An Open Letter Thanking Elizabeth Warren

Elizabeth Warren dropped out of the Democratic Primary race a few weeks ago after a disappointing Super Tuesday. While this wasn’t an ideal end to her campaign, there is so much Liz did that we should appreciate. For me, Elizabeth Warren was the first candidate I truly saw part of myself in. She was a woman who came without the (sometimes unwarranted) controversy of a candidate like Hillary, and she seemed to have a well-spoken answer to every question. Now, I get that she wasn’t perfect- but at the end of the day, no candidate is. 

Her campaign was centered around progressive ideas, but she had an element of realism to her that I personally find rare in politicians. She became famous for her campaign selfie lines, where she took hours at the end of rallies and events to take a picture with everyone who wanted to. As if that wasn’t perfect enough, Liz also took the time to pinky-promise little girls that they could do anything they wanted, even become president. While these things might seem surface level to others, they struck me as inspiring and personable. Elizabeth Warren is, in my mind, like the cool Aunt who comes around a few times a year, tells you to live your life on your own terms, and drifts back into her own adventurous life of getting sh*t done. 

 

Getting to her policy points, Elizabeth struck a great balance between progressive ideals and an understanding of the (flawed) system our politicians work within. She advocated for economic regulation and prison reform, social policies to improve childhood education and paid family leave, and the big one of universal healthcare. You can find a more detailed list of her policies from the 2020 election here, courtesy of Politico. Elizabeth Warren, for me, had the ability to take these big ideas, go into the right rooms and make them happen. There is something oddly calming about hearing Liz say “I have a plan for that” time and time again. I know that they wouldn’t have been perfect, and that compromises would have to be made, but Liz is someone I trust to do the negotiating on behalf of the American people. I feel like she understands which issues are uncompromisable, and when to pick her battles.

Feminist activist holding signAlas, we won’t see Liz Warren as president in 2020. But, I think it's time we had broader conversations about women running for office. Why is it that women running, whether that be Liz Warren, Amy Klobuchar, Hillary Clinton, or any others, are subject to this standard of likeability more than their male counterparts? I don’t mean the typical election likeability question of whether the average American can relate to the candidate on a personal level. I mean why is it that these women are evaluated not just on their merits, but on whether they’re the “right type of woman” for the job. Think about it, do we spend time judging whether we think a man’s voice is too shrill, his suit too brightly colored, his vibe too much like a grandparent, his emotions being whiney or out of control rather than strong and assertive? 

 

Liz Warren, and all the women who continue to run for office, deserve a thank you for paving the way for future generations of women to take office. Hopefully, the trouble they endure now as a result of being women will continue to bring these conversations on political sexism to the forefront, so that women in the future can run without wondering whether their voice is too loud for the Oval Office to handle.

Official Portrait Elizabeth Warren