After the 2016 presidential election, protests erupted nationwide. Supporters of Hillary Clinton, the Democratic nominee, were afraid and outraged by the election of Donald Trump. However, this outrage was tinged with hope that Trump’s presidency would be cut short after one term in the 2020 presidential election.
The 2020 primary race is already well underway, with over 20 candidates running campaigns and six subsequently dropping out. In a little over five months, Californians will vote for their Democratic nominee for president. Some of these Californians are reading this article right now, wondering which candidate out of a dizzying array of choices is the best.
That candidate is Senator Elizabeth Warren from Massachusetts. There are two main reasons for this choice. First, Warren has the policy expertise necessary to be an effective president. Regardless of which candidate is elected, any major legislative proposals will stall unless Democrats win control of the Senate.
This currently looks unlikely, with Democrats needing to win at least three seats from Republicans and not lose the Senate election in deep-red Alabama. Even if Democrats do win the Senate, their majority would be extremely narrow–only one or two votes–and easily stonewalled by a Republican filibuster. While the filibuster could theoretically be abolished, many senators who revere institutional norms would be skeptical of this. Finally, passing the legislation itself would require the votes of conservative Democrats like Joe Manchin.
Passing substantial national legislation will be next to impossible in 2021. What matters is a candidate’s ability to enact policy through executive orders or through the use of the president’s control over the bureaucracy. This is where Warren shines. Out of all the candidates, Warren is easily the most experienced at
manipulating the bureaucracy. In the 1990s, she advised the National Bankruptcy Review Commission, which rewrote American bankruptcy. In the 2008 financial crisis, Warren’s reputation as a critic of the banking industry saw her appointed to oversee and implement the bank bailouts passed in order to stabilize the banking system.
Under President Obama, she helped create the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which regulates the financial sector. In the Senate, she served on the Senate Armed Services Committee. No other candidate has a better record using the functions of the federal bureaucracy to enact policy change. It can be reasonably assumed that Warren would be able to effectively enact policy should she take office in January. While some of Warren’s ideas are harmful, such as her opposition to nuclear energy and her insistence that the government buy only from American manufacturers, this is outweighed by the benefits of her policies. For example, she proposes recruiting more diplomats and making it easier for cities to build new housing.
Out of all the candidates, Warren is easily the most experienced at manipulating the bureaucracy. In the 1990s, she advised the National Bankruptcy Review Commission.
Warren also has phenomenal political skills. All of her hard work would still be quite useless even if she couldn’t win the general election, but, fortunately, it’s possible that she can.
At the beginning of the campaign season, Warren was written off as dishonest and unelectable after she took a DNA test to prove her claims of Native American ancestry. Through her strategy of releasing as many in-depth policy proposals as she could, she changed her image from a shameless grifter to a hardworking wonk.
The day she announced her campaign, her support was at an average of 4 percent and she was in fifth place out of six candidates. Today, she polls at 17 percent according to a poll by Real Clear Politics, which means she is in second place out of twenty. Her campaign has the ability to raise itself from the dead, which could be applied in the general election just as much as it could in the primary.
If the historical evidence of Warren’s ability to win elections isn’t enough, she’s also far more popular than most people think. Multiple polls published by The Economist show that despite the claimed electability of Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders, Warren is actually the most popular candidate nationwide.
Much of the discourse in the Democratic primary orbits around the question of whether it’s better to have the candidate who would make the best president or the one who is more likely to win the election, especially because many have fears about a continuation of the current administration. With Warren, voters can have their cake and eat it too in a candidate who’s both electable and will be effective once in office.