Elizabeth Warren: Bernie, but for Capitalists!

Credit: Elizabeth Warren

This Spring, the Berkeley Public Policy Journal will profile the (many) candidates vying to become the next President of the United States. Starting Tuesday, March 5 – a calendar year before Super Tuesday – BPPJ will feature weekly posts written by Goldman students who are taking a look at who’s running and why. We note that these posts feature author opinions that do not represent BPPJ, the Goldman School of Public Policy, or UC Berkeley.

By Lisa McCorkell

Elizabeth Warren officially launched her candidacy for President of the United States on February 9, 2019, announcing that “this is the fight of our lives.” Warren is a United States Senator who has represented Massachusetts since 2012. Prior to her political career, she was a law professor with a focus in bankruptcy and consumer protection. She then advocated for and led the creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Since stepping into politics, she has become known for her persistence, opposition to President Trump, and DNA test blunder.

Senator Warren plans to release detailed progressive policy proposals which will likely pull the field of Democratic candidates to the left as the primaries heat up. She believes that the country needs big, structural changes, an assertion that is music to the progressive left’s ears, but doesn’t go so far as to embrace socialism like her bird-loving colleague does. The issues her campaign is championing include:

  1. Ending Government Corruption: In August, Senator Warren introduced the Anti-Corruption and Public Integrity Act. The act would end lobbying as we know it, encourages transparency, and closes the revolving door between Wall Street and Washington. Ending corruption is a core focus of her campaign, with calls for taking power away from the rich and giving it back to the American public (although, did they ever really have it?).
  2. Universal Childcare: Drawing from her own experience as a mom (she’s not just a dog mom, you know), Senator Warren is proposing universal access to affordable and high-quality childcare funded by an Ultra-Millionaire Tax on the 75,000 richest families in America. She actually consulted with Berkeley economists on the details of the tax, which will also fund student loan debt relief and put a down payment on Medicare for All and the Green New Deal.
  3. Strengthening Democracy: In order to ensure that another Trump could never become President again, Senator Warren is advocating for a constitutional amendment that protects the rights of American citizens to vote as well as for Citizens United to be overturned.

Despite owning policies that poll well among progressives, Senator Warren has often been called “divisive” and “shrill.” If that type of rhetoric sounds familiar, it should. It’s eerily similar to comments pundits made about Hillary Clinton in her run for president. While no woman is a stranger to facing gender bias, Senator Warren will need to ensure that her policies are distinct enough from her male counterparts’ to overcome being “Hillary-ed.” That being said, with her solid base, consistent message, and “let’s work within capitalism” attitude, Senator Warren will likely be a frontrunner in the primaries, and she could have a good shot at being the candidate who finally breaks through that seemingly impenetrable presidential glass ceiling.

Lisa McCorkell is a Master of Public Policy candidate at the Goldman School of Public Policy and a Senior Editor of the Berkeley Public Policy Journal.

This article is an opinion piece, and the opinions expressed represent the author alone. The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent those of the Berkeley Public Policy Journal, the Goldman School of Public Policy, or UC Berkeley.