Elizabeth Warren's brilliant beginning

She's running, and she's started with a strong opening shot.Elizabeth Warren...

Posted: Jan 2, 2019 4:10 AM
Updated: Jan 2, 2019 4:10 AM

She's running, and she's started with a strong opening shot.

Elizabeth Warren announced Monday that she is forming an exploratory committee for the presidency -- which is as good as saying she's running. It's the first major announcement of what will likely be a crowded Democratic primary in the 2020 race, and potentially the most diverse in history.

Elizabeth Warren

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Watching Warren's announcement video, you can see her priorities are clear: she wants economic and racial justice and recognizes that the two are neither identical nor severable (unlike too many others on the populist left who believe class is a singular unifying force and racism is a secondary "identity politics" issue solvable by economic changes alone). She recognizes that equality of opportunity isn't just about what class you were born into; it's also about how race and gender shape individual opportunity and mobility. Most strikingly, she doesn't issue a milquetoast call for unity and change, or demonize some amorphous threat to American families and prosperity. No, she names and shames her villains, from big banks who push for their own deregulation, to self-interested and moneyed politicians who cut their own taxes at the expense of the rest of us, to hate-mongers on Fox News and in the White House who peddle racism and misogyny to stir up an angry, bigoted Republican base. That's a kind of honesty at the expense of political feel-good-ism that we haven't seen much of in recent presidential politics.

With the vision laid out in her video, Warren has staked out what might just be the ideally unifying position for Democratic voters, at least some of whom are still smarting from (and waging proxy wars out of) the 2016 primary, in which Hillary Clinton beat Bernie Sanders. But while Warren may in theory be the perfect candidate to heal that rift, she's still a woman -- and that remains more of a liability than we may want to believe.

In 2016, many of the most vocal Bernie Sanders supporters were also some of the most vocal Clinton detractors, feeding into right-wing attacks and amplifying the narratives we now know were also pushed by Russian operatives seeking to sway the election for Donald Trump. Elections are almost never won and lost on a single factor, but this dynamic almost certainly contributed to Clinton's loss. Along the way, Clinton supporters suggested that their candidate was subject to wildly disproportionate criticism in part because she is a woman, and pointed out that even on the left, many are subconsciously and reflexively hostile to female ambition and pursuit of power.

Many of Clinton's detractors on the left met these observations with howls of indignation. It wasn't that she was a woman, they said -- it's because it was her. And then, inevitably, something along the lines of: "I would vote for Elizabeth Warren if she were running."

Well, now she is, so let's see how that plays out. My prediction: a lot of the same people who swore they weren't sexist because they would support a hypothetical Warren run will not in fact throw their weight behind an actual Warren run.

They should -- and so should Clinton fans. Or at the very least, we should all welcome a candidate like Warren into the inevitably crowded field. For some, her disputing the president's characterization of her racial identity was a huge misstep, playing into bad race science and undermining the right of Native Americans to decide tribal identity for themselves. Fair enough -- although, if we are really being fair, Warren didn't claim tribal membership or an allegiance to race science, and was rather trying to validate an oral family history that the President had smeared as a lie. In any case, one video intended to share her family history and shut up our bully of a President should hardly be disqualifying.

Maybe Warren really isn't your candidate -- that's okay, too. By the looks of it, there are going to be a great many contenders. She certainly faces an uphill battle based on gender, and those of us on the left should be particularly attuned to the ways in which another eminently qualified woman will inevitably be attacked and undermined for her appearance, her voice, and even a cherry-picking of her record not similarly applied to progressive men in the field.

But Warren has done us all an immense favor by kicking her campaign off the way she did: she is setting the narrative, and insisting it focuses on class and race, economic inequality and gender inequality, and all of the ways in which our identities, and America's history of racism and sexism indelibly shape who has opportunity, when and how.

It's a brilliant beginning, and even if she doesn't ultimately earn your vote, Warren has drawn the lines of the race -- and launched from a crucial starting point.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

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Cases: 450762

Reported Deaths: 6079
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin935111486
Ramsey40220742
Dakota33243348
Anoka31118366
Washington20282231
Stearns17957188
St. Louis13777244
Scott1203597
Wright11688106
Olmsted1062075
Sherburne823966
Carver698338
Clay654681
Rice613969
Kandiyohi555772
Blue Earth544833
Crow Wing486877
Otter Tail459367
Chisago455036
Benton421587
Winona391948
Douglas376666
Nobles372446
Mower369429
Goodhue351259
Polk330059
McLeod326546
Beltrami313248
Morrison312945
Lyon303338
Becker286939
Itasca285943
Isanti283241
Carlton282243
Steele275810
Pine267814
Freeborn249523
Todd232530
Nicollet226437
Brown215834
Mille Lacs214745
Le Sueur211716
Cass208424
Meeker200633
Waseca190716
Wabasha17293
Martin171326
Roseau166117
Hubbard149938
Redwood140627
Houston139014
Renville137840
Dodge13624
Chippewa131732
Cottonwood127818
Fillmore12535
Wadena120417
Rock110612
Sibley10897
Aitkin108533
Faribault107416
Watonwan10678
Pennington100315
Kanabec98018
Pipestone95523
Yellow Medicine93916
Murray8995
Jackson86310
Swift83818
Pope7425
Marshall70315
Stevens7038
Clearwater68614
Lac qui Parle65716
Lake65615
Wilkin6299
Koochiching59910
Lincoln4892
Big Stone4663
Unassigned43968
Grant4298
Norman4248
Mahnomen4137
Kittson37220
Red Lake3184
Traverse2553
Lake of the Woods1951
Cook1150

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

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Cases: 308737

Reported Deaths: 4391
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk46313460
Linn17916278
Scott15694167
Black Hawk13964242
Woodbury13064179
Johnson1220051
Dubuque11504157
Pottawattamie9086114
Dallas901872
Story875536
Webster470677
Cerro Gordo469972
Sioux458757
Clinton455065
Warren452039
Marshall429262
Buena Vista395230
Muscatine393078
Des Moines389243
Plymouth352269
Wapello347598
Jasper328559
Lee321132
Marion307252
Jones272949
Henry265831
Carroll257434
Bremer248048
Crawford233124
Washington221333
Boone221017
Benton210950
Mahaska196337
Jackson193931
Tama189559
Dickinson188129
Kossuth177744
Delaware174736
Clay170721
Wright166024
Fayette164123
Buchanan161023
Hamilton161030
Winneshiek159120
Harrison157362
Hardin156130
Cedar154419
Clayton153049
Butler149824
Page145415
Floyd140536
Cherokee139527
Mills138016
Lyon137033
Poweshiek134124
Hancock130824
Allamakee130029
Iowa126722
Calhoun12309
Grundy121927
Jefferson121625
Madison12169
Winnebago120829
Mitchell116436
Louisa115530
Cass114743
Chickasaw113312
Appanoose111540
Emmet111232
Sac111215
Union110223
Humboldt105819
Shelby104027
Guthrie103624
Franklin103118
Unassigned10000
Palo Alto91411
Montgomery87224
Keokuk85826
Howard84819
Monroe81419
Clarke8017
Pocahontas77811
Ida75430
Davis69721
Greene6977
Adair69320
Lucas6619
Monona65017
Osceola64510
Worth6154
Taylor5969
Fremont5206
Van Buren49914
Decatur4944
Ringgold44611
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Wayne41721
Adams2983
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