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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Hillary Clinton

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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: 912370

Reported Deaths: 9506
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin1780492023
Ramsey736781043
Dakota67355574
Anoka63852570
Washington40349356
Stearns33475276
St. Louis29443403
Scott25842181
Wright25830216
Olmsted22258128
Sherburne18919126
Carver1661066
Clay12033104
Blue Earth1144868
Rice11410138
Crow Wing11170122
Chisago992378
Kandiyohi9800106
Otter Tail9758127
Benton9018125
Beltrami816094
Goodhue805597
Douglas7849100
Itasca769597
Mower731249
McLeod710983
Winona708657
Isanti697883
Steele682731
Morrison671579
Becker627174
Polk599484
Freeborn559646
Carlton543474
Mille Lacs529474
Lyon527261
Nobles524754
Nicollet521160
Pine512642
Cass500553
Todd490743
Brown469757
Le Sueur457733
Meeker431457
Martin385843
Wabasha373610
Waseca372332
Dodge359811
Hubbard354749
Roseau315531
Fillmore304315
Wadena301740
Redwood281245
Houston270717
Renville268051
Faribault257032
Pennington251030
Sibley251017
Kanabec248136
Cottonwood229232
Aitkin221550
Chippewa219442
Pope206710
Watonwan197420
Yellow Medicine187723
Rock177428
Koochiching176023
Swift172622
Stevens167011
Jackson160816
Clearwater157520
Marshall153122
Murray151811
Pipestone149529
Lake132224
Lac qui Parle122125
Wilkin120616
Mahnomen105914
Norman10489
Grant101110
Big Stone9465
Lincoln8745
Kittson73023
Red Lake71310
Unassigned629124
Traverse6056
Lake of the Woods5255
Cook3070

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

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Cases: 523052

Reported Deaths: 7289
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk80319799
Linn32142424
Scott26637292
Black Hawk21974378
Woodbury20490258
Johnson19778105
Dubuque18515241
Pottawattamie15890213
Dallas15320113
Story1380258
Warren8450104
Cerro Gordo7964123
Clinton7725114
Webster7326122
Des Moines7098105
Marshall669093
Unassigned66470
Muscatine6645117
Wapello6441144
Jasper619591
Sioux610177
Lee5908105
Marion557897
Buena Vista502149
Plymouth488388
Henry418655
Benton404859
Jones404862
Bremer395372
Washington391463
Boone389739
Carroll367755
Mahaska365365
Crawford353747
Dickinson314655
Jackson307747
Buchanan305741
Clay295536
Delaware294654
Kossuth289077
Fayette286353
Hardin284353
Tama279777
Page272533
Wright266149
Cedar265527
Hamilton259857
Winneshiek258143
Floyd255449
Clayton244459
Poweshiek237243
Madison234525
Harrison234379
Cass233466
Butler232744
Iowa229634
Jefferson223043
Mills220930
Winnebago215938
Hancock214639
Cherokee211347
Lyon206142
Appanoose205357
Allamakee203955
Calhoun196919
Shelby196442
Union191141
Humboldt185130
Grundy183637
Franklin183029
Mitchell182043
Chickasaw178922
Emmet178246
Louisa176953
Sac171026
Guthrie168137
Montgomery161745
Clarke160829
Keokuk150839
Palo Alto150532
Howard146824
Monroe142739
Ida130141
Greene127517
Davis124625
Lucas124426
Monona122939
Worth12139
Pocahontas120724
Adair114337
Osceola104818
Decatur101913
Taylor98514
Fremont95913
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