U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren takes official steps toward 2020 presidential race

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Monday, December 31, 2018

Monday, Elizabeth Warren, 69, a United States Senator representing Massachusetts announced her formation of an exploratory committee regarding a planned run for president in 2020.

Official portrait of Elizabeth Warren.
Image: United States Senate.

The announcement came in the form of an email accompanied by an online video. The content focused on economics. "America's middle class is under attack," she said in her statement on New Year's Eve. "How did we get here? Billionaires and big corporations decided they wanted more of the pie and they enlisted politicians to cut them a fatter slice." She provided charts and other images discussing the changes in the country's middle class and acknowledged the greater difficulties faced by people who are not part of the country's white racial majority.

Warren's political accomplishments to date include proposing what later became the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and proposing legislation that would have required corporations to consider the public good. She has drawn criticism for claims she made many years ago about being part Native American, which earned her the nickname "Pocahontas" from President Donald Trump. Her release earlier this year of DNA test results that she presented as supporting this family claim brought words of censure from the leader of the Cherokee Nation.

A Massachusetts newspaper, The Boston Globe, expressed doubts as to whether Warren's run was a good idea: "While Warren is an effective and impactful senator with an important voice nationally, she has become a divisive figure. A unifying voice is what the country needs now after the polarizing politics of Donald Trump."

In October, President Trump responded to speculation that Warren might run, saying, "I hope that she is running. I do not think she'd be difficult at all. She'll destroy the country. She'll make our country into Venezuela."

Charles Chamberlain of the group Democracy for America responded to the announcement with, "Senator Elizabeth Warren's formal entrance into the 2020 race for president today helps launch what we believe will be a vibrant discussion of bold, inclusive populist ideas in the Democratic primary, and we look forward to the wide array of progressive candidates that we expect to join her in it in the year ahead."

Per U.S. election rules, establishing a formal exploratory committee permits Senator Warren to begin soliciting campaign funds from donors. She is also allowed to use the more than US$12 million left over from her last re-election campaign. Julian Castro, the housing chief under the Obama Administration, announced an exploratory committee of his own earlier this month, and Democratic Congressman John Delaney of Maryland has announced an actual intention to run.

Although U.S. law permits people to run independently, presidential elections are almost always won by a candidate endorsed by one of the country's two major political parties, the Democrats and Republicans. Other Democrats rumored to be planning to seek their party's presidential candidacy include former Vice President Joe Biden, former mayor of New York City Michael Bloomberg, and senators Cory Booker, Kamala Harris, and Kirsten Gillibrand, and Independent Bernie Sanders.

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