Elizabeth Warren prepares to run against Trump in 2020 presidential election

'If we organise together, if we fight together, if we persist together we can win,' Massachusetts senator says

Chris Stevenson
New York
,Clark Mindock
Monday 31 December 2018 19:39
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Elizabeth Warren takes major step towards running for president in 2020

Democrat senator Elizabeth Warren has taken her first big step towards a run for the presidency in 2020.

Ms Warren, who has frequently criticised the conduct of Donald Trump, has formed an exploratory committee to run for the White House.

The Massachusetts senator released a video in which she outlines her vision of a path to opportunity for all Americans, not just the wealthy.

“That’s the America I’m fighting for. And that’s why today I’m launching an exploratory committee for president,” she said.

It had long been expected that Ms Warren would seek the presidency, particularly after releasing a DNA test showing her Native American heritage after previously coming under scrutiny.

However, the senator was widely criticised for the move, which was aimed at stopping repeated taunts by Mr Trump. She and the president frequently clashed through the 2016 presidential campaign with Mr Trump casting aspersions on her claims, referring to her as “Pocahontas”.

Ms Warren’s use of a genetic test to prove ethnicity merely prolonged the controversy, with Mr Trump claiming it did not prove her case at all, and it seemed to blunt any argument she sought to make. There was no direct mention of it in the video released on Monday.

Ms Warren shot to national prominence a decade ago during the financial crisis, with calls for greater consumer protections.

Despite clashing with the Obama administration over the response to the crisis Ms Warren quickly become one of the most recognisable liberal voices in the Democratic Party.

The video released on Monday plays to those credentials, noting the economic challenges facing people of colour along with images of a women’s march and Ms Warren’s participation at an LGBT+ event.

The move from the senator – who would be expected to base any campaign in Boston – comes just a couple days after she dropped the Massachusetts prefix from her official Twitter account handle.

Speaking to supporters outside her Massachusetts home on Monday, Ms Warren stopped short of saying that she would reject support from super PACs – which allow for unlimited contributions from corporations and big donors to support a candidate, but cannot coordinate directly with campaigns – and insisted that winning the presidency could be achieved only through grassroots and a wide berth of support.

She also insisted that she plans on running a campaign focusing on issues of income and wealth inequality, education prices and others, not just against Mr Trump.

“I think the central part of winning this is to get out to talk with the people about what we’re fighting for. We want a government that works not just for the rich and the powerful. We want a government that works for everyone. And we can make that happen,” Ms Warren said.

In an email to supporters, Ms Warren said she would announce a final decision on her campaign early in 2019.

Mr Trump has not responded to the announcement, but Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said on Twitter that Ms Warren was “another extreme far-left obstructionist and a total fraud”.

Ms Warren is the most prominent Democrat yet to make a move towards a presidential bid, although that will likely soon change as what is expected to be a crowded Democrat field begins to take shape in the new year.

In mid-December, former Barack Obama housing chief Julian Castro also announced a presidential exploratory committee, which legally allows potential candidates to begin raising money.

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Maryland Representative John Delaney is the only Democrat so far to have formally announced a presidential campaign.

Ms Warren’s biggest competition could come from Vermont senator Bernie Sanders, or former vice-president Joe Biden who has yet to rule out a run for the White House.

“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,” Ms Warren says in the video. “What I’ve found is terrifying. These aren’t cracks that families are falling into, they’re traps.”

“If we organise together, if we fight together, if we persist together we can win,” she adds at the end.

Associated Press contributed to this report

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