Warren is the Ideal 2020 Candidate

By Edward Sheehan

In a recent essay, I argued that Michelle Obama would make a bad presidential candidate in the 2020 election.

This week, by contrast, I will argue in favor of a candidate. Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts has been gearing up for a presidential run for months now, building teams in important primary states and reaching out to new Democratic candidates around the country.

In my opinion, Warren would be the ideal 2020 candidate for the Democrats, and I would fully support her.

First off, we must remember that before she entered politics, Warren had an entire career during which she studied the most important issue of our day.

While most of her competitors for the nomination were trying to score internships or run for office, Warren led the field in researching how stagnant wages and debt traps were wreaking havoc on the American middle class.

She did not become a known public figure until after the recession of 2008, when she made a name for herself as one of the only public figures who could coherently explain how an economy built around bad debts and too-easy money made such a crash inevitable.

During her first campaign for the Senate in 2012, her line about how the rich didn’t build their fortunes alone was borrowed by the Obama re-election campaign to great effect.

In the Senate, she criticized Democrats and Republicans alike for being beholden to the same political forces that caused the 2008 recession.

Elizabeth Warren, if elected, would be the most qualified figure for the presidency in decades. Indeed, her entire adult life has prepared her for that job.

But that alone isn’t the only reason why Warren deserves support; she can also articulate a vision in a way ordinary people can understand.

Usually, the personal biographies of politicians are of little import. But Elizabeth Warren’s biography is almost a resume showing that she understands the problems of our current day and age.

She was born to a struggling family in rural Oklahoma. She was an apolitical Republican until the mid 90’s. Most politicians in our modern day and age come from wealth, and even those who claim a middle-class background turn out to have been the children of affluent professionals.

Warren, on the other hand, talks a great deal about the genuine financial precarity that marked her youth. In contrast to the many members of Congress who have been working for their political careers since they were 12, Warren was apolitical well into her adult life, and only ran for office after the crash of 2008. This means she is uniquely equipped to talk to the sort of people who are disillusioned with or disinterested in our politics.

Many worry that a figure as loathed by Republicans as Warren might lose to President Trump, but I honestly disagree. In our hyper-partisan climate, the chances of any Democrat winning over Republican voters in significant enough numbers to swing the election are negligible.

What Warren can do is win over the millions of voters who were inspired by Obama’s message but did not bother to vote for Hillary Clinton. Those are the votes the Democrats will need to win in 2020, and I am not convinced many other candidates can win them.

Additionally, Warren can unite a party still divided over the bloody 2016 Presidential Primary between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, combining the identity politics of the former with the social democratic populism of the latter. All these qualifications make her a very powerful candidate.

Now, Warren isn’t perfect. Her decision to attempt to resolve the longstanding controversy over her contested Native American background via a DNA test was asinine and will only drag out a controversy she should be trying to put behind her.

Additionally, she is a Massachusetts liberal in a party where many remember the 1988 defeat of Michael Dukakis and the 2004 defeat of John Kerry. I also worry that in a primary contested between Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders, she might be squeezed in the middle and drowned out.

But, with all of that said, perfect isn’t on the menu, and in terms of issues and background, Warren is possibly the best candidate on offer.


Edward Sheehan, FCRH ’22, is a history major from Needham, Massachusettes.