- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 12, 2019

Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts on Thursday made the pitch that she is the candidate in the 2020 Democratic presidential field uniquely positioned to fight for and deliver “big, structural change” as she sharpened contrasts with several top opponents.

In a speech in Manchester, New Hampshire, Ms. Warren outlined much of her policy agenda on items ranging from taxes to health care, saying that “establishment insiders” in both political parties have erroneously called for nibbling around the edges.

“The choice for the Democratic party in this primary is the same choice it faces in every primary: will we bet on more of the same, or will we bet on change? Will we bet on small ideas, or will we bet on big, structural change?” she said.

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Ms. Warren said her “progressive agenda” that includes a wealth tax, increased social security benefits, and anti-corruption policies are broadly popular across the political spectrum.

“And while there are candidates in this primary who are trying mightily to convince Democratic primary voters that this kind of popular agenda will somehow make it harder to beat Donald Trump, do you know who disagrees with that conclusion? Donald Trump,” she said.

As proof, she pointed to Mr. Trump’s reported interest in forming his own proposal on student debt and his attacking her “wealth tax” on assets of more than $50 million at a recent event.

“If we’re going to build an economy that works for everyone, and if we’re going to win a change election instead of once again getting run over by a change election, we must stand up to those with power and fight for the American people,” she said.

Ms. Warren, who has largely avoided attacking her 2020 Democratic presidential opponents thus far, took some other unnamed shots at several top rivals, including former Vice President Joseph R. Biden and South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg.

Ms. Warren has found herself looking up at candidates like Mr. Biden and Mr. Buttigieg, as well as liberal rival Sen. Bernard Sanders of Vermont, in some of the recent polling on the 2020 race.

“We know that one Democratic candidate walked into a room of wealthy donors this year to promise that quote, nothing would fundamentally change if he’s elected president,” she said, referring to Mr. Biden.

She also said most candidates haven’t disclosed the names of people gathering big-dollar donations on their behalf and have blocked reporters from entering their fundraising events.

“We know that another calls the people who raise a quarter of a million dollars for him his, quote, National Investors Circle, and he offers them regular phone calls and special access,” she said, referring to Mr. Buttigieg. “When a candidate brags about how beholden he feels to a group of wealthy investors, our democracy is in serious trouble.”

Under pressure from Ms. Warren, Mr. Buttigieg recently announced that he would open up his fundraising events to reporters and disclose the names of “bundlers” raising money for his campaign.

Lis Smith, a senior adviser to the Buttigieg campaign, responded to Ms. Warren’s comments by saying that Mr. Buttigieg will be a president who will “heal our divides” and rally Americans around “big ideas.”

“Senator Warren’s idea of how to defeat Donald Trump is to tell people who don’t support her that they are unwelcome in the fight and that those who disagree with her belong in the other party,” Ms. Smith said.

In her speech, Ms. Warren also invoked the name of former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the billionaire businessman who recently entered the race, though she largely used the reference to pivot to a pitch for her wealth tax.

“I am no fan of Michael Bloomberg — that has been made clear. … But here’s the deal: Michael Bloomberg built a successful business,” Ms. Warren said. “I think that’s great.

“A wealth tax on millionaires and billionaires isn’t about being punitive or denigrating success,” she said. “It’s about laying the foundation for future successes. It’s about making sure that the wealthy don’t pick…the ladder up after them.”

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