we know it, shutting the ‘revolving door’ between Wall Street and Washington, making the Supreme Court follow a code of ethics, and forcing every single candidate for federal office to put their tax returns online. Everyone who lobbies would have to register, foreign governments would be unable to hire Washington lobbyists, and lobbyists would also be unable to move freely in and out of government jobs. Crucially here, Warren has integrity. She does not accept any contributions from PACs of any kind or federally registered lobbyists. By closing the ‘revolving door’ Warren assures that senators and congressmen will permanently be banned from trading stocks in office and becoming lobbyists when they retire. This will end the dominance of money in Washington, “by taking power away from the rich and powerful and putting it back where it belongs…with the American people themselves”.
- Rebuild the Middle Class
The United States has seen decades of largely flat wages, exploding household costs, and people of colour have been shut out of their chance to build wealth. Warren wants to put the power back in the hands of workers and unions. Second, she wants to transform large American companies by letting workers elect at least forty percent of the company’s board members, giving them a voice in decisions involving wages and outsourcing, and establish strong antitrust enforcement in order to stop giant corporations stifling competition, depressing wages and driving up the costs. Warren recognises that the government needs to stop handing out huge tax giveaways to the rich and giant corporations and start asking those who have gained the most to pay their fair share. This includes an Ultra-Millionaire Tax. This tax would be put on the US’s 75,000 richest families. This alone, Warren states, will produce trillions which could build an economy that works for everyone. This economy would have universal childcare, student loan debt relief, down payments on a new green deal, and Medicare for all. This could also bring down rents by 10% across the US and create 1.5 million jobs. This tax has unsurprisingly been rather controversial, and I am yet to conclude whether I find it to be an effective and fair proposal.
- Strengthen their Democracy
Warren believes that democracy is a threat at home and abroad. To start, she wants a constitutional amendment. This is to protect the right of every single American to not only vote, but have their vote counted. Next, “our democracy is not for sale”, Warren intends on ending the influence of big money on elections. This means overturning Citizens United. It means ending unwritten rules which require everyone who wants to run for office to start by sucking up to rich donors and Washington insiders. This means no more donations from federal lobbyists, or from PAC’s, and it means no more Billionaire Super PAC’s. Warren also pledges to overturn every single voter suppression law that racist politicians use in order to steal votes from people of colour.
“When foreign governments sow division, attack our democracy and interfere in our elections, we must fight back and hold them accountable”.
- Equal Justice Under Law
These four words are etched above the Supreme Court. This is supposedly the promise of the U.S. justice system. Unfortunately, in reality, there is one system for the rich and powerful, and one for everybody else. For example, for exactly the same crime, African Americans are more likely to get arrested, charged, convicted or sentenced than another white American. The U.S. needs criminal justice reform. This will end racial disparities, ban private prisons, embrace community policing, demilitarize local police forces, have comprehensive sentencing reform, and rewrite the laws to decriminalize marijuana. The latter has already been initiated in multiple states across the U.S., for example in California. Equal justice means that everybody will be held accountable when they break the law. In addition to this Warren has a new commitment to prosecuting giant corporations and their leaders when they cheat customers, rob their workers and stamp out competitors.
- A Foreign Policy for All
Endless wars have strained military families. Trade policies have been crushing the Middle Class. Washington’s foreign policy has been serving the rich and well connected at other’s expense. Warren pledges to strengthen labour standards, and then fight to enforce them. She will stop prioritizing corporate profits over American paychecks. For Warren, “a strong military should act as a deterrent so that most of the time, we won’t have to use it”. All the tools of their national power should be leveraged, and not just their military might. The bloated defense budget needs to be cut. This will also end the ‘stranglehold’ of defense contractors on military policy. This will free up resources to be reinvested in diplomacy. It will mean standing with their allies to advance shared interests. It will produce new solutions to new global challenges (from cybersecurity to climate change). A new foreign policy is essential to not only the U.S. but its allies and the rest of the World.
The U.S.’s foreign policy took them into Iraq and Afghanistan. Our close relationship with the U.S. took our troops into Iraq and Afghanistan. This is one of the main reasons I am so invested in U.S. politics. Our relationship to the United States, and their global status, has often resulted in our foreign policy being closely aligned. But the Iraq war should never have happened, and our soldiers died as a result of it. Whilst I marginally understand the reasoning behind the war in Afghanistan I completely condemn the way the war was carried out and continued. The number of innocent lives lost is disgusting. It is time for a strong military to act as a deterrent, and for diplomacy to be used correctly and be at the forefront of foreign policy.
Not only are Warren’s policies amongst some of the most detailed and extensive I have ever seen, but her personality is also incredible. Hundreds of people show up to her rallies, and she ensures that she engages with every single person who wants to. Whilst a lot of candidates are rushed off after their speech, stopping to give the odd few handshakes and photos, Warren swaps her heels for trainers and kicks off her famous selfie line. Even when we rallied for her at the Wing Ding, she got out of her campaign tour bus, and came and gave every one of us a hug and some motivational words. The woman really is just great. I remember at one of our training days they were telling us how her campaign thought it just couldn’t happen when she first announced her plan. But she persisted because she never wanted anyone to leave feeling even slightly disappointed.
I know it may seem like I have majorly tried to sell Elizabeth Warren to you, and I’m totally fine with that because I believe in her integrity. I believe she can bring the change that the U.S. needs and deserves. I am realistic to the fact that campaigns are often incredibly overstated, in the U.S. and in the UK. Do I believe that every single thing Warren plans will be easily achieved? No, I don’t. But the point is, she is an integral leader who sees where change needs to happen and how to achieve it. And that is why I am proud to say that I was part of her presidential campaign this summer.