Primary season is finally upon us. A week from today, hundreds of thousands of Iowans will head to their caucus locations to go to bat for the candidate they think is best suited to take on Donald Trump in the General Election.
Even now, just seven days before the first event of the Democratic primary is set to get underway, many voters remain undecided on who, if anyone, they plan on supporting. That could mean a very uncertain process, not just in Iowa next Tuesday, but throughout the primary as a whole.
One group of people who hold particular sway with Iowans right now are voters right here in Wisconsin. With this state expected to be THE decisive state on election night in November, Democrats all across the country are looking to US to see who we think our nominee should be. This gives us a unique opportunity to play a significant part in shaping how the primary plays out, even though our votes won’t be cast until much later in the process (our primary is on April 3rd, the same day that a pivotal race for the Wisconsin Supreme Court will occur. Make sure you’re registered to vote so you can cast a ballot for either Judge Jill Karovsky or Ed Fallone after we have a nominee on February 18th: myvote.wi.gov).
Dozens of us (myself included) plan on using that opportunity to help influence how the caucus plays out next week. This weekend, I, and many others who’ve been volunteering for Elizabeth Warren’s presidential campaign here in Wisconsin for the past several months, will travel to Iowa to go knock on doors on her behalf. The conversations we have with voters could be THE difference in what looks to be a very tight race among the top four candidates.
Given that I plan on traveling four hours each way on Saturday to go make a difference in Iowa for Senator Warren, I thought now would be a good time to detail WHY I got this in this fight with her.
The story of why I’m with her is quite simple: she understands what’s broken in this country, she’s spent her life trying to fix these problems, and she is the candidate that is best suited to lead us out of the mess that our country is in right now.
Senator Warren has a powerful personal story. She came from a middle class family, much like my own. When her father suffered a heart attack when she was 12, her family was put on the brink of losing everything. Like millions of Americans across this country every year, the unanticipated health emergency that her father endured meant her family faced unexpected medical expenses, expenses that threatened their ability to keep their home and support their family. Fortunately, a lifeline was out there for her family to grab onto. Her mom got a minimum wage job to help bring in some of the income that was lost when her father was out of work as he was recovering. That job saved their home, and kept her family above water until her father was eventually able to get back to work. It demonstrated to her just how important having the minimum wage be a living wage can be for people.
She got a married at a relatively young age, something that initially prevented her from attending college. She was able to put pursue her lifelong dream of becoming a teacher, though, thanks to a $50 a semester tuition offered by the University of Houston. She commuted to school, and was able to pay that tuition off by working a part-time job as a waitress during the semester.
She went on to teach kids with special needs before returning to school to get a law degree from Rutgers University. She used her degree to spend decades teaching students across this country “about commercial law, contracts, and bankruptcy and conducted groundbreaking research on the connection between health care costs and personal bankruptcy.” She extensively studied why middle class families were falling behind, and why the opportunities that used to exist for people like her were no longer available. Her research revealed that working families were being squeezed by the rich and powerful, who were using underhanded tactics to corrupt our political system to benefit themselves.
She never really thought about getting into politics until circumstances suggested she should. She was a leading voice against the dangerous practices occurring on Wall Street before the 2008 financial crash, testifying as an expert in front of Congress on more than few occasions to voice her concerns. Those concerns largely fell on deaf ears until the crash occurred.
After it happened, she helped create the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau during President Obama’s first term to protect consumers from predatory practices from lenders, banks, and other financial institutions. It’s been one of the most effective federal agencies ever created, getting billions of dollars back from companies who’ve engaged in harmful practices. Republicans in Congress, however, stonewalled her potential nomination to head the agency after it was created. She used that opportunity to instead pursue a seat in the US Senate in Massachusetts, taking on a popular Republican incumbent in Scott Brown in 2012. Despite starting the race about 10 points behind him, she ended up unseating him with a significant high single digit victory.
Senator Warren has spent her time in the Senate standing up to large corporations and big money special interests, while working on behalf of the hardworking people of this country. She’s proposed the most extensive anti-corruption reforms since Watergate. She’s fought to lower the prices of prescription drugs, and take on the excesses of the health insurance industry. She also knows how to get stuff done, as evidenced by the fact that, in 2018, she helped write the 5th most laws compared to other Senate Democrats, and had the fourth most bi-partisan co-sponsors for bills of any Senate Democrat.
She turned down the opportunity to run for President in 2016 despite multiple calls for her to do so. Trump’s unexpected victory, however, demonstrated to her that she needed to do more. The importance of this moment is why she got in this race.
Elizabeth got in this fight because she knows what’s at stake in this election, not just for African-Americans, Latinos, Muslims, and others who’ve been specifically targeted for discrimination and hate by Trump and the Republican Party, but for every person living in this country. Hardworking people are barely making ends meet while the rich and powerful seek to divide us.. That division is designed to distract us so they can continue to feed their greed while the rest of us get left behind. Beating Donald Trump, alone, won’t end that. We need big, structural changes that get at the root of the corruption in Washington (and statehouses all across this country), and which will open up the kinds of opportunity that every American should have to work their way up the income ladder and live a better life. That means taking on the Republican Party in every race, up-and-down the ballot, not just this year, but in the years to come.
Like Senator Warren, I got in this fight because I know just how important this election is too. As I wrote back in October, I volunteered with the Democratic Coordinated Campaign in Madison during the 2016 general election while I was in my final year of law school. I mourned our loss that cold November night, not because of what I feared Trump’s presidency meant for me. I feared what it would mean for everyone I had been fighting on behalf of. Life for tens of millions of Americans had just gotten exponentially harder because of the assault that the rich and powerful were about to lead against them.
I made a decision last year that it was worth putting my career on hold so I could do everything I could to ensure that the Republicans and Trump are defeated this November. It was no longer enough to simply speak out during his presidency. I needed to take action.
It’s why I’ve been working as a team leader for Senator Warren’s campaign here in Ozaukee County since August. It’s why I’ve helped us get teams off the ground in Sheboygan and Washington Counties for her campaign. It’s why I’ve been volunteering with the Democratic Party of Wisconsin, helping us to organize canvasses here in the suburbs. It’s also part of the reason why I created this website.
It’s not enough to talk about what’s going on. We all must take part in helping create a movement that can change this country for the better. Creating a movement for change, one that goes into every community, talks to every person, and tries to get every vote, is the only way we can truly fix our system and put our government back into the hands of the people. Senator Warren gets that better than anyone.
No one in this race has thought more about the causes of why our government no longer works for us, and how to solve those problems, than Elizabeth Warren. She’s the candidate that can best unite the divides that exist within our party. She knows how to take the fight to Donald Trump. She knows how to get things done, and how to implement effective policies that can improve the lives of every American. This is why I’m in this fight with her. I hope you’ll join us in this fight too.
You can sign-up to volunteer for our campaign here.