Thursday, July 26, 2018

Is Elizabeth Warren the new front runner for 2020&$63;

Elizabeth Warren
Front runner?

Perhaps not (yet). But she is taking the fight to Trump, every day, every minute, or so it seems.

Rebecca Traister, Columnist, the Cut, reports on Leader of the Persistence Elizabeth Warren’s full-body fight to defeat Trump. You could subtitle it “front runner” as did NY Magazine for its cover story.

It’s a very long story so I don’t think I can capture it all in a few snippets but I will give it a go anyway.

Massachusetts senator Elizabeth Warren is in constant motion. She often takes stages at a run, zigzagging around the edges of crowds, waving and giving high fives like Bruce Springsteen. Speaking to groups of supporters, she rocks on her feet, or rises to her tiptoes, with feeling; occasionally she tucks her mic under her arm to clap for herself or cuts the air in front of her with her flat palm. She’ll beat her chest for emphasis, speak so passionately that she gets winded, and throw a fist in the air as a symbol of defiance and determination. One afternoon in Nevada, perched on a punishingly high stool in front of several hundred people at a brewery, she kicked her feet out in front of her with such force that I feared she’d tip over backward.

Watching Warren this steamy summer as she works to move her party through the perilous wilderness of the Donald Trump administration, through the midterms and her own reelection to the Senate, and then perhaps toward a run for the presidency, she appears to have committed her whole body to the effort. Like if she stops moving, the whole world will end.

The battles have burned hottest with Trump himself; it’s clear that Warren scares the president nearly as much as that other 60-something white grandma did, and he devotes an inordinate amount of energy to insulting her. He’s built one of his reliably racist shticks around his nickname for her, “Pocahontas” — deploying it at least 26 times between 2014 and 2017 — in reference to her claim as a young law professor from Oklahoma that she was part Cherokee. A former college debater, Warren has been assiduous in her commitment to bark back at him, riling him further with tweets about his “trash talk” and “incompetence,” calling him “creepy” and a “thin-skinned bully who thinks humiliating women at 3am qualifies him to be President.”

Warren’s willingness to sink her teeth into the president’s ankles has turned out to be a smart tactical move. It puts her in the news cycle right along with him, while most Democrats struggle to get a spot of media time in a landscape dominated by Trump. The day after his Helsinki performance, Warren is aghast. “It was a fictional moment, only it was reality,” she exclaims. “Never before have I seen a president attack America at the same time he’s doing a public display of affection for a dictator.”

In the very near past, much of Warren’s agenda would have been considered untenably far left, but now it’s practically standard for serious Democratic contenders. She wants to reverse the new corporate tax benefits and invest in stemming the opioid crisis, bring college costs down, institute single-payer health care, alleviate consumer debt, strenuously regulate financial institutions. She talks about passing the Dream Act and enacting humane immigration reform, shrinking the race and gender wage gaps, remaking the criminal-justice system — “instead of jailing some kid who gets caught with a few ounces of pot, let’s put the banker who financed the drug deals in jail” — and passing a constitutional amendment to establish the unfettered right of eligible Americans to vote.

But first she has to train this puppy. [The puppy’s name is Bailey.]

Warren and her husband, Bruce Mann, greet me at the door of their Cambridge house on a morning in early July. Mann, whom Warren met soon after the end of her first marriage, and whom she proposed to and wed in 1980, appears (at least to an outsider’s eye) to be one of those Good Husbands™, in the Marty Ginsburg mold. A Harvard law professor and historian of bankruptcy, Mann radiates both adoration and admiration for his wife. He stands still while she’s in motion; he smiles as she talks; he commutes to D.C. whenever his class schedule permits. Last summer, for their anniversary, he installed shelving in their D.C. home because he knows how much Warren likes organized closets and also that she has no time to hang shelves. This summer, he gave her a different kind of gift.

As we speak near the front door, a small crash echoes from the back of the house, as if perhaps a piece of furniture were being dragged across a stone floor.

“Is that — ” I ask.

“Yup,” Warren replies. “That’s the puppy.”

I knew there was a deeper reason I liked Elizabeth Warren. She’s a dog person. Check out the instagram photo.

It’s younger people, along with women recently awakened to activism and some experts who’ve been tracking the unprecedented wave of female candidates winning Democratic primaries, who aren’t just optimistic but enthusiastic about her potential. They say that she is a brawler and thus the candidate that this historical moment demands, that she’s the perfect person — left, female, and furious — to avenge the loss of Hillary while also bringing to the White House a politics far more progressive than Clinton ever would have.

After we talk on her sun porch, Warren has to rush to that big outdoor town hall in Natick. But before she goes, she has an alteration to make. She’s ordered a bunch of gauzy open-front cardigans to put over her uniform of black pants and a black tank top. They cost about $13 each, she says, but they’re too long, hit her too far down the thigh, so she’s planning to cut the bottom off the aqua one she’s about to wear.

I point out that if she just chops it with scissors, the knit will come unraveled. She shoots me a slightly withering look: “Well of course it will unravel, but it will just roll up at the bottom.” Fair enough …

"You know what I love to do?” she offers. “I love to go to Target with Amelia and just spend the day there.” Her daughter, Amelia, is the mother of Octavia and Warren’s two younger grandchildren; she lives in L.A. “We just wander around in there, look at the patio furniture, the pajama section. It’s like six hours of tuning out.” You spend six hours at Target? asks a staffer who’s there to accompany us to Natick. Warren looks up, surprised. “Well, not just at Target. We go to BJ’s; we each have things we like to eat there. Then I get the socks I like at Macy’s.” Warren’s voice gets softer. She’s talking mostly to the sweater now. “It’s just a few hours, six hours that I don’t have to think about Mitch McConnell. That’s all I need.”

Here is a 69-year-old woman, scissoring the bottom off a cheap sweater at her kitchen island as a lunatic white patriarch of a president rages against her, using his tiny thumbs and a social-media platform. On some level, it feels absurd — the contrast between the enormously consequential political fights and the people waging them, each small in his or her own way. There’s a muffled crash from upstairs, where Bailey is playing, perhaps with Granddad and Octavia.

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