Elizabeth Warren Was One of My Favorites, but Now?

I might be changing my mind.

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Photo via Elizabeth Warren on Instagram

There are no heroes in politics.

As much as we might wish there was a politician that we could fully trust, I’ve learned to keep my expectations low. I’ve followed politics from the time I was a kid, and if anything was ever clear to me it’s that Washington D.C. has a tendency to consume even the most principled of people. Maybe that’s why I like Bernie Sanders so much. Even though there is no such thing as a politician with a perfect record, he’s always stood out to me as someone who really does try and advocate for the greater good to the very best of his ability.

At one point, I thought Elizabeth Warren did, too.

But then I thought about Standing Rock.

She was so quick to claim even the smallest percentage of Native American roots, and a background within a marginalized community. And then in their time of need, when it mattered most, she didn’t even go and stand with them in solidarity. Instead, she simply fell silent.

Elizabeth Warren has shown a tendency throughout her political career to disappear whenever it counts, and the 2016 election was no exception. Why wouldn’t Elizabeth Warren endorse Bernie Sanders — a fellow progressive — during the primary season? Her endorsement before the vote in her home state of Massachusetts could have made all the difference for him there, and would have sent a clear message to the voters about where she stands and what direction she wants the country to move towards.

Yet she didn’t say a word.

She threw Bernie and the progressive base under a bus for what I imagine where purely strategic reasons, and left him high and dry. But of course, she doesn’t seem at all shy about seeking an endorsement from congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez during her own presidential bid? She’s more than willing to capitalize off of someone else’s political clout, but incredibly shy about sharing any of hers. Not only is that just irritating, it shows a whole lot of nerve.

Perhaps the most troubling indicator of what kind of a leader Elizabeth Warren might actually be was revealed just recently, when she voted in favor of Trump’s overwhelmingly bloated military budget. I can’t conceive of any possible reason why a “progressive” would vote for a $715 billion dollar budget for “defense spending.” I’m a firm believer in the idea that progressive, leftist ideals will not work at home if they do not apply abroad. You cannot be for the average person and the military industrial complex’s imperialist agenda at the same time, but for reasons unknown to the rest of us Warren doesn’t see it that way.

Campaign finance is another key issue that’s caused me to stop and reflect about how I feel about Warren as well, since she has been clear that she would take big money donations in the general election. It’s not that I think this position makes her unique. Far from it. Instead, it just puts her back in with the rest of the muddled bunch of politicians left standing with their hands out. I can’t help wondering why you would sell your soul when you don’t have to? If you’ve gotten enough of a grassroots foundation to get you in to the general, surely they will be a force with the ability to get you elected?

I genuinely do like Elizabeth Warren. She is smart, policy oriented, and has some incredibly detailed and well thought out plans to address crucial issues such as student loan debt. But whether it’s her refusal to endorse Bernie Sanders last time around, come to Standing Rock, or her willingness to take big money, all of those add up to one thing: a lack of faith. Lack of faith in her abilities, lack of faith in her base, and lack of faith in the progressive ideology overall.

I would absolutely take Warren over a candidate like Joe Biden any day. But come Primary day, I want to vote for someone who will fight for us when it matters most. Someone who believes in the ideas that they are spreading, and has the courage and ambition to make them a reality. Right now, as much as I hate to admit it, I’m not convinced that Elizabeth Warren has that.

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Lauren is a writer & leftist with analysis on topics related to politics & policy. She can be reached at LaurenMartinchek@gmail.com or Twitter @xlauren_mx

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