Democrat Warren enters 2020 race for White House

Senator Elizabeth Warren's bread-and-butter issue is the defence of ordinary Americans against abuses by those with wealth and power.
Senator Elizabeth Warren's bread-and-butter issue is the defence of ordinary Americans against abuses by those with wealth and power.PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON • Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren - an outspoken critic of Wall Street and nemesis of President Donald Trump - has entered the 2020 race for the White House.

The 69-year-old progressive announced she was launching an exploratory committee for president on Monday, becoming the first major candidate in what is set to be an extraordinarily crowded Democratic primary, united by a singular focus on unseating Mr Trump.

The move will help Ms Warren raise funds and hire more staff early in the campaign cycle - an effort in which she already leads most other potential Democratic candidates.

Her announcement came 13 months before the Iowa caucuses that launch what is expected to be a boisterous primary season.

"America's middle class is under attack," said a video message from Ms Warren, who has represented Massachusetts in the Senate since 2013, crafting a reputation as an economic populist.

"Corruption is poisoning our democracy," she said. "Politicians look the other way while big insurance companies deny patients life-saving coverage, while big banks rip off consumers and while big oil companies destroy this planet."

That is why she is launching her exploratory committee, she said.

 

A former public-school teacher and Harvard law professor, Ms Warren has been a vocal advocate of consumer and workers' rights. But Americans may know her best for her sparring with Mr Trump - which has had mixed results.

Reacting to her latest move, Mr Trump said he was unsure whether Ms Warren could replace him at the White House. "You'd have to ask her psychiatrist," he quipped in an interview with Fox News.

"We'll see how she does. I wish her well, I hope she does well, I'd love to run against her."

As talk of a possible presidential run grew, Ms Warren has worked to build her foreign policy credentials, taking a seat on the Senate Armed Services Committee.

She favours cuts in military spending and a troop withdrawal from Afghanistan. Her domestic policies are reliably liberal: She is pro-choice on abortion, supports gun control and has urged Democrats to go on "offence" to expand healthcare coverage for Americans.

But her bread-and-butter issue has been the defence of ordinary Americans against abuses by those with wealth and power.

With as many as three dozen Democrats weighing possible presidential bids, the road to the nomination will be arduous.

Polls for now show Ms Warren trailing veteran politicians like former vice-president Joe Biden and Senator Bernie Sanders, both in their 70s - as well as rising young star Beto O'Rourke, who is 46.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 02, 2019, with the headline 'Democrat Warren enters 2020 race for White House'. Print Edition | Subscribe