Elizabeth Warren forms 2020 exploratory committee and says ‘America’s middle class is under attack’ in bid to take on Trump as ultra-liberal Democrat
- Massachusetts senator, 69, becomes first major Democrat in elected office to make a solid move towards a 2020 run
- She forms ‘exploratory committee’ and issues video which highlights family ties to Oklahoma in bid to get over east-coast elite image
- Warren can now officially raise money for a run and has also changed her Twitter handle
- Trump has bashed her repeatedly as Pocahontas for claiming Native American descent
- DNA tests showing she was as little as 0.09 per cent Native American were seen as a PR disaster
- Only other big name to have a committee is ex-Obama housing chief Julian Castro, who set one up in November
Elizabeth Warren on Monday took the first major step toward launching a widely anticipated campaign for the presidency, hoping her reputation as a populist fighter can help her navigate a Democratic field that could include nearly two dozen candidates.
‘No matter what our differences, most of us want the same thing,’ the 69-year-old Massachusetts Democrat said in a video that highlights her family’s history in Oklahoma.
‘To be able to work hard, play by the same set of rules and take care of the people we love. That’s what I’m fighting for and that’s why today I’m launching an exploratory committee for president.’
Warren burst onto the national scene a decade ago during the financial crisis with calls for greater consumer protections.
Shes (almost) running: Massachusetts senator Elizabeth Warren used New Year’s Eve to announce she is setting up an exploratory committee for a 2020 bid
On the blocks: In an email to supporters, Warren said she’d more formally announce a campaign plan early in 2019. She can now raise money for a run
She quickly became one of the party’s more prominent liberals even as she sometimes fought with Obama administration officials over their response to the market turmoil.
Now, as a likely presidential contender, she is making an appeal to the party’s base. Her video notes the economic challenges facing people of color along with images of a women’s march and Warren’s participation at an LGBT event.
In an email to supporters, Warren said she’d more formally announce a campaign plan early in 2019.
Warren is the most prominent Democrat yet to make a move toward a presidential bid and has long been a favorite target of President Donald Trump.
In mid-December, former Obama housing chief Julian Castro also announced a presidential exploratory committee, which legally allows potential candidates to begin raising money. Outgoing Maryland Rep. John Delaney is the only Democrat so far to have formally announced a presidential campaign.
But that’s likely to change quickly in the new year as other leading Democrats take steps toward White House runs.
Warren enters a Democratic field that’s shaping up as the most crowded in decades, with many of her Senate colleagues openly weighing their own campaigns, as well as governors, mayors and other prominent citizens.
One of her most significant competitors could be Sen. Bernie Sanders, a Vermont independent who is eyeing another presidential run harnessing the same populist rhetoric.
She must also move past a widely panned October release of a DNA test meant to bolster her claim to Native American heritage.
The move was intended to rebut Trump’s taunts of Warren as ‘Pocahontas.’ Instead, her use of a genetic test to prove ethnicity spurred controversy that seemed to blunt any argument she sought to make.
There was no direct mention of it in the video released Monday.
Target: Donald Trump hit Elizabeth Warren repeatedly as a fake Indian-American and nicknamed her Pocahontas
Warren has the benefit of higher name recognition than many others in the Democratic mix for 2020, thanks to her years as a prominent critic of Wall Street who originally conceived of what became the government’s Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
She now faces an arduous battle to raise money and capture Democratic primary voters’ attention before Iowa casts its first vote in more than a year.
She has an advantage in the $12.5 million left over from her 2018 re-election campaign that she could use for a presidential run.
Warren’s campaign is likely to revolve around the same theme she’s woven into speeches and policy proposals in recent years: battling special interests, paying mind to the nexus between racial and economic inequities.
‘America’s middle class is under attack,’ Warren said in the video.
‘How did we get here? Billionaires and big corporations decided they wanted more of the pie. And they enlisted politicians to cut them a fatter slice.’
WHO ARE ALL THE DEMOCRATS OFFICIALLY RUNNING FOR THE PRESIDENCY IN 2020 SO FAR?
Age on Inauguration Day 2021: 57
Entered race: July 28, 2017
Career: Three-time Maryland congressman. Previously set up publicly-traded companies lending capital to healthcare and mid-size businesses
Family: Married father of four; wife April works for children’s issues nonprofit
Views on key issues: Social liberal in favor of legalized pot and gun control but not single-payer healthcare and fiscally conservative
Slogan: Focus on the Future
Age on Inauguration Day 2021: 46
Entered race: November 6, 2018
Career: Started a dotcom flop then become healthcare and education tech executive who set up nonprofit Venture for America
Family: Married father of two; would be first Asian American nominee
Views on key issues: Warns of rise of robots and artificial intelligence, wants $1,000 a month universal basic income and social media regulated
Slogan: Humanity First
Age on Inauguration Day 2021: 50
Entered race: November 12, 2018
Career: Tattooed Army paratrooper officer with combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan awarded disability by VA; then high school teacher and West Virginia state senator. Lost 2018 run for Congress
Family: Married father of two; wife is paid caregiver for his combat-related disabilities; grandfather was illegal immigrant from Mexico
Views on key issues: Populist union booster who backed teachers’ strike in West Virginia; wants lobbyists banned; voted for Trump in 2016 but regrets it
Slogan: To be announced