‘Billionaires Enlisted Politicians:’ Elizabeth Warren Zings the Rich in 2020 Announcement

Senator Elizabeth Warren speaks at Netroots Nation in New Orleans on August 3, 2018. Photo by Ashton Pittman.

HATTIESBURG, Mississippi—U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren announced plans to run for president on New Year’s Eve in a video emailed to supporters that is sharply critical of America’s financial elite and the politicians it courts.

“America’s middle class is under attack,” the populist Democrat from Massachusetts says from inside her home in the video announcing a 2020 exploratory committee. “How did we get here? Billionaires and big corporations decided they wanted more of the pie. And they enlisted politicians to cut them a bigger slice.”

As a Harvard Law Professor, Warren proposed the creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in 2007, to oversee consumer rights and protections in the finance industry. President Obama signed the CFPB into law in the 2010 Dodd-Frank law as part of his administration’s response to the 2008 global financial crisis, which was caused in part due to a lack of oversight of the finance industry’s lending practice.

“I’ve spent my career getting to the bottom of why America’s promise works for some families, but others who work just as hard slip through the cracks into disaster,” Warren said in the Monday morning video. “What I’ve found is terrifying. These aren’t cracks that families are falling into—they’re traps.”

In the video, Warren evoked a line that became synonymous with her tenacity in the Senate after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R–Kentucky, silenced her and told her to take her seat as she read a letter from civil rights activist Coretta Scott King that was critical of then nominee for attorney general Jeff Sessions’ record on race. “She was warned…nevertheless, she persisted,” McConnell said at the time. The line became a rallying cry for feminists.

“If we organize together, if we fight together, if we persist together, we can win,” Warren says in today’s announcement.

Warren herself is wealthy. Roll Call listed her as the 69th most wealthy member of Congress earlier this year, with a net worth of about $5

She made no mention in the video of the DNA test she took to prove she had some Native American ancestry in response to President Trump’s “Pocahontas” taunts. Some groups have called the DNA tests themselves racist.

Warren: The Rich ‘Pit Black Working People Against White Working People’

At the Netroots Nation convention in New Orleans in August, Warren said Trump uses working class divisions along racial lines to fuel his base.

“Trump and his pals tell working people a story about what’s wrong with their lives,” Warren said. “In Trump’s story, the problem is other working people—people who are black or brown, or were born somewhere else, or don’t worship the same, dress the same or talk the same.”

The wealthy, she said, benefit from those racial divisions to further enrich themselves.

“It all adds up to the same thing: the politics of division,” she said. “Politics that tries to pit black working people against white working people so they won’t band together.”

Cory Booker and Kamala Harris’ Visits to Louisiana and Mississippi

Senator Elizabeth Warren was not the only 2020 hopeful to appear at that event: Also present were Senators Cory Booker and Kamala Harris, who are among just three currently-serving U.S. senators who are black.

Senator Kamala Harris speaks at the Netroots Nation convention one New Orleans on August 3, 2018. Photo by Ashton Pittman.

During Mississippi’s U.S. Senate special election, Booker and Harris made visits to Mississippi to support former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Mike Espy’s bid to unseat Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith. She won, but Espy came closer than any Democrat has since the 1980s. He has already filed to run against her again in 2020.

USM Student to Run for Legislature

Another candidate announced his intentions to run for office Sunday night: University of Southern Mississippi student Brandon Rue, who organized for the Mike Espy campaign, announced plans to run for the Mississippi State Legislature on Twitter.

During the campaign, Rue organized Booker’s visit to the USM campus as well as voter drives. Most significantly, perhaps, he organized “Walk to the Polls” events where he led hundreds of students to the polls during the November general midterm election and the special election runoff.

U.S. Senator Cory Booker, D-New Jersey, stands with USM student and political organizer Brandon Rue at a rally for Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Mike Espy at the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg on November 19, 2018. Photo by William Pittman.

You can read Deep South Voice’s pre-runoff interview with Rue—in which he hinted at a run for office—at this link.