Last night, U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts) (once again) rocked the debate stage here in Southern Nevada and earned rave reviews for her performance. But with fellow progressive firebrand Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) surging to a potential commanding lead here in Nevada, can Warren make up enough ground here to stay strong in South Carolina, the “Super Tuesday” states, and beyond?
Warren herself seemed convinced of that as he rallied a group of volunteers who were preparing to canvass for her in North Las Vegas. With less than 48 hours left until the final opportunity to caucus, she (once again) encouraged them to, “Dream big, fight hard, and win!”
“Look, I get it: I am not a woman of color. I never got thrown on the hood of a car. I never got thrown against the wall by a police officer. But you know what? I’ve listened to those who have. As President of the United States, I will never let that happen again.”
– Elizabeth Warren
At last night’s MSNBC/Nevada Independent Democratic Debate, Elizabeth Warren wasted no time in unloading all of former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s dirty laundry of sexual harrassment allegations, other workplace discrimination claims, and long history of executing “tough on crime” policies that targeted communities of color for harassment, arrest, and incarceration.
At her campaign office in North Las Vegas alongside Reps. Joaquin Castro (D-Texas) and Andy Levin (D-Michigan), Warren told the volunteers assembled inside that when it comes to his apologies for his past actions, “The answer is: Not good enough. Not good enough!” For all Bloomberg’s present apologies, Warren argued that he hasn’t proven he can be trusted to put his new words into action.
Warren then checked her own privilege as she explained, “Look, I get it: I am not a woman of color. I never got thrown on the hood of a car. I never got thrown against the wall by a police officer. But you know what? I’ve listened to those who have. As President of the United States, I will never let that happen again.”
While Bloomberg himself is not actively competing here in Nevada, the very issues that are now plaguing his campaign have loomed large here. From police targeting of communities of color and immigrant communities to a lopsided housing market that’s burgeoning in new “luxury inventory” but lacking in affordable housing options for working-class Nevadan, activists and voters have been pressing all the Democratic candidates to speak to these and other issues at the top of Nevada voters’ minds.
“The way I see it is because I did not spend 70% of my time on fundraising, but instead spent it out doing town halls in 29 states and Puerto Rico, and I now have offices in 31 states. I have more than 1 million donors who are a part of this movement. We’re just getting started.”
– Elizabeth Warren
Up until last night, Warren was facing pressure to justify her staying in the race after a disappointing fourth place showing in New Hampshire. Yet while speaking with reporters after the program, she declared, “We only heard from 2% of the country. We’ve got 98% left to go.”
Then, Warren addressed certain other candidates who’ve relied on well-heeled donors to power their campaigns and contrasted that her approach with hers: “The way I see it is because I did not spend 70% of my time on fundraising, but instead spent it out doing town halls in 29 states and Puerto Rico, and I now have offices in 31 states. I have more than 1 million donors who are a part of this movement. We’re just getting started.”
Pivoting back to Bloomberg, Warren explained to reporters why she went so hard on him: “I was very careful about what I had to say that I thought was important. Mayor Bloomberg thinks he can buy this election. He’s dumped $400 million into it so far and skipped the democracy part of it, shaking hands, meeting people, and learning about their issues.”
And on the dreaded “e word” that pundits have generally used against her and Bernie Sanders, Warren flipped their argument on its head in arguing why Democrats should cancel Bloomberg. As Warren put it, “He thought he could waltz on that stage, push everyone else off, and become the Democratic nominee. Last night, it was my job to make sure that everyone got a closer look at Mayor Bloomberg and came to understand that of everyone on that stage, he was the riskiest one for the Democrats. He would be most vulnerable in the general election.”
“I was fighting for women who live in a world where rich men are able to stick a sock in their mouths whenever those men get caught in sexual harassment or sex discrimination, and all the other women still have to live with that guy.”
– Elizabeth Warren
Towards the end of her “gaggle” with reporters, Warren stated who she was fighting for on the debate stage as she explained why she fought so hard. According to Warren, “I was fighting for women who live in a world where rich men are able to stick a sock in their mouths whenever those men get caught in sexual harassment or sex discrimination, and all the other women still have to live with that guy.”
She continued, “I was out there to fight for people of color, for African-Americans and Latinos who’ve gotten thrown up against walls and thrown up against cars over and over and over for years, while Mayor Bloomberg just didn’t want to hear about it because he thought it improved his vision of New York City. It’s important that America understand who that man is, and why he can not be a successful Democratic candidate for president.”
Again, it’s an interesting irony that Bloomberg is not even running here, yet his heavy spending in the “Super Tuesday” and later states landed him on the debate stage here, which then prompted Warren to emphasize her platform of intersectional justice that addresses the kinds of problems voters are tackling here in Nevada.
Nearly 75,000 Nevadans have already voted early, and it remains to be seen how many more will turn out on Saturday. For those who are waiting until Saturday, Warren is doing everything she can to remind them that they still matter and that their decision this weekend will have major reverberations for the future of Democratic Party and the entire nation.