[Marxism] NYT: "What Warren is telling Democratic Insiders"
1999wildcat at gmail.com
Mon Aug 26 14:45:51 MDT 2019
When combined with the increasing worry that some of the tops of the
capitalist class feel (e.g. the Business Roundtable), plus the clear
incompetence of Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren might just be the more
What Elizabeth Warren Is Quietly Telling Democratic Insiders
- Aug. 26, 2019
Updated 4:30 p.m. ET
SAN FRANCISCO — When Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts addressed a
few hundred donors last week at a fund-raiser for the Democratic National
Committee, she called for “big, structural change” and hurled her familiar
populist lightning bolts at the forces of concentrated wealth.
But Ms. Warren did not attend the event just to recite her stump speech.
She had another, more tailored message for the Democratic check writers,
state party leaders and committee members who were gathered at the elegant
Fairmont San Francisco.
“Last year, I was running for re-election, but I didn’t hold back,” she
said, reminding attendees that in the midterms she had helped more than 160
congressional candidates and nearly 20 hopefuls in governors’ races. “In
fact, I raised or gave more than $11 million helping get Democrats elected
up and down the ballot around the country” and “sent contributions to all
50 state parties, the national committees and the redistricting fight.”
Her point was easy to grasp: While her liberal agenda may be further left
than some in the Democratic establishment would prefer, she is a team
player who is seeking to lead the party — not stage a hostile takeover of
Most of the other White House contenders are, of course, also wooing party
officials. But the more establishment-aligned candidates like former Vice
President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and Senator Kamala Harris of California do
not face the same questions about their visions for party politics. And
interviews with about two dozen Democrats who have been in contact with Ms.
Warren reveal that her style of courtship has been unusually determined.
Troy Price, the chairman of Iowa’s Democratic Party, said Ms. Warren called
him the day he was re-elected to his post last year, immediately after the
midterm elections and on the day she entered the race.
“All of the sudden the cellphone is ringing and it’s her — not a staffer,”
added J. David Cox, the president of the American Federation of Government
Employees, calling Ms. Warren “the most aggressive” of the Democratic
contenders in pursuing him.
Ms. Warren’s wooing could prove important should the nominating contest
deadlock at the Democratic National Convention next summer: Many of the
officials she is courting are so-called superdelegates, who are able to
cast a binding vote should the primary go beyond a first ballot.
Beyond the potential electoral advantages, the relationships Ms. Warren is
cultivating could prove just as powerful for symbolic purposes.
While in San Francisco, Ms. Warren met privately with Randi Weingarten, the
president of the American Federation of Teachers, who in 2016 was one of
Ms. Clinton’s most outspoken supporters in the labor movement. Ms. Warren
and Ms. Weingarten have developed a close relationship, frequently talking
about education issues, and Ms. Weingarten recalled how the senator reached
out to her with encouraging words when her union sued Betsy DeVos, the
education secretary, over a student loan forgiveness program.
Then there is Representative Raúl Grijalva of Arizona, who was Mr.
Sanders’s first congressional supporter in the 2016 election but who is now
backing Ms. Warren.
So is Representative Deb Haaland of New Mexico, who last year became one of
the first Native American women elected to Congress.
Ms. Haaland attended the San Francisco fund-raiser, sporting a Warren lapel
pin, just a few days after she introduced and defended Ms. Warren at a
forum dedicated to Native American issues
Iowa. After being sharply criticized from the right and the left for
claiming Native American ancestry, Ms. Warren has apologized and taken down
a 2018 video from her campaign website in which she trumpeted the results
of a DNA test examining her heritage.
Ms. Haaland said that Ms. Warren helped raise money for her campaign last
year and that the two had met in the senator’s office and over tea in Ms.
Warren’s condominium this year.
“We’re friends, we text each other,” said the congresswoman, noting that
she and Ms. Warren were also working together on legislation to establish
universal child care and to provide resources to Native Americans.
While Ms. Warren has been careful to avoid directly criticizing Mr.
Sanders, her regular references to being a capitalist withstanding, she is
also quietly taking steps within the party to make clear that she does
not want to create a competing power base should she become president.
She was one of the first Democratic candidates to sign a pledge circulated
last month by the Association of State Democratic Committees
not to create any parallel political or organizing infrastructure that
would compete with the national or state Democratic parties.
The same pledge, which was shared by a Democratic official, also includes a
promise “to share all of my data collected during the presidential campaign
with the D.N.C. and with state parties.”
The state leaders were trying to ensure that the eventual nominee would
turn over his or her fund-raising list and any voter file that was
compiled for future races. More broadly, they also wanted to ensure that
the nominee’s political organization is housed within the architecture of
This was done partly out of concern over Mr. Sanders, who has refused to
share his 2016 supporter list with the party. (The senator’s aides are
quick to note that he has raised nearly $10 million for Democratic
candidates and committees dating to his first presidential bid.)
But party leaders are just as concerned about the actions of former
President Barack Obama: The Democratic National Committee wants to ensure
that its nominee has no designs on creating a competing political entity in
the mold of Mr. Obama’s Organizing for America, which aimed to push his
agenda as president. Many Democrats fault it for weakening the party
infrastructure because it diverted money and focus from the committee.
Ms. Warren’s outreach, though, extends well beyond the committee. Armed
with call sheets compiled by her staff, the senator spends much of her time
in transit on her phone, dialing up lawmakers, local party leaders and
liberal activists. If she is not talking on the phone, she is often texting
or writing personal notes.
Claire Celsi, an Iowa state senator who has said she is considering
supporting Ms. Warren and Ms. Harris, recalled receiving a note and an
inscribed copy of Ms. Warren’s book “This Fight Is Our Fight” this year.
Ms. Warren’s campaign events often begin out of public view, when she meets
with a small groups of Democratic officials in gatherings, called
“clutches,” for pictures and a few minutes of conversation. While the size
of her crowd last week in St. Paul — roughly 12,000, her campaign said —
drew headlines and attention on social media, her meeting beforehand with a
few state lawmakers may have been even more memorable for them.
That was the case for Lisa DeMio, the chairwoman of the Democratic town
committee in Hampstead, N.H., who met with Ms. Warren before the senator’s
town-hall-style meeting in Derry last month.
“It was a little more intimate,” said Ms. DeMio, adding that, while she
cannot officially endorse in her capacity as chairwoman, Ms. Warren is her
first choice personally.
There are other Democrats like Ms. DeMio who can’t, or probably won’t,
endorse Ms. Warren but who nevertheless have been on the receiving end of
her personal touch.
The senator has emailed with Tom Vilsack, a former Iowa governor and
agriculture secretary who has a longstanding relationship with Mr. Biden,
to ask about agricultural policy, according to Democrats familiar with
Gilda Cobb-Hunter, a state representative in South Carolina, said even
though she had made clear that she would not endorse in the primary race,
Ms. Warren had reached out to her several times. “She’s persistent but not
pushy — she doesn’t do the real hard sell,” Ms. Cobb-Hunter said. “Her
staff does the soft follow up.”
That is sure to happen again next week, when Ms. Warren heads to South
Carolina State University for a town-hall-style meeting as a guest of one
of the university’s most famous graduates, Representative James E. Clyburn,
to discuss a bill they have jointly introduced related to student loan
debt. Mr. Clyburn has long been an ally of Mr. Biden.
*“In politics, abstract terms conceal treachery.” *from "The Black
Jacobins" by C. L. R. James
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