EDITOR’S NOTE: Each week we cross-post an excerpt from Katrina vanden Heuvel’s column at the WashingtonPost.com. Read the full text of Katrina’s column here.
Two months ago, Senator Elizabeth Warren’s presidential hopes appeared to be fading. The Massachusetts Democrat’s poll numbers were stuck in the mid-single digits, placing her fourth or fifth among Democratic candidates. After swearing off high-dollar fundraisers, she had brought in less money in the first quarter than South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, a relative unknown who was still building a national profile. Media coverage of Warren’s campaign focused less on her bold ideas than on her perceived lack of “electability.” Summing up the conventional wisdom, one CNN headline proclaimed, “Why is Elizabeth Warren struggling? Democrats aren’t looking for policy.”
Yet, to borrow a phrase, Warren persisted. And with the first debate quickly approaching, she has jumped in the polls and emerged as the clear leader in the Democratic “ideas primary.”
Last week, Warren unveiled a sweeping new plan for what she calls “economic patriotism.” Her proposal calls for $2 trillion investment in clean energy, which she says would create more than a million jobs and advance the goals of the Green New Deal. In a boost to workers, the plan would require federal contractors to pay a $15 minimum wage and offer 12 weeks of paid family leave. It would also convert the Commerce Department into a new Department of Economic Development, focused on job creation. By linking the causes of environmental and economic justice in one package, Warren is reimagining the American Dream for these times.